Writing Advice vs What You Should Actually Do

So, I’m scrolling Pinterest and I run across an image with a piece of writing advice. It said something along the lines of “If a scene is boring, spice it up by using all five senses”.

As an editor…how about no.

My opinion is that if the scene is boring either A) Cut it or B) Rewrite it so it isn’t so boring.

Because honestly, if you have a boring scene taking place in a train car, telling me how the train car smells is not going to suddenly render it interesting. If you need the scene, cut the unnecessary details and pick up the pace. Scenes are typically boring because they are slow or pointless. If it is pointless, cut it and save your editor the trouble of telling you to.

Sensory descriptions are for settings or for punching up emotions/establishing experiences for the character, not attempting to mask the fact that your story is meandering or you can’t make exposition interesting. Adding descriptions from the point of view of various senses is good in general, but for boring scenes, you need to step back and decide what is right for that scene rather than following a “one size fits” all solution.


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