There’s nothing worse than a boring book! Let us help you add some complexity and excitement to your story!
If you’ve been worried your book idea isn’t interesting, or that readers might give up reading it, or worse, never pick it up to begin with, then this is the article for you! From trouble shooting boring ideas to tips to improve any story idea you might come up with, this article is a lifesaver!
Stop stressing! Start planning and write the compelling, spellbinding book of your dreams and keep readers engaged, turning pages, and drooling over your work no matter how many books you’ve written or plan to write!
Whether you’re a first timer, a seasoned pro, or just someone looking to learn, you’ll learn invaluable tips, tricks, and hints that’ll bring your book, idea, and writing to the next level. If you haven’t started, we can help. If you’re part way through, this is a great read. If you’ve finished your book but have heard that it “drags in the middle” then you need to read this. If you’re just doubting yourself, then this is the pick-me-up you’ve been looking for. What have you got to lose? And more importantly, what do you have to gain?
Writing an interesting book doesn’t have to be a chore…
Every author dreams of being a bestseller. That’s not a bad thing! Wanting success in your chosen profession is a very human desire. However, this can be easier said than done, because many authors struggle with writing interesting books.
And that’s not a fault or failing of their own: it’s simply not a skill everyone knows right out of the gate. It’s a learned skill, and thankfully, it’s an easy one to learn.
With a few simple steps, you can capture a reader’s attention and keep it through an entire novel and we’re going to show you how.
But first, what keeps a reader engrossed? Well, lots of things!
Here’s our tried-and-true list:
Active language. Avoid dull, boring, bland wording, an overuse of buzzwords, or just colorless language. An active, bright, exciting voice tends to go over well with readers. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone, but for many, many books, it will.
Action! Things need to happen. Two characters talking in a boring room isn’t likely to hold readers’ interest.
Appeal to their sense of drama. We don’t want to read about perfect marriages. We want to see the friction that leads to love eventually, or we want to see a bad couple struggling to make it work, or we want to see the marriage crumble. Conflict is the heart of every exciting read, and not just “fighting” friction. Tension of any kind can make a book interesting.
Be unexpected. Don’t let readers know what will happen next—surprise them!
Delay the resolution. This one is mean, but in essence, you want to refuse to let a scene or the tension within it resolve. Let the reader stew as a character stays trapped in a bad spot for a little while.
Be rhetorical. Will this war ever end? What if he doesn’t notice me? I wish he’d just die already. The power of a rhetorical question can drive a scene and sets up a beautiful opportunity to surprise a reader.
The deceptively casual conversation, thought, or remark. I guess I’ll die then. And then bad things happen that make the reader believe the character will, in fact, die. These can be so much fun to play with!
Deny the climax. Switch perspectives. Let the end not be the end. Let readers stew and wallow in what just happened while whisking them into another perspective. Looking at you George R. R. Martin.
Bring in a new villain, or new character. Make the reader need to know more about that shadowy figure at the edge of the scene, then put us in their head. Or don’t, but hint that they’re dangerous. Just make sure you surprise the reader.
Vary up the sentence structure. I know this seems like a given, but varying up your sentence length can actually make a story go from yawn-worthy to exciting!
Style changes that can make something interesting!
Some authors never consider using grammar, sentence structure, or language to spice up their novel, but it can be a quick, easy, low-work way to make something pop. Vary up the sentence length. Use ellipses to trail off. Use em-dashes for thoughts within sentences to break up the monotony of a passage. Use shorter paragraphs.
There are so many ways to just use the language and structure to add excitement… try them all!
Or don’t. I mean, you do you.
But… my book doesn’t have a villain.
That’s fine! But your book needs action of some kind. Even a character locked in a jail cell can be interesting if you have action. Show them descending into madness. Leave the reader curious why they’re locked up. Bring in some thought or small details like breadcrumbs to bring the reader to a conclusion, then twist the truth and surprise them. Action doesn’t have to be car chases and explosions, it can be an internal struggle, an external battle of wits or wills, some clash… get clever!
Conflict, tension, and drama. People love drama for a reason. Inserting drama into any situation and upping the stakes can make any idea more exciting or interesting. If you have a character who’s terrified of heights, make them have to face that fear to save themselves, their friends, or a loved one. If you have a princess, have her stripped of her ranking for one reason or another, and make it juicy. If you have a romance blossoming, have another love interest appear and sweep one or the other off their feet. There are ways to make even a mundane situation exciting.
Never let the reader actually know what will happen next. Sure, hint at things, foreshadow, but make sure the reader is stunned (in a good way) when you rip the rug out from under their feet. This will leave them not only surprised they were wrong but also curious how the heck you get the character out of this pickle.
By drawing things out, you make the reader want to know what happens next even more. The longer you delay, the more they’ll want to know. Just make sure there are reasons for the delay, make sure other action happens, and keep them guessing, thinking, and engaged every step of the way through other plot points, characters, or situations.
I already gave some solid examples of being rhetorical and the deceptively casual conversation, thought, or remark, so go ahead and let your mind run wild on those!
Denying the climax can be handled a few different ways: you can leave a book on a cliffhanger, add in new conflicts, struggles, and tensions, or have the hero fail (and have to rebuild). No matter what, the more you put the character through, the more emotionally involved the reader is going to be by the end, so let the character have it!
New villains or new characters are a treasure trove of exciting new backstories, perspectives, goals, intentions, and motives. A new character can revitalize a book and make it feel fresh again, even if the story is “sagging in the middle.” So bring in someone new, put them at odds, or fit them in in an unexpected way. You really can’t go wrong here!
Other great tips to keep things interesting!
Be interested in what you’re writing. If you’re bored, the reader is bored. That’s just how it is. So if you’re excited, they will likely be excited too.
Include details that’ll keep readers on the hook. Never underestimate the power of details, just make sure they don’t overpower the rest of the scene.
Use active voice. “…and she was chased…” is passive voice. “Her lungs blazed with agony as she sprinted harder, the sounds of the zombies ever-present in her ears…” is active voice. Keep your language exciting and readers will want to know what happens next.
Avoid repetition. And then, and then, and then… isn’t just a sign of telling instead of showing, it’s a sign of repetitive phrasing. Every author does this, but it’s important to seek and destroy the terms you overuse and find new, exciting ways to word things.
Build tension and up the stakes. These are both great ways to make any scene more interesting. Need to keep those lovebirds apart? Bring in the (ex)girlfriend (who can’t let go). Need to up the stakes? The hero isn’t fighting for his life, he’s fighting for the lives of those he cares about. Think up ways to take a scene and make it have more gravity and your readers will thank you.
Making a book more interesting doesn’t have to be difficult, a chore, or some scary undertaking.
With a few simple ideas, some brainstorming, and the ideas above, you can turn a bland novel into a bestseller. These ideas are used in novels by bestselling authors, and they can help you take your writing to the next level. All you have to do is look for places to add these into your writing and you’ll take a bland idea or book and make it shine like a beacon to the readers in your genre.
But don’t stress or overthink it.
While these tips and tools can help, listen to your gut, give yourself a chance, and make sure that your story is boring before making big changes. While most books can benefit from the tips above, having an alpha or beta reader (who reads widely in your genre) read your book can help you make sure you’re making the right decisions.
You’ve got this! And try to have fun with these ideas. The more fun you have, the better your book will be!
The brainstorming tool can help record and generate unique story ideas.
✔ Capture your ideas with text or audio
✔ One secure location to store information
✔ Build on ideas for current and future use