Posted in Fiction Writing, Writing

Never Write a Boring Chapter: Tapping into Your Noob Characters

There’s something about that noob character that can turn a mundane, boring chapter into a wonder-fest. They approach a situation that may seem completely normal with the wide-eyed perspective of new-ness and awe. Because of this, they’re a great tool for a writer to use when approaching a hard-to-write “boring” chapter.

Make it All New Again

Bilbo from The Hobbit

Are you or your characters completely uninspired by a specific situation or location? Do you need to write a boring meeting chapter? Maybe you DO feel inspired about a setting or situation, and you want the reader to connect to it the same way that you do.

Writing from the perspective of someone who has never been to a place or experienced a situation is a perfect way to drum up a sense of wonder, even for things that are already normal to you or other characters. When you put yourself into the shoes of a noob character, you can tap into the feeling someone gets when they first see the great sprawling city, the mysterious magic school, the sailing (or flying) ships, or the strange creatures or races that inhabit your world.

If you choose to write from the point of view of a child or child-like character, the character may also provide details and thoughts that wouldn’t occur to you when writing from a more experienced point of view. These types of characters also tend to provide a sense of honesty, sometimes being absolutely forthright with what’s good or bad about a situation.

Connecting with your Reader

Bilbo from The Hobbit

There’s a reason that The Hobbit was written from the point of view of Bilbo instead of Thorin or Gandalf. The reader, much like Bilbo, has probably never been on a journey across Middle Earth, through Mirkwood to challenge a dragon at the Lonely Mountain. Because of that, the reader can better connect to the less experienced character, since the reader has just as much to learn about Middle Earth as Bilbo does.

In the same way, choosing a less experienced character for certain scenes can turn what might have been a ho-hum narrative from your grizzled veteran into an exploration of delight and curiosity for the reader. It gives the reader a common ground with the the noob character in your tale.

Likewise, it also makes it easier for you, as a writer, to explore, imagine and become excited with a chapter that you may have previously expected to be dull.

Ben’s Arrival on the Blue Planet

Ben is a character I developed who has a child-like fascination with everything around him, especially in the earlier days. That’s something I try to capture and hold on to, even as he’s developed and matured over the years.

It’s a lot of fun for me to jump into his shoes and try to see the human world from his perspective. Ben makes a lot of observations about the human race, often pointing out what is very normal for you and I with a note of curiosity or a sigh. It’s a great way to develop his personality while filling the reader in on the setting and the world’s culture.

For example, when Ben arrives on the Blue Planet for the first time in Chapter 1 of Darkstar, what was a normal, sunny day for us was an explosion of life, energy and song for Ben.

Grass spread its carpet at his feet. Trees shot up around him, looming tall over his head. A distant symphony played on the newly-budded spring leaves. A vast dome of blue sky sparkled further above. Soft drifts of powdered white meandered idly upon its face, leaving trails of mystery across his sight.

As his feet touched the solid earth, a song rose within his ears. A sense of familiarity drove his memory back to its origins. He found himself unable to do anything more than stare into the yawning heavens.

There was nothing magical happening here. He’s simply observing his homeworld for the first time in many years. But to his senses, which tap into the life-flow of everything around him, it was like a symphony of color, light and feeling.

So whenever you’re faced with what seems to be a “boring” chapter, see if you can’t get some help from your noob characters. This allows you find a sense of wonder that you may not even realize is there — because your world, cultures and people are beautiful and new to someone (including the reader).

Do you have any noob characters in your story? Do they help you write by lending you their perspective? Do you forget to tap into them and use their point of view as an opportunity? 



I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects!

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