Thursday, September 2, 2021

Don't let Rules of Thumb give you Writer's Block

Audiobook The Mars Strain on iPhone resting on glass panel above NASA control board on space shuttle.
The Mars Strain - getting technical

 If you’re bored writing, the reader will be bored reading - 

true or false?

Hmm, false? 

Truth time: this often mentioned rule-of-thumb paralyzed me while I was writing The Mars Strain. I was deep in the cinematic climax with Jules racing the clock to find the right phage, but I kept fizzling out because I needed to keep the science grounded and I felt like I was doing a lot of technical writing—which translated to me being bored!!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love science, it’s part of me and always will be. But trying to bring enough technical aspects to keep it real for the reader without overwhelming them is soooo difficult. It’s a balancing act and my mind kept fast forwarding to the emotional arc which was the only thing I wanted to write at that time! That, and the phrase “if you’re bored writing, the reader will be bored reading” kept looping through my mind…putting up writers block after writers block.


If I knew then what I know now… Well, then I’d have written that section a lot faster! Yes, I was bored and wanting to move onto more exciting parts, but I’ve had readers tell me they loved the amount of technical aspects that brought Juliet’s lab work to life. So for this instance, FALSE!

To my future writing self, I now know not to let myself be derailed by nailing down details. I also know that if I pick a story that doesn’t excite me and is just blah, I can expect that anyone I have to pitch the book to will pick up my vibe and be less inclined to get excited about it. So I’ll stick to my rule of thumb to only write the stories that I can’t get out of my head for months on end, which rings TRUE to our question of the week! Don't pick a premise that bores you.

How about you, dear readers? When you get bored reading and either skip ahead or DNF the book, do you ever wonder if the author was born writing it? 

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