Is a scene in your novel tasting flavorless? Does it just turn to ash in your mouth?

You might need more seasoning or you might be a cursed pirate (in which case, go find some lost Aztec gold).

Besides the usual ingredients (salt, pepper, garlic powder), you might find that you need some different spices to give life to your scene. Here are my connoisseur suggestions.

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Change the setting.

Setting means SO MUCH. Not only can it have actual effect on the characters (standing outside in the rain = wet. Fighting on the beach = unsteady ground), but it sets MOOD.

MOOD IS EVERYTHING.

Do you want the mood sad? Happy? Ordinary? Creepy? Change the setting to match it OR greatly contrast it. Have a sad scene happen in a happy place, like a toy store or a carnival.

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Have your characters do SOMETHING.

But not just something, but something interesting. Driving a car? Eh. Driving a car through heavy DC traffic during a thunderstorm? Now we got something going.

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Make sure the characters in the scene should be there. A character can either drag a scene down or pump it up. 

Look through the characters in the scene. Is anyone boring? Dragging the scene along? Is there anyone that could be added to create more tension?

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If the scene is actually boring, just grab it, crumple it, and hurl it into the abyss. Hit “delete”. 

Yes, something integral to the story could be happening, but you can always put it somewhere else.

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If you like the setting, the characters, and what they are doing but still feel like it’s a little flavorless, it’s time to chop.

Find the boring and flavorless parts and chop them out. Then stitch the rest of the scene back together.

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