plot / writing

#IWSG–When does technical become boring

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out like Kate and Rebecca who inspired me to begin). The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – I put a lot of science in my stories because it is so gal-darn amazing. In my recent WIP, I have

  • invisibility cloaks (based on metamaterials)
  • DNA virus (that infects a computer)
  • finding anything iron by their magnetic signature

It’s always based on fact, just extrapolated from there. I call it ‘Star Trek Science’ or ‘Scientific Fiction’, but others simply call it boring. Too complicated.

Yet I can’t seem to stop. Every plot line aims like a yellow brick road to a science complication. Sure I can steer it a different direction, but when I listen to my characters and/or follow the flow of the story, I end up adding amazing science that makes it all work–like Vulcan kal-tow.

What do I do? (Here’s a background piece I wrote 6 years ago–same story! Sigh)

More IWSG articles:

Am I good enough? Does it matter?–#IWSG

Fear of Saying Dumb Things Scares Me to Death

#IWSG–The World is Changing–Can I keep up

Will I Find Employment if I’m an Older Job Hunter?

Jacqui Murray is the author of dozens of books (on technology in education) as well as the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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29 thoughts on “#IWSG–When does technical become boring

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  4. Great post!… there is a fine line between technical writing and boring writing… quite right… and yet, technicalities can create literary geniuses. Talent should be a must though (I guess!) … sending best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. I like a good story and will slop through a great deal of words that I ordinarily wouldn’t attempt to read if the story is otherwise exciting and the characters are compelling. There are many well regarded books I dislike and won’t finish reading because the story became, IMHO, way too professorial. If I want a lecture, I’ll take a class.


  10. I, personally, think tech. information is fine as long as it’s written so I understand it and the explanations don’t take over chunks of the story itself. You example of Jurassic Park in your reply to mbarkersimpson shows how tech. stuff can be woven into a story and, therefore, is interesting. Red October, on the other hand, has a big chunk of tech. stuff at the first part of the story that almost made me put the book down


  11. I confess as the clock has ticked forward year by year, I don’t like to focus too hard when I’m reading. Some technical details are fine but mostly I live well with surface information rather than detailed. That might just be me. 🙂


  12. I think you should write what’s in your heart, and even if what you’re writing is very technical, then so be it. It might be the case that you’re writing for a very targeted audience. Even if that audience is small, find the readers and let them know that you’re out there. Good luck!


  13. I like to have a balance of information so if I read about an invisibility cloak, I absolutely want to learn how it came into existence! But at the same time, I don’t want the text book version; just a summary – something I can live with. I can sympathise – it is a fine line and I have nothing useful to offer in terms of how you judge it!


      • Perhaps it’s because you understand and enjoy science. Try explaining something (just as an exercise) that you know little about. As long as you understand the basic concept and can relay it, you will then have something which isn’t too technical and you can compare it. Just a suggestion.

        But what do I know. In Hands of Evil I did so much research on close protection that I had a tendency to get far too technical. Also, one of the characters is an interpreter and because I know so much about the language and the job I crossed that line so far I bored my readers to sleep! Now there’s virtually nothing of the job left 🙂


      • What a great point, Melissa. I do that, too–research a topic to boredom. I have anew section I have to add–I think I’ll try it without tons of research. See if it comes out believable. Thanks for the suggestion.


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