Cut away the boring bits

April 2, 2015

We stepped into a bar in Shanghai. On the big screen TV, there was a basketball game paying—a Houston Rockets’ game, because thanks to Yao Ming, the Rockets are still China’s team. It was the single most entertaining basketball game I’ve ever watched.

Not because the game was especially great, though it was a good one—the Rockets fell to an early deficit against New Orleans Pelicans, came back brilliantly, and won by two points after a last minute rally that wasn’t enough. Stirring stuff, but that’s not why it was so good.

The Chinese broadcaster airing the game had cut all the boring stuff. We saw no missed shots, no free throws, no fouls, and certainly no commercials. Half-time lasted a second. They had cut away the boring bits, leaving twenty minutes of highlights.

Some stories dwell too much on the boring stuff. They think it’s important. And sometimes it is! Or the slower stuff is. But slow ≠ boring. Setup, foreshadowing, character development, building to the climax … all of these can be slow, but they’re not boring.

But if they are boring? Cut them. Cut the boring stuff. Cut away the free throws, the fouls, the things that stop the game and kill the momentum. Cut away anything boring, and leave only the highlights. Everything doesn’t always need to be fast, exciting—stories can still be slow, deliberate—but they had better be interesting. If not, cut them.

Twenty minutes of amazing is better than an hour of average. Cut away the boring bits until your have a game to remember, not one of the many to forget.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

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