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Boring And Dull Again

January 23, 2015

Yesterday I had a conversation with my friend about boring and dull as I complained that world building for me is boring and dull (yes, I’m writing again). And she asked if they were the same thing. I tried pointing out that something can be dull without being boring and vice versa. So this is how I see it: boredom is an emotion that is elicited from something and then we label that thing boring. It’s all subjective and up to the viewer to determine what makes something boring for them.

For me, it’s the tedium of something that makes it boring for me—I don’t like tedious activities, movies, video games, people, etc. So I find that all boring. Which world building for a novel is: boring. I get that it’s interesting ‘seeing’ your world grow up, but it also detracts from writing. You can get so wrapped up in it that you forget to actually write the damn thing. I asked my idol, Matthew Woodring Stover, once, how much world building he does. He said he makes a quick outline of it and then goes onto the chain of necessity for his stories.

I try to do that but then I get kind of stuck on that chain and start trying to world build some more and then I lose interest. Sooo….maybe I should just stick to basic character outlines and worry about the places later. Anyway, this activity is tedious, but it’s also sorta dull, too. Which brings me to my next point: dullness. How can something be dull without being boring?

That’s a more trickier aspect, but for me, I see dullness as less of a subjective term when they’re both really subjective terms. For me, 50’s posters are all dull in their colors and their design and shading, but they’re not boring. There’s always something happening within them that draws the eye to want to see more. Also, as a history nerd, it’s nice to see what cultures that no longer exist found interesting. So it’s not boring. A really colorful painting need not be dull but it can be boring if you’ve seen that style hundreds of times.

I’m told that Citizen Kane’s a masterpiece…but it is pretty dull and can be boring to someone. Me, I just find it boring and don’t see the big deal. Never have and probably never will, but that’s okay too. I know dictionaries try to tie these two words together like some conjoined twins, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case all of the time. I also know that these words are highly subjective, though, I think ‘dull’ is less so in the sense that it can be used on more of an objective basis. Boring will always be up to the viewer. These are just my thoughts and you don’t necessarily need to agree with them.

Who knows, maybe you found this entry both dull and boring. That would be fun, actually.

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