In my story, the character has to learn a certain skill, with a mentor guiding him. I wrote the introduction and explained some principles regarding the discipline, but I don't want to bore the reader with the practice. And it is necessary that the character improves, in the story.

I want to avoid to do something too abrupt, like "three month later, I was able to...". If it was a movie, it would be a montage!

How can I make that training chapter(s?) more interesting for the reader? Or how can I shorten that?

2 Answers 2


Once you've explained the process, you don't need to walk through the process again. You can have a few scenes which are set in whatever the setting is where the skill is practiced (computer lab, forge, bottom of a lake) and summarize with something like "Antonio realized it had only taken him 10 minutes to write the script which he'd struggled with for an hour before" or "This was Gobber's tenth sword, and it was already vastly better than the first" or "Now that Murgatroyd had gills, he could concentrate on his basket-weaving rather than trying to hold his breath underwater." The point of the scene for plot purposes will be something else, but you can mention in passing that he's improving.

You do the same thing later, but this time note how the person's skills have matured even more, and summarize more: He set up an entire database before lunch, he restocked the armory in a week, he wove an entire cauldron before the witch returned.

  • 1
    @Roger My eighth-grade English teacher and I thank you. Her favorite was "underwater basket-weaving aardvarks," which she managed to get into evey spelling test she gave us. Oct 5, 2015 at 19:50

You could focus the chapter around the character's evolving relationship with his mentor (and/or internal journey of self-improvement), with the training as the backdrop.

  • My main problem is to find a way to show a progression without having to write about the multiple sessions. So it's more about the frequency of the chapters telling about it than what would be the content.
    – Majuj
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:04

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