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I'm writing a chapter where my character is having an educational competition and I feel that my writing is very poor. I can't find events to write about aside from asking and answering questions of the competition. Should I just drop this chapter?

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    Do you think this chapter is considerably worse than all other chapters? – Alexander Feb 6 at 5:22
  • Just wanting some feedback here: why did you choose to unaccept my answer and accept WriterGeek1's answer? Did you think that their answer was considerably better for helping your issue than mine? – Nai45 Feb 8 at 15:21
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    Hi Nour, I see you changed your accepted answer here at least three times. While it's perfectly fine to change an accepted answer, you might want to consider just waiting a longer time before accepting an answer in the first place --it can be disconcerting to an answerer to suddenly lose the acceptance reputation on a question.// Also, please bear in mind, you can upvote as many answers as you want, and even add a bounty to one or more of them if you think they are truly exceptional. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Feb 11 at 18:10
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    @NourFourti If you're still around, there's a tour you might be interested in: writing.stackexchange.com/tour :) – DM_with_secrets Feb 23 at 10:11
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I've written many chapters, and when I write one (and finished it) but ended up not liking it, I save it in a notepad and write a new chapter and see how that goes.

If the new one flows better, I simply replace it. I would keep the old chapters for references and maybe IDEAS for future chapters

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You have four primary options:

Edit and rewrite the chapter

This is what you should do first before doing any other options. Start by editing your current chapter. If you substantially improve your writing with edits on grammar and flow you may decide to keep the chapter. If not, try at least one time to completely rewrite the chapter and make it different than your previous try. Who knows? Maybe you'll write a rewrite that you love and decide to keep. You can also make smaller, more technical edits to polish off your chapter for satisfaction levels. If you have done this and it didn't work, you can pick another option.

Revise the event

This would mean changing your event to make it more engaging to your reader. This could be adding an interruption to the school contest or mixing up the event's plot. This could break up the dull parts of the chapter, thus making it worth keeping.

Delete the chapter and summarize the event in a later chapter

This works if the actual event is important to your storyline, but getting a play-by-play for it is not. You can summarize the event through dialogue or narration in the following chapter. For example, Jane could tell Emily about how she won second place in the contest in the next chapter, meaning that you don't have to narrate the actual contest.

Delete the chapter and the event

This is the riskiest option. I assume that the event is important to your storyline, but if it isn't - you can consider this option. It would mean removing the chapter and the event altogether from your story. Avoid doing this unless it is absolutely necessary.

Before doing any of the options I would recommend getting a friend's opinion on your writing. This way they would tell you what they think and what option would work best for your story and be most convenient for you.

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If there are no events, it's very likely that this chapter is not moving the story forward.

What is the conflict of the story? How will this contribute to sharpening it? How will it raise the stakes? What effect does it have?

If you conclude that it does not have enough effect to justify its existence, you may certainly be right to excise it. If you keep its having occurred, you may have to allude to how it was a dull affair of many questions, but an allusion may be all you need. And possibly you may excise even the occurrence.

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    This. Why does the educational competition matter? Is the MC angling for a scholarship? Trying to impress a classmate? -- The stakes are what drives the MC's emotion, internal dialog, etc., and those are what make the chapter (or the whole story!) interesting. – codeMonkey Feb 25 at 20:05
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Don't try to judge your chapters on your first time through them. If you only have a few thoughts for it right now, just move onto the next chapter. If you suddenly get inspired, come back to this chapter and add onto it.

Once you have a pretty complete first draft, go back, look at your overall structure, and decide which chapters need to be in the final book, which ones are just going to be backstory that isn't in the book (or were just things you needed to write in order to get to where you wanted to be) and which chapters you haven't written yet, but need.

If it turns out this chapter is crucial, put the work in then to make it good, or figure out something better that will replace it.

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    I agree with this. I've done a lot of bad writing, looked at it and thought, this is junk, but re-writes and changes and it becomes something I like very much that flows with the story. – userLTK Feb 10 at 22:45
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You can have other people, such as beta readers, help you if you need it. Sometimes I'll forget a word or need to know how a scene would sound better (with one certain word, or a different one in its place), and so I ask someone to help.

For example, I was writing a scene for one of my dragon books once, and my character was flying through the air. I was stuck on two words, slid or rubbed, and I asked my brother to help me. I asked him which of these two scenarios (put below) that he liked better.

Scenario 1

I slid through the air,

Scenario 2

I rubbed through the air,

My brother picked the second one.

Now, I think they were slightly different in the actual book, but you get the point. Ask other people for help - whether they think it looks better one way or they think that you should write it differently.

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    I don't fully understand how the second example makes the first example more challenging to read or better flowing. Most of all, it left me very confused. "Slid" is a perfectly good word. – Nai45 Feb 22 at 23:32
  • @Nai45 What confused you? I can fix my answer. – Acid Kritana Feb 23 at 0:08
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    Oh, I was just mentioning that "rubbed" doesn't really fit your sentence and that I liked slid a lot better. – Nai45 Feb 23 at 0:53
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    Yeah, I don't understand what "I rubbed through the air" even means. But the principle of asking for help is fine. – DM_with_secrets Feb 23 at 10:13

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