Ever wonder why you don't see characters paying their bills?
Because it's boring!
I know that because I do that. I pay the bills. And it's boring.
Unless paying the bills has something to do with the plot, it's probably best to leave it out. Don't put in boring, mundane tasks just to increase the word count. When you’re editing, stop and ask yourself if what the character is doing is interesting, moves the plot forward, establishes the character, or in some way greatly contributes to the manuscript.
If it doesn't meet one of those criteria, seriously think about cutting it. Or try to think of some way the character could pay the bills that would make it more interesting or show his/her character in a unique way.
If your goal is to demonstrate that the character is in reality boring, then come up with a way to show it so that while the task may be mundane, your way of telling it is not.
Part of your editing process should be to cut the boring stuff. If it's really not necessary for the reader to see it, then cut it. That includes a lot of walking from the house to the car. Or listing each step a character takes to get dressed in the morning, from what he puts on to the order in which he puts things on. Certainly includes the fifteen times in the book your character picks up the phone and says, "Hello." The reader will assume that she didn’t fly from her car to the living room; he didn’t leave the house naked; and he doesn’t pick up the phone and hold it to his ear without speaking. Cut out the introductions, get to the meat of the conversation or encounter. Your protagonist doesn't have to feed the cat every time he comes into the house in order for the reader to know he has a cat and he's responsible in the way he cares for it.
Cut the boring so you won't bore your readers. And so your editor won’t end up sniffling in a corner, drawing on the back of her hand with a red pen.
Helen Ginger is a freelance editor and book consultant, with an informational and interactive blog for writers and a free weekly e-newsletter that has gone out to subscribers around the globe for ten years. She coaches writers on the publishing industry, finding an agent, and polishing their work for publication. You can also follow her on Twitter.