Fluff

One of the things that drives me crazy about some books is the “fluff.” This is when an author inserts story lines, or scenes that have nothing to do with the overall plot. Author’s do this so they can page fill their manuscript.

New authors are probably not aware of the fluff in their manuscript. However, there are some seasoned authors who use fluff to get their page count over the 350 page mark. In that case, you can find the fluff around page 280, when the story could have come to an end.

Author’s need to make a decision before writing their book, whether the word count is more important, or the actual story is more important.

Listen to me on this advice, because it’s very crucial to how you write stories. If your word count is 35,000 words and you have a great story, along with solid mechanics, your book will sell. Do not feel ashamed that your book is only 100 pages or less.

Publisher’s look for books that are 75,000-120,000 words in most cases. So what? If your book ends on page 123, then just end it. If you add fluff to increase the size of your book, then you will ruin your great story.

Here are examples of fluff.

DREAMS

It drives me nuts when an author writes a terrific scene, with dramatic interaction between characters, but it ends up just being a dream. I’ve read enough books now that I can tell when the author is fluffing the story with a nightmare. Dreams are cliche’ and most of the time have nothing to do with the plot. There is only one exception: The dream is directly related to every decision the character makes.

If the dream was deleted from your book, would it change the plot?

MEALS

Author’s sometimes use a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack to page fill. The scene will have details of what the characters eat and how they interact with each other. The author will challenge that a meal is a good time to find out more about the characters and the story.

I disagree.

Ask yourself this question: “If I did not have the meal scene, would the story be ruined?” Nine times out of ten, the answer to that question is, “no.” The meal does not bring realism to your story. If there is no other way to move the story forward, unless the characters were having some sort of meal, then that is the time to add it to your book.

If you deleted the two page scene where your character makes coffee, feeds the cat, feeds the kids, and gets dressed for work, would it change the plot?

FACTS

Author’s will give some real-world facts in their book that have something to do with the story. However, the author will overdo the non-fiction, which steals interest from the book.

I know an author who uses facts in his book, but twisted those facts with plenty of fiction. The result was that the reader had no idea what was true and what was made up.

Use facts as part of your fiction…not a replacement so you can page fill.

If most of your facts were deleted, would it change the plot?

TRIPS

Author’s will send their character on a trip or vacation. However, nothing really happens and it could have been deleted faster than you can say, “Split-Infinitive.” Trips are an easy way to add a page count, but the reader will be disappointed when the characters come back without a story.

If the trip or vacation was deleted from your book, would it change the plot?

DIALOGUE

Stewart Woods and James Patterson are the master’s of page filling with steady conversations between characters. Also, they use dialogue to speed up the pace of the book. On the other hand, author’s use dialogue to fill gap’s in the story. It sounds something like this:

“Hey John.”

“Oh, hello Jane. How are things going?”

“Great.”

“What’s going on?” John asked.

“Well…”

“Oh come on. You can tell me.”

Jane considered her answer. “Maybe I shouldn’t have called.”

“Don’t be silly. Now what’s the matter? You can tell me anything.”

And so on…and so on….

If certain dialogue were omitted from your book, would it change the plot?

SEX

Author’s who have written several novels, will use sex scenes sparingly. Even in a romance novel, sex has something directly to do with the overall plot. New author’s throw in a sex scene, thinking that it brings passion to the story.

Those of you who added dialogue in your sex scene, rethink what you wrote.

If a particular sex scene was deleted from your book, would it change the plot?

Is it wrong to have meals, trips, dreams, dialogue, or sex in your book? Certainly not. Unless, there was no point to it.

Here is a sure way to avoid fluff in your book. If you are writing the story, then I guarantee that there is fluff that can be deleted. However, if your characters are in control…then no worries.

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

Six Chapter Preview: www.upauthors.com/blog

Literary Manager: Melissa Link

Contact: melissa@scbranding.com

Ron Knight

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