Has anyone ever heard of the fluff bunny?
Here is the one who wants to slay the fluff bunny.
Now, did I need to start my blog post out by showing you these things?
No. I didn’t.
But I did. And it grabbed your attention, didn’t it?
Good, sit down for a few minutes. Grab a cup of coffee or something you like to drink because you’re going to want to read this and absorb this information.
We’re going to go over why a lot of fluff is bad in a novel.
For those of you who don’t know what that means, here’s a definition of what fluff is:
A scene which contains lots of sweet, adorable romance between two characters developing a relationship. It can be cutesy, romance and have scenes that do not involve kissing or sex.
It can also be those not in a romantic relationship that shows a development. However, one key definition of fluff is that they don’t move the story along. They are there simply because a writer likes it.
This is a common problem for those who transition from role play or fanfiction. Unfortunately this happens to the best of us, myself included.
In role play and fanfiction, a world and a character base already exists. Someone who does these two types of writing already has a set of parameters that they have to stay in. When a writer writes original fiction, they have developed a new world or added to an existing one that they must develop rules for.
One of those is making sure the story has a continious pace to keep the reader interested.
After I got halfway through editing Turbulence, I had cut out a lot of unnecessary fluff.
I determined that I wanted the first book to introduce my two main characters, Aviere and Travis. They have a problem. One is a criminal, the other works for law enforcement. They must work to fix said problem while working for the side they represent. The relationship must develop while solving the mystery.
By all means, I am not saying never to write parts that may build character or help understand their relationship. Far from it. But if it does not help tell the story it will not capture the readers interest. Instead they’ll wonder if it has revelance and put your novel down, moving towards something else.
So how do you know if you have too much fluff? Here’s some ways that you can tell:
1. Make sure your scene is necessary for the story you are writing.
A year ago, I never would have been able to rip apart this manuscript as I am now. I was too “attached” to the story and being a writer, you have to learn that just because you like it doesn’t mean it’s needed. There are quite a few scenes I’ve had to cut simply because it had no use in the story anymore.
Cutting something can be a GOOD thing. You can save these to reference later or use them in other projects if you wish. I have a folder of nothing but the scenes I have cut and some I show for writing samples when I have those kinds of clients.
The next one is not a fluff behavior but can be when it’s in that kind of scene. I cannot stress this one enough, though.
2. Your wording is bad and needs to be fixed.
This is exactly as it sounds. You are going to have to sit there and revise, taking it apart piece by piece until you have solid, consistent flow.
If you’ve worded something weird and it makes no sense to you, it’s not going to for your reader. A tip I’ve used is to read out loud. If you can’t read it, neither can the reader. Don’t take this personally–think of it as a way to improve.
3. You’ve overdescribed a scene, setting or just what the character looks like to where you’re boring the reader to death.
There is a reason I do not read Terry Brook’s Shannara series–I feel like I’m reading about them walking through endless woods that never quite show me the rest of the story.
If it’s revelant to explain your characters looks, that’s fine.
Examples of this are if characters need to change due to an event that happened, such as:
*Character works in an occupation that requires they blend into their surroundings (agent, cop, detective)
*Character has blood all over their clothes
*Character was vomited on
*Clothes were ripped or torn
*If they were disguised as an illusion
There other examples but those are a few that I’ve used.
If you’re describing what a character looks like, don’t use so much that your readers know what kind of panties or boxers the character is wearing. Writers can pull this off if they know what they’re doing. Examples are:
*A character depicts to people they are poor but dresses in rich designer clothes. Some characters want know said character can afford those.
*A character has any expensive item that has high cost and maintenance (cars, jewelry, home)
*Character may have a physical flaw that was noticeable (someone blind, unable to speak, body defect)
4. You’re dragging scenes when they have already ended.
Many writers have this issue and they get attached to their characters.
It happens to all of us but at the end of the day, re-evaluate the scene. If it’s ended a long time ago, cut the rest and leave the revelant parts. The readers will thank you. The story will flow and you will still have them interested in the story.
Even if you cut the scene, there is good news. You’ve gotten some more characterization for the characters in the scene you worked on and can use that in your later scenes. Good job!
5. You are using fluff words.
There are certain words that should not be used in a manuscript. Very, little, rather and actually are a few words you should avoid. If they hold no value to the sentence, take it out.
6. You are repeating yourself by using different phrases of sentences to explain the same damn thing.
This was a big offender for me. There were paragraphs that sounded eloquent, but they just said the same thing the last sentence did. This will turn off readers quick and then you’ll get your book returned or thrown in the trash.
You have plenty of time to look your work over before an editor will look at it. What you think is genius an editor will say you can do better. These are just some things I’ve learned while editing the third draft of this book.
If you take anything away from this, re-evalute your manuscript before sending it to your editor. They will thank you and know you are serious about your work.0