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I'm writing a book and I'm finished but it is way too short. It's not choppy but it's missing pieces. The difficult part is my writing style revolves around a confusing and mysterious character. I need to fill the book with 'fluff' or parts that glue the story together but aren't particularly important.

How do I do this without combating with my story line?
How do I write fluff pieces?
And how do I write them so readers don't get bored?

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While @DTP's answer is accurate, I'd like to point out a few things.

The difficult part is my writing style revolves around a confusing and mysterious character.

I have no intention to be mean, but if this question is an example of your writing style, then it clearly shows a problem of clarity. I strongly advise you to use your words more carefully in your next question (if you don't decide to edit this one). If English is not your native language, I suggest that you use shorter sentences and respect when to use capital letters.

The sentence above is confusing: what is the problem exactly? Is it your writing style or the plot/book which revolves around the mysterious character?

I can only suggest that you analyse your main plot and your mysterious character, then make your writing as clear as you can.

It's not choppy but it's missing pieces.

I'm afraid I'll have to disagree: if it's missing pieces, it's choppy. Missing pieces means that the action doesn't flow gracefully, which means there are hiccups in the flow and that is aptly described by the word 'choppy'.

I need to fill the book with 'fluff'.

No, you don't. Nobody does. Fluff is what gets edited out, not edited in.

I need to fill the book with [...] parts that glue the story together but aren't particularly important.

I'll assume that by 'not particularly important' you mean 'less important' rather than 'inconsequential'.

If your problem is a choppy main plot, there are two things you must do:

1: analyse your main plot and discover why it is choppy in the first place.

2: if the choppiness is derived from a lack of secondary plots that help attain a greater sense of unity, then focus on creating said plots in a way that build up the main one.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that what you're thinking of when you say 'fluff' and 'not particularly important' is character development. If I'm correct, let me say that character development should not be fluff (and if it happens to be, then it should be edited out without delay) and is definetely not 'not particularly important'.

Character development is what will make your reader relate to the characters. In other words, it's what will give the reader a reason to stick till the end of the story, so yes, it is important. If your main plot does not give the opportunity for sufficient character development, then create secondary plots that serve both the sequence of events of the main plot as well as character development.

Just to make sure this is hitting home, think about a story as a lasagna: the main story is the pasta (if you don't have pasta, it's not lasagna, no matter if everyhting else is the same). The things that glue the lasagna together - the meat (or vegetables) and the sauce - those are the 'fluff' you're asking about. Would you eat lasagna without that 'fluff'? No, because it isn't fluff: what glues the main story together and brings it to life is just as important as the main story itself. It's what gives it flavour and makes it remarkable.

How do I do this without combating with my story line?

You don't want to fight your main story line; you want to create supporting story lines and develop your characters in a way as to make the main story flow without hiccups.

I'm writing a book and I'm finished but it is way to short.

Lastly, I'd suggest you don't think about length. The important thing is that the story flows - the main plot with the secondary-supporting plots, both giving the characters the opportunity to grow and mature. It is not important if it's 10,000 or 100,000 words long.

  • +1. Whish I could upvote this answer more than once. – Thomo Dec 10 '18 at 23:37
  • @Thomo Well, that's what bounties are for. You should be able to start one tomorrow. :-) – a CVn Dec 11 '18 at 19:40
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Never fill your stories with fluff to blow them up to novel length. If your finished text is shorter than a novel, then that story wasn't a story for a novel. If you want to write a novel, write another story.

Looking back on my development as a writer, my first stories turned into short texts also. Each text that I wrote was a little longer, until eventually I managed my first novel-length text. I had to learn to think up stories that were complex enough to become novels. My first ideas were ideas for short stories and novellas. Only as I grew as a writer did my story ideas grow to become novels.

If your text turned out too short, it is very likely a sign that you are still learning the craft. So just write the next story. And then the next after that. Eventually you will find the novel-length tale.

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Answer:

My suggestion is (1) to add in try:fail cycles, before the final try:succeed cycle. (2) Also, ask yourself if you are including the internal state of the character--background, conflict and so on, that she may reflect upon and feel (introspection). (3) Maybe add a subplot.

Let's say your character is a superhero and needs to kill the evil villain Ruth Lexar to save Burgville. So she finds Ruth Lexar and kills her.

End of story. Not too choppy. Straightforward.

Also not very interesting.

More interesting is if she can't find Ruth Lexar, and then does find her later and suffers horribly during the fight, questions whether she should even be trying, eventually decides yes, she should, finds Ruth again--and in an epic battle defeats Ruth.

More interesting yet if she wrestles with questions along the way. Is it right to use power like this? Is it expected, since she is stronger than anyone else in Burgville? And smarter? And what about Love? Perhaps she has a subplot, falls for Doris Dane, and she and Doris wrestle with whether or not they belong together. Ultimately, our hero believes she cannot be with Doris--Doris must not even know her true identity--oh the anguish--and our hero then suffers silently. When it comes time to Vanquish Ruth, our hero must ask herself if she is any better than the villain. She may be trying to save the city, but she is doing this through murder.

That's more interesting. And longer.

TL;DR Try:fail cycles, Subplots, and introspection.

Bonus answer: Show don't tell. Showing always takes more words.

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1) Don't. People don't want to read fluff, they don't want to pay for fluff, and they won't forgive you for pawning fluff off on them.

2) While one person's awesome little aside is totally nothing but fluff to someone else, don't intentionally go into the process with the idea that you are just providing filler. If it adds value to the story, the setting, the plot, the conflict, then by all means add it, but if it isn't doing at least two of those, cut it.

3) DON'T. Fluff bad. Ok?

  • yes it adds to the story and goes deeper into the characters feelings and emotions but thankyou! – Rowyn Alloway Dec 11 '18 at 0:42
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    @RowynAlloway If that's the case, it's not fluff, it's character development – Thomo Dec 11 '18 at 3:02
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    "Adds to the story" has to mean more than word count. If you mean it deepens the readers understanding and empathy with the characters in a contextually meaningful way, then it's not fluff. ;) – Paul Hodges Dec 11 '18 at 14:09
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I've been digesting this question for awhile. I think I'm ready to answer...

Fill the gaps with good stuff instead of filler

Good stuff is harder to write than filler.

It's occasionally true that you need space between one scene and another, to give the reader time to breathe, perhaps. That one great action scene following on the heels of two other great actions scenes can just be overwhelming. But the space between too much of one thing shouldn't just be "space".

You already mentioned that you might need:

parts that glue the story together

And that is exactly what it sounds like you want help with. This is often done so poorly that people have a knee-jerk reaction to even the hint of "fluff". But it isn't fluff.

In the action scene of a well written movie, why do you root for the hero? Is it because the author dressed the bad guy in black? Is it because the hero is the one winning? Heavens no! It's because of that "fluff" scene where you were persuaded that the hero had motives you cared about and experiences that made her relatable.

Now, the audience may claim to be irritable because this is the 2,347th time that the hero is an orphan who likes puppies and wants to give away the Dark Lord's hoard of diamond-encrusted platinum toilet seats in order to solve world hunger... But irritation with repetition is just a symptom. It often isn't a different telling that people want - just a GOOD telling. But I digress.

Make space for your characters to build relationships with each other. Let them reflect on who they are and why they're doing what they're doing. Maybe not every scene you write to explore that will need to go into the story, but storytelling is not just about "A happened, and then B happened". Storytelling is about what people do, how they feel about it, but most of all it's about the meaning that they find (or fail to find) to justify their actions to themselves.

If your story is "missing pieces", it's not really finished. And finding ways to make your scenes fit together (often by putting scenes in, but sometimes by taking them out), is not going to "combat" your storyline. If done well, it will fill it out - and maybe even expand and deepen it.

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