Fluff or Forward Progress? My Take on Editing


Small things, everyday events, ordinary occurrences. This is not the stuff of great writing… or is it?

Sometimes I feel that incorporating the ordinary details in my writing is cheating. It’s easy, it’s common, it’s something right at hand and accessible. It makes the writing flow from my fingertips and the story moves. There are times when I stop and wonder if I’m moving the story forward or just in some random direction. Usually it’s a positive direction but not always. Still, because I’m not writing some grand romance or major battle or huge internal struggle, it feels unimportant and almost like a waste of time.

When these moods strike, I have to step back and assess. Having been a participant in so many NaNoWriMos (please look up National Novel Writing Month at http://www.nanowriomo.org if you have not yet been indoctrinated), I try not to do this while I’m writing but it’s a major component of my editing program. There are times when there’s too much of the common, too much of the every day. No one wants to read a grocery list of activities or be buried in a host of boring details… unless there’s a reason for this. If I’m creating a mood or giving my readers a sense of place or character, this may be exactly what’s needed.

I have a touch of ADHD, so my tolerance for such ‘fluff’ is low. I generally feel if I’m bored, my reader may well be too. That’s when the section under consideration gets reread and perhaps altered or deleted. Fluff is fine as long as it advances the plot – that’s my rule. If it’s fluff for fluff’s sake, out it goes.

What’s your take?

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About Diann Writes

Diann L. Tongco enjoys sketching, crafts and photography as well as writing poetry and novels. To stay out of trouble, she writes, shows curly-coated retrievers, grows fragrant roses, drinks good of wine with friends and spends time with her grandchildren. She lives on Washington's Puget Sound with her boyfriend Nick and their dog Ozzy.
This entry was posted in Non fiction books, Novel writing, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fluff or Forward Progress? My Take on Editing

  1. I’m with you! Sometimes I’ve even gone back to add a few details to make a character seem more human when I just wanted to get on with the story.

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