Words, words, words. How much filler does it take to write a novel?
The number one obstacle I have to overcome every time I work on my books is adding content to reach my own preset goal.
Word count holds me in its grip. I am like an athlete, word count is my coach, and he is screaming, “More! Give Me More!” (Okay, I stole that line from Police Academy)
I condense by nature. For a number of years, I have often thought my true calling as a writer was as an editor in the condensed books section of Reader’s Digest.
Is it necessary to describe, in minute detail, the number of leaves on the tree? Is it relevant to the story? Is there a story behind each fallen leaf?
What if my writing is just Fitzgerald filler? Do I need to write fluff just to fill a page with words that have no significance to the story?
Surprisingly, I have mixed feelings about the answer. My strong suit in writing is flash fiction. However, since I began writing full-length novels, I can see first-hand why there is a need for a bit of pouf.
It is probably a good thing I was not around when our long-winded forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence. I would have condensed it to something like: We will drive your despotic ass out of our country if you try to take our freedom away and we have the Divine One riding shotgun. Pffft.
I continue to evolve as a novelist and, instead of trimming the fat, I am realizing that a little fat is a good thing. I am learning to embrace a bit of fluff.
J J Dare is the author of “False Positive” and “False World,”
the first two novels in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy