Writing Tips

On the 10th Day of NaNo…

We are supposed to be surpassing 16k. Are you there yet? I’m working on it.

It’s been a few years since I was actually able to start writing NaNo on November first, which means I’m usually behind for the first week until a weekend comes along and I can play catch-up. That’s what I did this weekend. I finally got to where I was supposed to be on Sunday, but staying ahead of the game is what comes next.

This weekend, I went to a write-in (yeah, there are enough people here for a write-in! Amazing) and we talked about filler. I’m not a huge fan of filler, writing things for the sake of taking up words (Sorry, Tolkien, but all those pages describing trees just didn’t do it for me), but when it comes to NaNo, filler is sometimes the only thing you can do. If it was anything but NaNo, I wouldn’t recommend filler but here we are.

So what is filler?

Filler is the little things you put in the gaps. The Chinese refer to rice as a dish used to “fill in the corners” as they once told me. In writing, it’s the stuff that doesn’t matter. It’s waxing poetic about trees or giving and in-depth description of a characters clothes or what they’re eating or why throwing away a shirt is such a big deal. Basically, if it gets you closer to 50k, put it in there!

Fluff. That’s another word. It’s a word I generally despise when I’m told to do it at work or in writing. It means nothing but it’s words and it’s puffy and it makes people feel good. That’s what fluff is. You’ll probably end up cutting it all out during round two of editing, but for now, the goal of NaNo is to write the bare bones of a novel, filler and all, and then later go back and get to the meaty goodness.

There are still 20 more days to go, but keep trucking along and add in more filler if you need to! Discuss hair styles and gossip about inconsequential things. Just make more words!


One thought on “On the 10th Day of NaNo…

  1. Instead of descriptions of things, I do dialog – I’ll have my characters sit around and talk for a bit. I get all kinds of gold I can mine for the ‘real’ novel during the editing process.

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