Updated: May 9, 2022
To begin today's blog, first I would like to clarify what I dee as filler. No, it's not the extra word you add in a sentence out of habit although that is also considered a filler. The filler I'm referring to today is about plot and content that does not add value to a story and is just there to waste the reader's time or drag out a scene unnecessarily.
You can read up more here. It's a blog written by Jordan that is very useful for starting out writers.
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No, this isn't about snogging. It's an abbreviation for "Keep It Simple Stupid" aka GET TO THE POINT! Nobody likes spending half a day in a meeting that can be summarised in a five-minute email. It's the same with writing a scene. Jump straight into what you want to deliver. Don't make pitstops or roundabout.
Just. Do. It.
#2: Write With Purpose
When writing a scene, apart from pacing there are other things that come into place. Writing a story should deliver a message and think about how you text different people. It's going to be the same thing, except longer.
You don't clutter your text messages with unimportant details usually. It's the same when writing a story. Think of the Twitter 140 character limit to work within. Keep sentences to under 15 words if possible. Make every word count. Here are some questions to help you decide the purpose of your paragraph.
1. What do I want readers to know from this?
2. What kind of impact will this have on a later stage?
3. What kind of reader reaction do I want?
Some types of content that you could write would include the following. The list is non-comprehensive so feel free to decide. There can be more than one purpose but clarity should not be compromised in your delivery.
1. Provide deeper character insight
2. Add on to character's depth
3. Push a plot forward
4. Provide world-building information
#3: Stay on Track
Last but not least, if you have to digress for a moment to fill your reader in about the rules of a game, please remember to come back to the actual tournament. You know that one teacher who always goes off-topic and fail to return to the books until they hear the bell? Don't be that kind of writer.
Always remember your true motivation for crafting every scene.
Most of these things could be found in Jordan's blog. There's nothing difficult about understanding what a filler is and how to avoid them. It's one of the common pitfalls for people who have never written before and those who started their writing journey with web novels.
That said, it's not wrong to want fillers. Fillers could help to break up the pace or rising tension for a serious main story from time to time. It allows your readers to breathe and just enjoy a moment. However, if your story is inflated with 90% filler, it's time to reconsider just what you're trying to share.