How to Cut Filler

It’s happened to us all before. We go home with a new book, get cozy, and settle in to read. But although the storyline is interesting enough, the book leaves us dissatisfied. The pacing moved as fast as sludge, in fact, the whole story trudged along and it was almost painful trying to get through. So what happened? The story had too much filler.

So what is filler? It’s anything in your story that’s unnecessary. That could be an extraneous word, sentence, description, or even a character or whole scene. It’s so important to make sure everything from your prose to your characters moves the story forward. Every scene has to be meaningful.

Ask yourself:

Does this scene

  1. Move the plot forward?

  2. Develop your characters?

  3. Set the scene, mood, or theme?

  4. Transition between scenes?

Does this description

  1. Show characterization?

  2. Set the scene, mood, or theme?

  3. Add value to your overall story?

Does this character

  1. Serve a purpose?

  2. Have a goal?

  3. Affect the plot?

If the answer to these questions is no, or if you can delete a scene, character, or description and it doesn’t change the story, they’re unnecessary and should be cut. No matter how much you may love that description, scene, or character you need to kill your darlings. You can always save your darlings in a separate Word document to use in a later WiP. Another thing we want to be wary of is purple prose. It’s super flowery language that overdoes it with adjective description and metaphors/similes. We want to make sure we show, don’t tell, but beware of descriptions that are trying too hard. We want to be simple and clear.

Do you struggle with writing filler or cutting it out? Comment below and happy writing.


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#filler #killyourdarlings #purpleprose #writing

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