Something I have learned recently: hide fluff inside action.
Let me clarify. It isn’t exactly “hiding”, but rather inserting in the middle. Still confused? I’ll explain.
I have recently fallen down the K-Drama wormhole (don’t judge, we all have one quirky obsession), and it has actually been very good for my writing. Being a writer, I watch with an eye toward what the writers were thinking when they pieced the story together. One of the first things I noticed is how hard I began to ship characters. (For those of you who don’t speak the language of “ship”, let me know and I’ll write you a post.)
I digress. When I started to realize how squeal-worthy these shows were, I (naturally) began to dissect WHY. I discovered something particularly interesting.
Generally, when you learn to write, you start to break down what needs to happen into scenes and the like. You ask, “what is the purpose of this scene?” and break it down into Action, Love, Filler, Plot, etc.
But what if you didn’t have to? What if one scene could serve multiple purposes?
You see, that’s what I began to discover. I shipped these characters so hard because their lives weren’t dissected into different categories. Everything intermingled. Everything in their lives touched.
And the best part? The most squeal-worthy fluff scenes weren’t fluff scenes at all.
My favorite scenes began to take on a pattern. Anyone who knows me also knows that I LOVE ACTION AND ADVENTURE AND DANGER. Hands down one of my favorite things to read, watch, or write. It’s so exciting! So, naturally, my favorite scenes had danger and action. But then I realized, right in the middle, the writers would throw in a sprinkling of fluff.
A kiss before the hero runs into certain death.
A heroine reaching for her hero’s hand when she gets scared or injured.
A simple confession of “I like you” as they realize they may never get to say it again.
And then, right on with the action and adventure. As if nothing ever happened. (*Cue me, screaming at the screen* YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE US LIKE THAT! THAT’S CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT!)
Thus, they have created the need for more. As writers, I think that’s a cue we should learn from. Sometimes, less is more. People want to push characters into a relationship. We’re hard-wired to think two people in the story should end up together. If you give them an inch, your readers will take it a mile.
I personally believe — after much trial and error — that fluff as its own scene can be grating. However, if you give a taste of fluff inside a much richer, fast-paced scene, people will come back for more. They’ll crave that relationship and all it entails.
Raise the stakes, my friends. Let your purposes intermingle and bleed into each other. Life is messy, so why can’t our character’s lives be a little more realistic in that way?