1. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    Compromising pace for fluff?

    Discussion in 'Revision and Editing' started by J.T. Woody, Sep 22, 2022.

    My WIP is a romance.
    Feedback by 2 betas was that they wanted more instances of the characters falling in love.

    As it is now, the characters "meet" (not in person, but basically become aware of each other).
    Then it fast forwards a few weeks and they are in the friendship stage (still havent met). They've been talking and their conversations have been referred to in past tense.
    Then, circumstances cause them to meet abruptly in person and after that interaction is where their "friendship" turns intimate (not sex yet... But physical versus before when they had no contact at all).

    Both betas want more of the friendship part to expand on their emotional attraction.

    HOWEVER, one of the betas said that the pacing works really well, and shes worried that adding in a few more scenes (or expanding on the past tense ones that were mentioned) may slow down the pace.

    Im working on a few possible scenes to edit in, but to me it feels like fluff... Because they dont meet physically, their interactions are conversations. Lots of dialogue can also bog down pace, too.

    I dont want to compromise the pacing of it, but i also see what both betas are saying.
    I cant seem to think of a happy medium.
     
  2. Idiosyncratic

    Idiosyncratic Active Member

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    Conflict might be the missing piece here. Can you add secrets/real-world conflicts bleeding into their virtual interactions? Particularly conflicts that carry through once they meet in person. Perhaps a subplot with a third character? (Ex, character A’s parents are getting divorced and she’s just had a huge fight with her mother about it) Or even something in their history (ex, one person has been catfished before and is now terrified of it happening again).
     
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  3. Gary Wed

    Gary Wed Active Member

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    You have a real problem. Stories are about a multitude of things that work off each other. Poking something in the middle, just to fulfill one concern means reworking the whole thing, not to mention that the content has to be worth the reader's time (I mean content beyond the two getting mushy). This means that it's not an easy thing, as I've noticed that you sense.
     
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  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Are you spending a good amount of time inside either or both of the MC's heads (not sure if it's single or dual POV)? I tend to read/write slow burn romance and even when not much is happening between the characters, I try expound on my character's thoughts around their longing and pining for each other. There are other ways for people to be attracted to each other without being physically near each other; personality, sense of humor and other qualities can be just as enticing as a tight butt or pretty eyes.

    At what point do their feelings change from friendship to attraction, and what makes that happen? If they just have platonic feelings for each other and suddenly get romantic/horny for each other suddenly when they meet, I can see how that might seem kind of abrupt to the reader. In a romance, a lot of readers want to experience the journey to emotional connection from the very first spark to it's inevitable conclusion. It's all about the feelings, not necessarily the actions that take place.
     
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  5. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    They met in the woods and they continue to meet in the woods, becoming each others confidances. They are careful not to reveal each others identities, but do take comfort in each others presences because they understand what the other is going through.
    They do this for weeks. If he's in town, he'll tie a ribbon onto a tree near her house and thats the signal to "meet".
    (In the original version, i have 1 instance of them doing this but it mentioned that they've done this many times before and their past conversations are brought up-- i thought it was a good way to save space and keep the word count low rather then going into detail their every interactions over the course of a few weeks).

    They meet in person when shes on her way to their meeting place and shes attacked. He shows up as shes fighting off her attackers and jumps in. This is the first time she sees him. When the fight is over, she kisses him (theres a running joke that, because she hasnt seen him and has only heard his voice, that he's not even real and just all in her head).

    From that point, their meetings are more romantic. They still confide in each other. The makeout, they go walking in the woods, go hunting, etc (romantic and intimate, but not sexually involved yet. He makes it a point not to be sexually involved with her until he can sort out what this all means to him)
     
  6. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    So what you're describing above is the action that takes place. My question is still, are you exploring on the page what feelings they are experiencing internally, as their interest in each other goes from platonic to romantic? Or are you thinking that the reader's observation of their outward actions towards each other is enough to communicate their growing affection and attraction?

    It's hard to know for sure from the outside, but my gut tells me it might be what the betas sense is missing. Not more talking or doing things with each other, but letting the reader clearly see what's going on inside their head (or heads if dual POV).
     
  7. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    Oooh! Yes, their feels are explored. Like the reason why she gravitated toward this stanger vs just running away the moment the stranger showed up.... And the reason why he feels compelled to visit her, too, is all in the internal dialogue. He tells himself many times that he should just not come back because he doesnt want to comfort the feelings she brings out in him (feelings about his family and the not so good things hes done).
    Theres internal conflict in both of them during their interactions and in the scene that has this.
    Before they even meet, we see him in his own world/element and how cold and stiff he is and in her chapter, we see how grey and depressing she is. So basically, it starts out as trauma bonding, and she acknowledges this and thats one of the reason shes conflicted about going back to see him, because she doesnt want to attach herself to someone in that way.

    But... Thats only one chapter. The 3rd chapter. 1st chapt= her. 2nd chapt= him. 3rd chapt= them.
    And then the major plot points begin once they've established physical and emotional contact.

    I've written another potential chapter addition this week that im editing thats more of their bonding and more of their internal conflicts... But i dont what this will do pacing wise as if yet....
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    my general rule is never included fluff...if you think its fluff that will come across to the reader

    that said if you genuinely need to include more friends stuff for context, on the recomendation of an editor or the majority of beta readers then it isnt fluff and you'll need rewrite to include it... adding to what gary said you may also have to rewrite chapters either side of the new stuff to tie it in
     
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  9. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Hmmm...from what you're describing, it sounds like you're addressing their feelings quite well! I wonder if it might be worth pushing them for more specifics? If one beta mentions something I disagree with I'll usually disregard it, but two or more suggests there might be something there the needs addressing.
     
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  10. Banespawn

    Banespawn Member

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    What is each going through?

    By whom? Why?

    What major plot points?

    What do these characters want outside of the relationship? What's standing in their way?
     
  11. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    • The highs and lows of responsibilities, and the expectations of their families. Also the burdens of past actions.
    • Just some no named thieves that come across her in the woods on her way to meet him.
    • Its a fantasy romance. Major plot points include an evil sorcerer, a vengeful prince, and a king who wants the girl dead. Outside of the relationship, the girl wants to avenge her fathers death and take back his throne from an alleged tyrant. The guy (the alleged tyrant) wants to break away from his father (the actual tyrant) and protect the kingdom from war.
     
  12. Que

    Que Active Member

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    I have the same complaint with novels that go on and on and on with scenes and complications and conversations that are less about the character's inner or outer conflict and more about adding fluff to meet the word count of their target agent/editor/publisher. I hope you find ways to keep your readers turning pages without the fluff!
     
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