A writer’s first drafts are often a bit skimpy and a tad short. Don’t panic…it is only the first draft – the bare bones of your story. Now it is time to dress it up. The trick is how to add substance, making the scenes stronger and fleshing out a story – rather than just padding.
You can write several paragraphs, but if all you are addressing is a butterfly sitting on a fence and has nothing to do with your character or gives nothing to the plot then it’s useless fluff. On the flip-side, a single line or paragraph might eliminate padding – but it may also lack enough content to create the atmosphere needed for readers to visualize the scene. You need to find just the right balance.
If a story is padded it is packed with inconsequential detail making the story longer; not enhancing it in any way.
The key is in knowing how to flesh out a story by adding depth and texture, an emotional punch that bring people and places to life.
SIGNS OF PADDING:
- dialogue that meanders
- too much description
- character’s thoughts wandering
- extra characters with no added value to roles
- inconsequential problems
- insufficient transitions
- delayed ending
- unnecessary explanations
If your story is too short add a:
- plot twist
- character – a significant character that adds to the story.
- new dimension to your main character – reveal something that is not known
If your story is too bare boned:
- analyze the way you describe people, places and events
- are you too economical with words
- consider the way you describe certain words. For example, red of
- velvet curtains
- fine wine
- stop sign
Substitute the word red with words like: burgundy, rose, crimson, scarlet, ruby, russet, vermilion, auburn, copper, cherry, cardinal, maroon.
Then consider the smell, sound, texture and taste. Give it life.
“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”