Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

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Thread: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

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    Never alone <3 Elphie jasonwolf's Avatar
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    Default Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    I'm in the process of writing the last few chapters of a fanfic. I hope to do at least two more, but up to five more chapters before I begint he next "Book" in the series. My problem is that I want to get to the more important and interesting parts, but i don't want to just skip around to them. I need to put something in between those events, but I don't know what.

    I could just use what i call "filler". Its basically anything in a story that is used for getting from one important event to the next, but it does not affect the events at all. I have great ideas for the main plot, but it seems like the next few chapters will be more filler then story.

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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Make the filler relevant. Just add some foreshadowing and build up to the big evens. If that fails, at least make the filler exciting, then readers shouldn't have a problem with it. Filler is especially useful for expanding characters.

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    Never alone <3 Elphie jasonwolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    Make the filler relevant. Just add some foreshadowing and build up to the big evens. If that fails, at least make the filler exciting, then readers shouldn't have a problem with it. Filler is especially useful for expanding characters.
    wells that my problem I can't really figure out how to do that. my biggest problem is character expansion in filler. I tend to get a picture of who the character is in my head, but then I don't know how to spread it out through the filler. The number one thing I've learned about characters is that you should never give descriptions right out, but I can't seem to do physical descriptions any other way and since i only seem to know it like that i've evaded giving any real description to my character.

    Now I'm actually starting to look over what i have done so far and realizing that I've missed alot of things. This is slightly off but do you know where i can get a beta reader and/or some to review what i have? It would help hearing the opinion of some one who has read my work. either way i'll take what you said into consideration.

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Filler doesn't always have to be used for character development--you can also use it to build your world or just give your readers a break after a gripping storyline
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    Never alone <3 Elphie jasonwolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Thats a large problem with my fic right now. I did it in first person as the main character, but he doesn't have that infinite knowledge that a third person narrator does. I do have a character who does act as a guide and mentor to the main character, but I haven't been able to really utilize him yet because I'm trying to keep him cloaked in some mystery which is very important to the plot.

    also I realized there was a bete reader thread so i posted that i wanted a beta reader. I could still use someone to review the work and tell me how it is from a critic's perspective.

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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    LT's got a point, too. The only real filler chapter I have is right after a very intense action filled chapter. It's refreshing to have a break like that. You're right, though, you shouldn't always put all of the character description the second they're introduced, but they should be pretty well physically described by the end of the chapter that they're introduced in.

    To answer your question:
    Beta Readers (You seem to have found this already)
    and
    The Review Exchange

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    Never alone <3 Elphie jasonwolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    i also just found the review exchange, but I'm slightly nervous about reviewing some one elses work. it might sound weird, but I never seem to be able to find any error in others work, but i catch every little plot mistake in my own alot of the time.

    with the character description you were talking about you have a very good point about having them described by the end of the chapter. I'll most likely work on that soon. honestly though i have three main human characters introduced and only one seems to be decently described. It also happens to be the mentor character, which the readers know next to nothing about.

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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    That's actually the exact same reason I'm not in the review exchange.

    Well, that's what you can use your filler chapters for, then. Have the characters encounter a natural disaster, do some training, squabble amongst themselves, or something. Their personalities will develop naturally, and you can throw in some physical description when referring to the characters individually (eg. "So-and-so stood to his full, and rather impressive height" or "So-and-so's long gray hair billowed in the wind as she shouted" stuff like that). The mysterious character will always seem more in depth and developed, that's because he/she's out of the ordinary. Most people in fics are average, so they won't seem very developed or special, when they're just as in depth as Mr. Badass Stranger.

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    Never alone <3 Elphie jasonwolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    oh trust me the mentor character is badass alright. He's like the fucking Timberwalker Pokemon Ninja. Timberwalkers are the fanfics equivilant of Rangers. That's Rangers as in one who is skilled with ranged weapondry. Really the whole reason Cedric, thats the mentor's name, is so epic compared to the other characters is because he actual has idea of what the heck is going on in the world while the other two main human characters only know the obvious.

    back to describing characters by the end of a chapter. when the third main character, a girl named Kathrin, joins the story there isn't much time to describe her in that chapter since she is trying to kill the main character, Jaklo. After that chapter i actually have one that was meant to be used for explaining who Kathrin is, but it ended up having more to do with the main characters' pokemon, Jaklo's Cubone Kane and Kathrin's Farfetch'd Gail.

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    Unova's #1 Yancy fan Seizon Senryaku's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Not entirely related to the original topic, but if you're having trouble with description, can I make a suggestion? Integrate the description with the narration and dialogue. Rather than dumping it in a block somewhere, bring in different elements where it's necessary. For example, if you'll let me borrow what you were saying about Kathrin and Jaklo . . . (I have no idea of the context or how either of them look, so bear with me here.)

    "You!" the girl spat, her sharp blue eyes seeming to pierce his very soul.

    "M-me?" Jaklo stuttered. Who was this girl? He didn't think she looked familiar - surely anyone with that much silvery-white hair would have been lodged firmly in his memory. "Are you sure you don't have me confused with someone else?"
    That's only a little part of it, and it's a pretty terrible example tbh, but you should get the point from that. Blending it all together when it is relevant is what makes description work. If it doesn't look like it will be relevant at any point, nudge the story and engineer a scene where it is. From just those two lines above, the reader can tell that Kathrin has blue eyes and long, silvery-white hair. That at least gives them some kind of image to work with until the action slows down and you have the freedom to actually give a little more of her appearance away.

    EDIT: I have a little spare time now between homework and writing/reading, so I'll touch on the topic of filler as well.

    Filler is something that many fanfic authors find impossible to avoid for one very good reason: it is pretty much ubiquitous. It pervades stories like full stops and speech tags. You could argue that every Quidditch match in the Harry Potter series was just filler! Not terribly successfully, but you could. Quidditch is a largely cosmetic aspect of the Harry Potter franchise, serving merely to capitalise on the long-established culture of witches on broomsticks.

    Carrying on with the Quidditch thing - no, the matches had nothing to do with the plot for the most part. But what Rowling did with them was to make them mean something. Harry's joining of the Quidditch team in the first book serves as a way to emphasise his integration into the wizarding culture, if nothing else. In Goblet of Fire, the Quidditch World Cup is a convenient setting for Voldy's Death Munchers to stir up some chaos. Backing up to Chamber of Secrets, the Quidditch match with the cursed Bludger serves as the catalyst for Dobby to come forward as the one trying to make Harry leave school. Other matches just show how much Harry and Draco hate each others' guts. I just realised I could write an essay on this shit. Also broomsticks as phallic symbols.

    So what do these have in common? While the Quidditch matches themselves are unnecessary filler in the grand scheme of things, Rowling takes them and makes them a part of the story. This is the key with filler : make it count. Don't do what the writers of the Pokemon anime did and go off into useless, tangential episodes where nothing exciting happens. One episode, they pass a farm and meet some Miltank. Whoopee. Some other episode, they go to a festival where some dudes with Fighting-type Pokemon are causing trouble. They help resolve the problem and move on. Fascinating.

    What I'm saying is that while filler is unavoidable - unless your fic is cinched extremely tightly around the middle - you need to grab it, beat it down and make it work for you instead of letting yourself become a slave to it. That filler is your bitch. Hell, the whole story is your personal masterpiece, so there is absolutely no reason to let anything like that govern how you write. If you can make those filler chapters you're thinking about writing work for the story instead of sitting in the middle of it like a crashed UFO, go for it. Otherwise, think critically about whether you can avoid them. There's nothing blander or harder to read than boring filler, but good filler - while kinda losing points for actually being filler - actually manages to entertain or inform as well as carrying some kind of significance to the plot. Most of the time, it's nothing that couldn't be done without, but I like to think of it as 'bonus' information, if you like.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Seizon Senryaku; 21st July 2011 at 09:24 PM.
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    Gym Apprentice Data_Error's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Ideally, every chapter of your fic should have at least some form of one of the following:

    - Plot-important events
    - Character Development/Focus
    - Worldbuilding

    I personally don't think that any chapter in a story should be completely filler. You can do either of the bottom two without having anything related to the overarching plot. Remember, we don't need to hear about every day a trainer spends traveling or training unless it's some event that helps to establish them as a character or reveal some pertinent fact about the setting. If you're having trouble with finding the proper place to add descriptions, as MW said, try integrating description with the action a bit at a time. It keeps the pace of the story going and gets all the necessary information to the reader.

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    Never alone <3 Elphie jasonwolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filler in fics. is it just something we have to deal with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misheard Whisper View Post
    Not entirely related to the original topic, but if you're having trouble with description, can I make a suggestion? Integrate the description with the narration and dialogue. Rather than dumping it in a block somewhere, bring in different elements where it's necessary. For example, if you'll let me borrow what you were saying about Kathrin and Jaklo . . . (I have no idea of the context or how either of them look, so bear with me here.)

    That's only a little part of it, and it's a pretty terrible example tbh, but you should get the point from that. Blending it all together when it is relevant is what makes description work. If it doesn't look like it will be relevant at any point, nudge the story and engineer a scene where it is. From just those two lines above, the reader can tell that Kathrin has blue eyes and long, silvery-white hair. That at least gives them some kind of image to work with until the action slows down and you have the freedom to actually give a little more of her appearance away.
    i did read that you have no idea how they look and thats fine its just i find it funny how everyone seems to give girls silvery /gray /white hair. In the story Kathrin isn't even just human. since its a medieval one i went ahead and made up some other races go along with the world. Kathrin is part Nyff (Kn-eef). Nyff are like elves in that they are very connected with forests, but they have a more hands on approach to protecting nature. Since Kathrin is only part Nyff she only has some of the characteristics though. This is one thing that i really nee to get into the story more, but I haven't had a reason (in story) for it to come up.

    I think i'll have it come up in either the next to last or last chapter of the first book. (I honestly have planned out most of the end,but getting there is the hard part.)

    Heres what i'm currently planning to do for the end that would bring this up (its a large spoiler spoiler so read if you dare) of course this could all change though :




    any way I am loving all the help you guys are giving me so thank you.
    Last edited by jasonwolf; 22nd July 2011 at 12:12 PM.

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