29 October 2008

That Which Matters

A couple of days ago Wulf published an awesome post called 'What The Hell Are You Writing?' Fluff, or something that will last? In the comments, Merc asked how it is that you do this, how you make your work mean something, and give it themes and depth weight. She noted that there seems to be this gulf, between what we want to do, and what we actually do... But that it nonetheless seems something worth striving towards.

This is my response.

And in the end, striving is what counts.

You do it, I think, in the end, by caring. You care what happens, you care about knowing… You dare to ask the questions you don’t know the answers to, to bare your soul, to inject something that means something to you into your work, even though people might hate it, and by extension you…

I think that this is one of those cases where wanting, trying - this is enough. There will always be a disconnect. You can never move yourself like others can move you, because you see the imperfections, you read behind the lines and find the blood and sweat and tears… But if you’re trying, genuinely trying… That, in the end, is what counts.

What do you think? Do you write 'fluff'? Are you happy writing fluff? Or do you strive for something more out of your writing? Something that might just change lives and leave the world a better place?


Just_Me said...


I don't think I'm going to improve the world by blowing things up and offing characters like there's no tomorrow.

I might get someone to laugh, but if anyone "gets" something from my book I'll be amazed.

Inkblot said...

Ya know, I'm going to disagree with you there.

I think you /can/ make the world a better place whilst blowing things up and offing characters ;)

It's about making your reader think, in my opinion, not telling them WHAT to think.

Mai, in Finn Genesis, is a perfect example. She's a character people are going to react strongly to, either one way or the other - and that makes people think.

Merc's Hell Team novels: superficially fluff, but Heckler /grows/. He changes. He learns stuff, about himself, about others, about what it means to be a thinking, feeling human being. About which choices we have, and which we don't. And because he's thinking about it, as a reader I am too.

For me, the dividing line between fluff and meaning is your characters: do they grow? Do they change? Do their actions, somehow, in someway, prompt the reader to think?

So, there is fluff, there is D&M (deep and meaningful), and then there is D&M Fluff. Which personally, I like the best. Who /doesn't/ like to be entertained AND made to think, all at the same time? :)

Lady Glamis said...


Is lyrical, poetic text interspersed with suspense and character growth fluff???

Breakaway isn't fluff.

The whole idea I had behind this book was to entertain, but write something literary at the same time.

As much as I don't want to call Breakaway LITERARY (because that means it won't sell, most likely), I might have to. But it seems kinda silly to call it literary.

Literary means no fluff, no fun, usually. It means "smart" and "intelligent" - I'm not sure Breakaway is smart and intelligent...


I like fluff. I should try and write some pure fluff, shouldn't I? :)

Inkblot said...

It still boggles me that people set out to write fluff simply to write absolute, pure fluff. I'm not satisfied unless I can find a /point/ to the story o.O I guess too many years of English lit will do that to a gal, hey :D

Lady Glamis said...

Yes, it will. Majoring in English took all the fluff right out of me.

My writing has fluff elements....some not good, mind you. But on the whole, I cannot read or write anything that has no point.

Twilight....that was fluff.

Just_Me said...

LG- you may not sell, but you'll win pretty awards and critical acclaim :o)

*tries to think of characters as being nonfluffy*

Um, if people stop to *think* about what I say, I'm going to get lynched. You realize that, don't you? Mobs with tar and feathers. Book burnings. Boycotts. Everyone gets insulted in Genesis. And DoJ will never sell in Europe once they get the joke about the Europa System.

Inkblot said...


But at least it's not fluff :D

Wulf said...

I wish my writing could be classified as fluff. But I'd have to call it drivel, at best.

I do (obviously) agree with the point that if you're going to consume 20 hours of someone's life with your wit, you should leave them invigorated and thinking in new paradigms in return.

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