On fluff and its necessity

I’m about 65% done with the next ATTWN chapter, and it is almost entirely fluffy. I had a couple of PM’s asking me for more fluff and a couple asking for less, so I thought I would address the issue.

Mass Effect is a game, and as a game it cannot indulge in the things that make up ‘normal life’. A lot is abstracted — going to the restroom, eating, sleeping, etc. That being said, going from A to C and not bothering with a clearly there but boring B is not a sin.

Going from A to X, however, and skipping everything between, certainly is.

A lot of the reason ATTWN even is happening is ‘fluff’. The circumstances behind Shepard’s death, while similar to canon, do not actually follow canon. Namely, the mystery of how the Collectors were able to pick up the Normandy when REAPERS couldn’t, and the sheer stupidity of reviving someone who fell from fucking orbit.

ATTWN has to deal with a lot of fluff to establish both Shepard growing beyond what she was before ME1 (because growth is a criterion of the story, and a CORE CONCEPT that will come up again and again in ME2 and ME3 Premiseverse) as well as preventing massive infodumps.

That being said, I’m attempting to strike a balance between emotional backstory and action. I’m interested in thoughts on this issue.

6 thoughts on “On fluff and its necessity”

  1. My thoughts are that you have done very well so far (in showing us your viewpoint of the characters) and I am very interested in how you will develop them further = )
    Plus your current backstory/action balance is fine in my opinion.

  2. You’ve yet to steer the story in any direction I haven’t liked and nor has the composition ever bothered me.

    Do what YOU think is good. If you think more fluff would be good, then I trust you to craft the story in such a manner that more fluff would indeed be good, and same if the opposite is true.

  3. I think all you “should” with regards to fluff, is make certain that it relates to the action (by which I mean not only what is happening in terms of time and space, but also what the characters think and feel.)

    So far, I would say that you have managed to do just that, but I do worry that such “strategic” thinking such as exposing important aspects of the setting ahead of of their actual time of relevance might have bad effects on the overall quality of your writing. Namely, I worry that the very actions depicted in the fiction might start to occur firstly to describe things, rather than being described because of their occurrence … if that makes sense. Basically, if you start to make things happen in order to explain something, I’m afraid it’s going to show even if the thing happening is really cool. I get the feeling that you didn’t resort much to that kind of process in OSABC and that it served you well, so, y’know, “A good story takes care of itself.” Also the fluff that you come up with is fascinating and is actually what drew me to your fanfiction (and to fanction full stop, in fact). It’s just that I think designing the quantities thereof is beside the point.

  4. Honestly? You could do an entire story of nothing but character interaction and development and I would probably still read it as long as it was anywhere near as good as what you have written so far, which I’m sure it would be.

    Are things like action, suspense, build up, and an overarching plot needed to make a real ‘story’? Yes, of course. That said, I’m more than entertained by all the character stuff you have. This so called ‘fluff’ is in all honesty why I read your stories. Sure, action is nice to read about and you have to be careful with character interaction, and make sure things have a point, and that your characters change overtime, but such things happen in your writing.

    I can go anywhere on any website to find a story that has action as it’s main selling point. What I usually don’t find is a series with compelling characters I honestly care about. To me, characters are the most important part in a story 9 times out of 10. The only other time is when you’re trying to wax nostalgic and tell your readers how to live their lives or offer some kind of ‘moral’ or whatever.

    TL,DR: Action is good, but I like characters and fluff more. Of course it’s not up to me anyway, so keep doing what you’re doing is my advice.

  5. It’s your story, man. I’m the kind of reader that prefers action, but it’s true that a story needs fluff to advance the plot between action.

    I think you’ve got a pretty good balance going so far, especially given that the first arc of attwn is supposed to be mostly training and fluff anyways

  6. You are so hard on fluff sometimes, in this post and your summaries. I’m not always sure why. Good fanfiction is mostly about fluff, because fluff is what comprises those spaces in between where imaginations roam. Not the plot points we’re all familiar with, but what happens when characters are just being themselves, as interpreted by their author.

    I can appreciate a well-thought action scene that Lester Grau would approve of. But it’s neither the only nor the main reason why I read. Don’t shortchange the fluff – it has a weight all its own.

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