Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What do you think of Filler Chapters?

I finished chapter 13, that went rather fast. I'm eager to start chapter 14 which will involve some major action and turn of events. I love it when the potential excitement of story makes me excited.

Chapter 13, as I predicted, is a much needed transitional chapter. I was thinking about transitional and filler chapters in novels. You know, when the author suddenly switches perspective and tells a different story, then eventually goes back to the regularly scheduled program.

It occurred to me, I don't write filler chapters. I thought I did, but just wrote meaningful filler that's there for a very good reason. But then I realized that's not a filler chapter, which are usually nothing more than a distraction, a way to mark the passage of time in order to continue with the main story, though sometimes will involve important content (like American Gods by Neil Gaiman, for example). I've seen filler chapters used shamelessly as a rather cheap trick, which is unfortunate (completely unlike American Gods).

If needed, I'll write transitional chapters, where it's just a slight pause in the main story. Let's stop and think about things for a bit while we wait for everyone to catch up with the story. I find transitional chapters are a rather nice breather and give readers ample opportunity to go as fast or as slow as they want. I personally find it aggravating when an author attempts to decided my own free will for me. Don't need that, don't want it, thank you very much.

I'm curious what others think. How do you feel about Filler Chapters?

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