I've been reading romance fiction since my early teens on, let's just round it up to 40+ years. The reads on a whole were wonderful, some keepers and very few wall bangers. But the very worse were the ones filled with fluff.
Fluff in a story can be done in a couple ways, one is the setting fluff. When an author fills the pages with fact after fact and scenery recites, it can kill the reader's interest after the first couple times. As an editor, I have found that this type of fluff is a page eater and is really a camouflage by the author waiting for a scene change or waiting for the words to flow that really pertain to the story.
The next fluff encounter is when a "part" of the story is repeated and repeated in various scenes throughout the story. Some are just annoying, like how many dishes can one character wash? Or if your character has to ride a horse, do we really need to know how much it hurts and where every time they ride? How about "crying" what if the heroine cried from one end of the book to the other? Can you really enjoy all the tears? These types of fluff appear to be used by the author to make themselves feel comfortable enough to write. The problem is most of scenes end up starting in the same place like the kitchen or on the horse or wring out that crying towel. They should be taken out on the first edit by the author, so the editor never see them and certainly not the readers.
Fluff can be just the overuse of one word. What if the heroine called the hero "baby face" every time they kissed or did any type of loving act. I mean really! Baby Face? Does it even fit an alpha male? The mental image put in my head is disgusting and obviously ruined the story for me.
The whole point is "What is the relevance to the story?". We are writing romance, does the fluff matter to our struggling couples?
Most of the Fluff comes from the author because they are stalled. Yes, stalled, a new chapter or a new scene have made the author put the brakes on.
As far as a "cute" name for their partner, really think it out and if you use one mix it up. Put the cute name in the search and see how many times it is used and then change some out for their name.
As authors it is very difficult for us to see our own mistakes or problems. Listen what people say, if something is brought up it could be just the tip of the iceberg.
Jewel Adams - I have received many request for Words of Love to be in book form and I'm pleased to announce the release this weekend of
WORDS OF LOVE - How To Write a Romance Novel
Enter the drawing for your ebook copy of Words of Love by emailing me at jeweladams @gmail.com (without the spaces). Winner will be announced next Thursday.