Kill the fill

Once upon a time in book writing land, if your book didn’t hit a certain word count, then you didn’t even get your foot in the door of a publisher.  After a quick internet search, the reasoning why publishers required between 60,000 to 100,000 words pretty much went unanswered. It just was an accepted fact. In creating Restless Shores, we didn’t follow the “accepted facts.” It’s worked for us so far.

We surmised that the reason behind “standard” book-length had to do with the cost of book production. The publisher wants to make money, and only books of a certain length were cost-effective. While we aren’t positive, following the money is always the fallback motive of detectives. Until someone can give us a better reason, we’re going with that one.

What happened is that we got books that just dragged in the middle because the writer had to add 10 – 30 thousand words of filler to meet the word count quota imposed upon them by publishers. Even today, with the avenue of self-publishing so accessible, writers hold to that word count structure and stuff their stories with filler.

On television, you see the same thing. Filler. If you look for it, you will begin to see where stuff is only happening to stretch the episode or movie out to a certain length. We watched a day-time soap opera where two characters had the same conversation over one hour. Oh, they phrased it differently each time, but it was the same basic content.

“So, if I reinstate you at my business in a position of importance, you will give me dirt on your father.”

“I want to work for you again, and I am willing to rat out my father to gain your trust.”

The episode kept flipping back and forth between this pair and other scenes, but for 14 total minutes and change (we timed it), this was the conversation these two had. Every. Single. Time. There also seemed to be an excessive number of 10 to 20-second close-up pensive stares. Filler.

Here at Restless Shores, we get questions all the time about why our episodes are so short.

One of the reasons is we don’t want any filler. We aren’t looking to stretch an episode out past the point of telling the story to fit into someone else’s arbitrary standards.  Here at Restless Shores, we look to kill the fill.

Scandal, intrigue, and salaciousness fifteen minutes at a time.

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