Here is an easy summary of how to write fluff:
You write fluff by defining your characters, setting, and goal. Then, you narrate a happy sequence of events between characters who have a strong, sometimes romantic, bond. You include meaningful dialogue and action to show them happy and in love. You also avoid any drama, conflict, or angst.
I’ve been writing fluff for ages, so keep reading to learn the real definition of fluff, my top 10 tips for writing the best fluff, and hand-selected fluff prompts.
What Is Fluff Writing? (Defined)
Here’s a quick definition of the fluff genre:
Fluff writing is any story with a positive plot and happy ending. Fluff is popular in fanfiction and some roleplaying games. These stories tend to focus on happy themes and make readers feel good.
Many consider fluff as a form of plotless writing. That’s probably because of thousands of poorly written fluff stories.
It’s an unfortunate misunderstanding.
Though many consider fluff as a subgenre of romance, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a romance. It can be any happy story. Although many fluffy fanfiction stories do revolve around a relationship or bond between characters.
Fluffy writing is cute, sweet, and full of “rainbows and unicorns.”
You have to put in a lot of work to churn out fluff that attracts your readers and keeps their interest.
Just because fluff is a light-mood writing style doesn’t mean you don’t need the same elements and enhancements required for every story to succeed.
How To Write Fluff in Fanfiction (10 Helpful Tips)
Even though there is no exact recipe to write fluff in fanfiction, here are a few points that I think can really help you. I picked them up or developed them over the last 20 years!
1) Craft a Fluffy Premise
Before you start writing fluff, it’s helpful to decide what kind of fluff you want to write. There are different types of fluff.
There is cute fluff, morning fluff, comedy fluff, family fluff, pet fluff, crossover fluff, alternate universe fluff, pure fluff, and more.
In practice, you can craft your fluffy premise from a real-life incident that fascinates you—or make it up from scratch. I like to start by asking myself a few questions?
- When are the happiest moments of my life?
- What is the one major happy feeling I want my story to convey to readers?
- What kind of fluff do I want to write? (or what type of fluff matches my story idea?)
- Who are the main characters in my story?
- What is my story setting?
- What happens in my story?
Always remember that a positive, optimistic tone is a key feature of fluff.
Based on your definition and expectation of fluff, you can create the perfect premise.
2) Create Fluffy Characters
Fluffy characters make fluffy stories.
Contrary to popular belief, characters in fluffy stories don’t have to be perfect. It’s actually better if they have flaws, imperfections, and moon shadows of humanness.
Know your character inside and out, especially:
- What is their goal? (Their driving force and motivation)
- What is their defining characteristic? (Do they obsess over watches or pianos? Do they crossdress? Do they dance in the street every time it rains?)
- How do they look? (Are they tall short, thin, big-boned? How do they dress?)
- How do they speak? (Do they talk fast, loud, in stacco bursts, or with big five-dollar words?)
- What is their role in your story? (Main character, love interest, etc).
To make a fluffy character, focus on happy images and positive character traits. Almost everything in fluff is slanted toward warm fuzzy feelings.
Important note: If you write fanfiction, most readers will want you to keep the well-known and beloved characters consistent with the original author. In other words, don’t go changing the characters too much.
That leads to unwanted Out of Character (or OOC) complaints and criticisms.
3) Plan a Fluffy Plotline
Along with your premise and characters, you might need (or want) a fluffy plot.
For instance, if you prefer to create a slice-of-life narrative, you can go for a variety of plot styles that match that kind of story.
Fluff stories can still include plot, which means some kind of obstacle, conflict, tension, or internal struggle. You just minimize it and maximize the pleasurable happy feelings of the story.
Many fluff scenes and fanfiction stories involve everyday activities with embellishment. Maybe two strangers get locked out of a building in the snow and get to know each other while building a snowman.
In other words, give your characters something to do, something amiss, something out of the ordinary in their lives.
Then show them handling that situation (aka, the plot) together.
Like everything else in a fluffy story, the plot should play up positive, happy emotions.
4) Use Fluffy Language
You can use precise words and phrases to convey a fluffy tone.
I usually opt for descriptive language to bring the essence of the story to life. You can describe a scene or a person so vividly that it plays out in the minds of your readers like a movie.
It would assist your readers in visualizing and imagining the scene while they read it. Try to bring in metaphors and other figurative expressions to brighten up your writing style.
Your choice of words and phrases can filter your reader’s expectations and reception of your story (Read my article on choosing the best words).
Here are some keys to fluffy language:
- Use figuriative langauge (example: She glided across the parkinglot as if floating)
- Use concrete images (example: The rain shimmered along the sidewalk in rainbow colors)
- Use strong verbs (examples: Glided, shimmered, floated, gleamed, sprung)
- Use words with positive conotation (example: Kitten is a flufflier word than cat)
5) Build Fluffy Relationships
While creating fluff, bring in characters who share a relationship with the protagonist. It can even be two people who have a special, nonromantic bond. You can include scenes with lovers, friends, parents, or siblings.
Fluffy relationships focus on the good, overcome the plot complications, and steer toward optimism and connection.
The key to writing fluffy relationships is to make the reader swoon. Fluff stories are more about feelings than anything.
Here are some of the main characteristics of fluffy relationships:
- Geniunily care about each other
- Make each other happy
- Bright future together
6) Bring in Fluffy Gestures
Instead of always opting for fluffy dialogue or descriptions, you can also show kind gestures and actions.
It can be any kind of gesture, like helping someone out of a bad situation or getting something for a person in need. You can also bring in real-world examples from your own life.
It can be something as simple and beautiful as a granddaughter finally holding her grandfather’s wrinkled hands.
Try to include gestures that connect with your character’s unique traits and personality. Using action tags correctly can help to thread character and story-forward gestures into your fluff (read How to Use Action Tags).
7) Don’t Forget Fluffy Touch
The sense of touch is important in fluffy fiction.
After all, fluffy stories indulge in nurturance, comfort, and physical connection. The kinetic power of touch flows through fluff.
As you write your scene or story, don’t forget to include touch. Again, it can be a smile, a hug, a lingering handshake, or one character brushing the hair of someone they love.
You could write a scene where one character shows another character how to place their hands on the piano.
8) Design the Perfect Fluffy Ending
As you conclude your fluffy story, try to keep it light and peaceful. It is always best to create a final scene that the readers would enjoy—which, in this case, means a satisfying and happy ending.
You want your ending to stay with the readers even after leaving your work. For that purpose, end on something powerfully positive.
It could be a line of dialogue, a gesture or action you’ve set up throughout the story, or a bit of happy narrative. The most important thing is to end with good feelings.
Here’s how to end a fluff story:
- End on a positive note
- Resolve the story plot problem
- Wrap up all loose ends
- Connect the ending to the beginning (or something in the original story)
9) Tie Everything Together With a Fluffy Theme
One of my favorite story mentors (and practicing screenwriters), William C. Martell, likes to say that everything in the story connects to and grows out of the theme.
If your theme is happy relationships can get even better, then everything in your story highlights this theme.
For example, your characters might exist as different variations of the theme (perhaps one character is further along the path of growth than the other). Your setting might be a happy environment that is being developed into something even better.
The dialogue, scene goals, actions—everything—can point back to the theme.
In fanfiction, you can borrow the themes from the original story or series. You can also create your own.
Check out the current price for my favorite William C. Martell book on storytelling, Secrets of an Action Screenwriter (This book applies to anyone writing any kind of story).
10) Follow the Fluffy Formula
The fluffy formula is something I created to help guide my own fluffy stories.
I hope it helps you, too!
The Fluffy formula is Unique characters + Unique Setting + Interesting Complication + Happy Vibes = Good Fluff
When I say, “unique,” I mean avoiding replicating the fictional people seen in every other fanfiction or in canon. In fanfiction, however, you can use known characters (it’s fan-fiction after all).
But don’t forget about side characters, rare or barely mentioned settings, and side plots. They can make for some of the best fluff.
Give us new details about the setting and expand on character details only mentioned or hinted at in the fiction.
An interesting complication is a twist on something familiar—bonus points if the “twist” is character or theme-related.
Tips for Writing Romantic Fluff
When you plan to write romantic fluff, here are five tips to consider:
- Start with proper planning and research (research the setting, characters, and details of the plot or scene).
- Get inspiration from books, movies, and television shows. It will help you to avoid cliches and add a realistic touch to your narrative.
- Ensure that you select characters who fit in the fluff and build romanitic interactions between them.
- Follow the fluff formula. Be unique. You don’t have to make it lovey-dovey all the time.
- Most importantly, seek advice from yourself and your own romantic experience. It will lend believability to your story.
The plot of romantic fluff should evolve just like any other story. Just because there is no (or little) conflict in fluff, doesn’t mean there is no growth and change (Read How To Write Love Squares).
You can start with your two characters meeting for the first time, then deciding to kiss or date.
Or, you can start with your characters already closely connected but grow that bond in your scene or story.
How Do You Write a Fluff Scene?
You write a fluff scene by establishing the character, setting, and goal. Every scene is a mini-story with a beginning, middle, and ending.
Fluff scenes are meant to be sweet, cute, and happy without any drama or angst. Fluff scenes often rely on dialogue and small gestures more than big action sequences.
Every scene must include some kind of goal.
The goal can be small, like consoling a loved one or building a snowman. Fluff can also show a character’s power or intent. If there is any conflict, it is usually indirect (and background) tension.
Rember that fluff scenes are often small moments with big heart.
Here are fluff prompts to get your story started:
- A couple dance in the rain.
- A granddaughter finally holds her grandfather’s wrinkled hands.
- Two strangers build a snowman.
- A lost dog finds his home.
- In a world with no gravity, a young girl gives her younder brother a piggyback ride.
- With her last breath, she kisses him before dying in his arms.
- The couple’s first kiss is ruined by an earthquake. They laugh it off.
- In their new relationship, they always…
- A couple holds hands for the first time.
- A man wakes up to breakfast in bed. His wife is a master chef!
- A woman learns to patch up her own wounds.
- A newly married couple tours the world, seeing new places and meeting new friends.
- Hiro leaves his life of crime for good after meeting Tadashi’s family.
- On their wedding day, he…
If you want a full list of prompts, head on over to my Fluff Prompts article (where you’ll find over 300 prompts for cute fluff, romantic fluff, morning fluff, and much more).
To come up with an idea for a fluff story, you can also use fluff generators.
Check out these free online generators:
The following sites were not built to generate fluff, but they work very well:
Never downplay the significance of fluff.
When you downplay the significance of fluff, it could impact the quality of your writing. When it comes to storytelling, fluff is as significant as angst and drama.
Remember that creating a beautiful fluff scene can be way more challenging than you think.
It’s not always easy to write light-hearted content with substance. However, with the tips in this article (and the resources below) on how to write fluff, you’ll be well on your way to writing a story that readers love.
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