Writing Books/padding?


I ran across something that said padding doesn't help any novel. But what exactly is padding? Could you give me an example?
In the "Godfather" novel Puzo spends thousands of words on Johnny Fontane, Hollywood, and an operation on an Italian woman's vagina. All this has has nothing to do with the gansters and main plot of the Corleone family. Was all this padding?

There's a vast difference between padding and subplots. Subplots create depth of characters that the main plot doesn't allow. Also, what is now considered "padding" wasn't that way in times past. Even 30 years ago (when The Godfather was written) authors had more ability to ramble without the constraints of word count. Look at Moby Dick or Grapes of Wrath. Those are considered masterpieces--classics that would likely never be published today. But padding does still exist and, if well done, can still make it to the shelf. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell is a good recent example. As a debut, it was a whopping 900+ pages. Much of it was "padding" but the editor and many critics loved it. It can be done, but must be done carefully.

Good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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