What is ‘fuzz’ in writing?

Fuzz refers to an element of motivation which the author forgot to supply. Perhaps they meant to come back later to add more detail, but didn’t.

The word “somehow” is an automatic tip-off to fuzzy areas of a story. “Somehow she forgot to clean her gun.”

That said, bad writing can be used for comic effect.

I use the fuzz technique to comic effect in some Halloween microfiction: The giant candy corn had no arms and no legs but ‘somehow proffers a plate’.


The gables on this mansion cast a longer shadow than most.

“Maybe we should skip this place,” says my older brother.

I ignore him as usual and lead him by the hand.

We knock, knock, knock upon the door.

Creak, creak, creak, the maw opens.

A monster candy corn looms before us. The resemblance is uncanny. That striped and pointy body, sans face, sans limbs.

It somehow proffers a basket.

“We never said trick or treat,” says my brother, “and we don’t want whatever you got.”

“Don’t be rude,” I whisper, and I grab a tiny human for the both of us.


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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