Monday, November 2, 2009

Showing, telling, and the "author's filter"

This comes from Anita Nolan's blog, and is a really succinct way of describing a subtle problem that can sneak into your manuscript:

Eliminate the filter of the author. This can indicate telling. Some common filters are felt, heard, saw, looked, appeared, knew, realized.

For example: Jack felt sad when he heard the screech of tires and saw the dog ran into the road, because he knew the dog might be hit.

Instead: A black Lab darted past Jack, making him stop jogging and watch the dog’s manic race across manicured lawns. Jack’s heart filled his throat as the dog neared the busy street. He tried to yell, but couldn’t form the words. The screech of car tires made him wince. No way the driver could have avoided that dog.

Using these techniques to “show” your story will help it come alive for your reader.

More tips here.

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