A Fragment of Nothing Update

I’m over halfway through my latest pass.  This time I’m digging into the way I tell the story.  One of my biggest and most frequent writing sins involves what’s called “filtering.”  Here’s an example:

Reed peered across the room and saw Fleggie brandish his axe.

The thing is, I’m already in Reed’s point of view (POV).  The reader knows that instinctively, so I don’t have to keep saying it.  Compare the above sentence with this:

Fleggie brandished his axe.

That’s four words instead of eleven.  More importantly, the shorter sentence is more vivid.  I haven’t filtered the POV character’s impressions (which are, essentially, equivalent to the reader’s impressions) through a bunch of extra verbs.  If Reed sees something, the reader does too.  And the way in which Reed sees that something (in this case he peers) is pretty much irrelevant.

Now I constructed this example to be obvious.  There are lots of ways to filter.  Sometimes the sentences even look pretty good, but most-times, going for the more direct visual adds immediacy.

I’m also looking for places where I slip out of my intended POV.  Usually this happens when I should be in a character’s POV but instead fall into the narrator’s.  We sometimes call that the “omnipotent observer” POV.

As I work my way through, I submit chapters to the Online Writers’ Workshop.  Lately the activity on the OWW site has flagged a bit, so I’m not getting much in the way of turnaround.  Unless things pick up, I’ll need to decide whether I should submit more chapters or just move ahead.  Both courses have merit.  I don’t want to wait for months to get a good set of critiques.  OTOH, I learned about filtering from one of the people on the OWW.  

Who knows what other baby blunders I’m making?  A lot, probably.

© Michael C. Glaviano 2009 - 2016