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Thread: Is this a good way to avoid filtering?

  1. #1
    Willing to Learn MythMonger's Avatar
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    Is this a good way to avoid filtering?

    There are several points in my MS where my POV character is looking away from the action, and I'm trying to avoid filtering as they turn to look at it.

    What I've been doing is having the character face the action in one sentence, then describing the action in the next sentence.

    Example:

    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere. An alarm blared inside the store.
    Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed.
    Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled at her to duck.
    Corey bent her knees and lowered her head. A whoosh of air went over her. She scurried forward a few steps and turned around to see what had happened.
    A man wielding a baseball bat stood in the opening to the store with a look of determination in his eyes. “Looters, go home.”
    Before I litter yet another rewrite with filtering, does this seem like a good way to handle this?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere. An alarm blared inside the store.
    Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed.
    Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled at her to duck.
    Corey bent her knees and lowered her head. A whoosh of air went over her. She scurried forward a few steps and turned around to see what had happened.
    A man wielding a baseball bat stood before her in the opening to the store
    with a look of determination in his eyes. “Looters, go home.”
    How's that?

    I would try having Corey turn around, then duck as the man swung at her. Maybe have Annette pull Corey back to avoid the strike too.
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  3. #3
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    You're not filtering at all. One thing you might do is get ride of "to see what happened" because it's redundant. After her friend tells her to duck, we know when Corey turns around it's to see what happened.

    The other thing is that your sentences seem a bit choppy and don't flow well.
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  4. #4
    Willing to Learn MythMonger's Avatar
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    Thank you, Will and Susan. I appreciate the help.

    Susan, my longer sentences tend to be confusing, which is something I'm going to work on. For now, I press on with the choppy sentences until I can get the technique of longer ones down.

  5. #5
    Attack of the Hurricane Turtles! MagicWriter's Avatar
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    I found this blog post about filtering a couple of months ago. I thought it was helpful, maybe it can help you as well.

    http://writerleigh.blogspot.com/2009/12/filtering.html

  6. #6
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MythMonger View Post
    Example:

    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere. An alarm blared inside the store.
    Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed.
    Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled at her to duck.
    Corey bent her knees and lowered her head. A whoosh of air went over her. She scurried forward a few steps and turned around to see what had happened.
    A man wielding a baseball bat stood in the opening to the store with a look of determination in his eyes. “Looters, go home.”

    I think it's a little stiff and careful and wordy. You probably could describe what's happening more concisely. For instance:

    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere. An alarm blared inside the store. Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed.

    "Duck!" Annette yelled.

    Corey ducked. Something whooshed over her head. She scurried out of the way and turned to look.

    A man wielding a baseball bat stood in the opening to the store with a look of determination in his eyes. "Looters, go home.”

    ***
    Not saying you have to do it that way particularly, but you can do it in fewer words than you had.

  7. #7
    Bananas are my favorite animal A S Abrams's Avatar
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    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere. An alarm blared inside the store.
    Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed.
    Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled at her to duck.
    Corey bent her knees and lowered her head. A whoosh of air went over her. She scurried forward a few steps and turned around Okay, I'm having trouble with the sequence of actions here. Did she stop before she turned around? If so, I would put "She scurried forward a few steps and stopped." Then in the next paragraph...to see what had happened This is the only place I notice filtering..
    [Behind her] The turning around is implied here, but then again, maybe not for some people A man wielding a baseball bat stood in the opening to the store with a look of determination in his eyes. “Looters, go home.”
    I don't think you'd have to say "turned around" or "faced" every single time. But anyway, hope this helped.

  8. #8
    I agree with Roxxsmom.
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    MythMonger, filtering is not the problem with your example. As it is, the writing comes off like a news report. It's impersonal, just one fact after another with no emotion, and like Susan pointed out, the choppy sentences make this worse. You could solve this simply by combining some sentences.

    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere, and an alarm blared inside the store.

    And you could even shorten some sentences by not choreographing every action.

    Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed. = Corey bowed to the cheering mob.

    Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled at her to duck. = Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled, "Duck!"

    Corey bent her knees and lowered her head. = Corey ducked.

    You could also lose some unneeded words.

    turned around to see what had happened. = spun around

    (Using Will's suggestion of "before her") A man wielding a baseball bat stood before her with a look of determination in his eyes. = A man wielding a baseball bat stood before her, determination in his eyes.

    Remember, filtering is when you place a character between the reader and the detail you want to present. But filtering is not bad when the character's awareness of something *is* the detail you want to present or when filtering removes the need for further clarity.

    Consider these two sentences (with my previous suggestion):

    Corey ducked. A whoosh of air went over her.

    Was Corey aware of the whoosh? We don't know. You didn't tell us. You've simply presented two facts. IMO the sentence, and the scene, could be improved by adding some filtering.

    Corey ducked and felt something whoosh over her head.

    But if you don't want to include the filtering, the sentences could still be improved by combining them.

    Corey ducked and something whooshed over head.

    Hope this helped.

  9. #9
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    Nice blog link, magicwriter!

  10. #10
    Willing to Learn MythMonger's Avatar
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    I hope this a step in the right direction:

    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere, while an alarm blared inside the store.

    Behind her, the mob cheered so she gave a prolonged bow.

    “Watch out!” Annette yelled.

    Corey whirled around and faced a man cocking a baseball bat over his shoulder.

    She ducked and the bat passed over her head with a whoosh of air. She scurried backwards a few steps, lost her balance and fell to the pavement.

    The man with the bat loomed over her with a look of determination in his eyes. “Looters, go home.”
    Quote Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
    Remember, filtering is when you place a character between the reader and the detail you want to present. But filtering is not bad when the character's awareness of something *is* the detail you want to present or when filtering removes the need for further clarity.
    That's an important point I hadn't considered before. Thank you for pointing that out.

    Quote Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
    Corey ducked and felt something whoosh over her head.
    That's actually how I had it written before my filter-filter kicked in. lol

    Thank you for your comments, everyone. I'm glad I submitted this for your review, you really cut into many of the weaknesses of my writing.

  11. #11
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MythMonger View Post
    Thank you, Will and Susan. I appreciate the help.

    Susan, my longer sentences tend to be confusing, which is something I'm going to work on. For now, I press on with the choppy sentences until I can get the technique of longer ones down.
    You're welcome.

    Beth said it perfectly.
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW ave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MythMonger View Post
    What I've been doing is having the character face the action in one sentence, then describing the action in the next sentence.

    Example:

    The door shattered, sending shards of glass everywhere. An alarm blared inside the store.
    Corey faced the cheering mob and bowed.
    Annette pointed behind Corey and yelled at her to duck.
    Corey bent her knees and lowered her head. A whoosh of air went over her. She scurried forward a few steps and turned around to see what had happened.
    A man wielding a baseball bat stood in the opening to the store with a look of determination in his eyes. “Looters, go home.”
    Before I litter yet another rewrite with filtering, does this seem like a good way to handle this?
    You don't need to keep positioning your characters. Your readers will fill in the missing pieces. I've taken some liberties here, but

    Corey bowed to the cheering mob. (they assume she turned to face them)
    "Duck,"Annette shouted. (they assume she sees something Corey doesn't)
    Corey dropped her head. Her hair rippled as the whoosh of air sailed over her. (still not a great sentence, but I'm using environment to show how close the blow came, without saying it directly, which is another way to orient your reader)

    She scurried forward, covering her head. (they assume its only a few steps)
    Behind, a man stood in the doorway, clutching a baseball bat. (they assume he was the one doing the swinging, and that she looked back to see him)
    "Looters- bee yee gone!"
    Last edited by ave; 01-10-2013 at 06:41 PM.

  13. #13
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guttersquid View Post
    Consider these two sentences (with my previous suggestion):

    Corey ducked. A whoosh of air went over her.

    Was Corey aware of the whoosh? We don't know. You didn't tell us.
    If it's Corey's POV (and it appears to be), then anything described is something she'd be aware of. The reader doesn't have to be told.

  14. #14
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MythMonger View Post


    Originally Posted by guttersquid
    Corey ducked and felt something whoosh over her head.
    That's actually how I had it written before my filter-filter kicked in. lol
    But it's entirely unnecessary filtering. It's obvious she felt the whoosh; otherwise it wouldn't be described.

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