To eliminate exposition in story, ‘film it’

When editing a draft of your novel or short story, one self-test you might use is to “film it,” a term coined by CSFW’s Steve Popkes. To do this, as reading the manuscript imagine that it is a movie or screenplay being played out in front of you.

When you come across parts of the story that you wouldn’t see in a movie, you probably have run into exposition. That’s because movies are all about constantly moving a story forward to keep the audience interested. Exposition would bring the film to a halt, leaving you with just a screen shot. After a few seconds, the audience would get bored. Likewise, you don’t want your story to suddenly freeze on a single frame.

When you come to a freeze frame in your story, give serious consideration to revising it.