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.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.