Editor Pet Peeves: Take off that Filter!

As the Assistant Editor for Hinnom Magazine, a bi-monthly publication of excellent weird/dark fiction, I get the pleasure of reading a lot of short stories.

And I do mean A LOT.

One of the benefits of so much reading is learning to spot the little things that hold a story back. Things that, if corrected, can take a story to the next level. And they often really are the little things — just enough clutter to send an otherwise great story to the rejection heap. I want to share a few of these little things in this series, ways you can polish your story and get it over the acceptance finish line. With this first post, I’m going to focus on one of my biggest pet peeves: Filtering.

Does your character feel the sun on her skin? Does she hear the wind ruffle the curtains? Does she see the fire smoking on the horizon? Does she touch and think and look and realize with every sentence?

If so, it’s a big mistake. Let me explain why. A reader wants to connect with a character. They want that magical moment where they forget they are reading and instead start experiencing. When this happens, the reader is literally seeing through the eyes of the character, hearing with their ears and tasting with their tongues. Every time an author insists on reminding a reader that this is happening (with dreaded filtering), it’s like a huge flashing red light screaming: “HEY, YOU! YEAH YOU! DON’T FORGET YOU ARE READING THIS!”

Read the full post on Medium


Caleb Stephens