Everything that is seen is being seen through a character’s eyes. Filter your description through their emotion and thought. Do not tell us how it is. Tell us how it is to your character.
How to avoid flat, dull description.
Description should work on many layers. Watch;
The room was blue. (Flat, no emotion. Might work for an observant or apathetic character, however.)
The room was a bright, happy blue. (Now we have an emotion. The character is happy.)
The room was bright blue, so bright she could imagine birds flying across the walls. (Even more! The character is not only happy, but possibly feeling free, like the birds in the sky. Make them lovebirds and we might know why she is happy.)
It is sometimes hard to do this. What happens when the description you must have doesn’t seem to match the emotions you need? You make it match. The color blue is usually associated with happiness, calmness, or sadness, depending on the shade. Lets work with some other emotions, and with mixing up the shade:
The blue walls only made her angrier. She was not in the mood for the calming tone. (Here, I use one of the regular “blue emotions” to evoke a completely different emotion. This example is also multilayered: Not only is she angry, but she does not want to be calm right now. Her anger fuels her, or maybe it is something she believes she deserves. She wants her anger.)
The room was an icy blue. (This character might be afraid, or maybe this is foreshadowing that the character will meet a “cold” person in the room.)
The dark blue room looked as bright as the sky in her eyes. (Dark blue usually means sad, but the character sees it as bright, so they are probably happy. Note that there is some author intrusion here, we see the “dark” room through the author’s eyes first before seeing it through the character’s. This might be necessary sometimes, but emotion is still here.)
Try to do this in your writing. You really have to get into the character’s head to do it, but it will be worth it!
hey i dunno if anyone who follows me plays FE: Heroes but ! this is a… spreadsheet calculator type thing I made today in response to the Inherit Skill update! hopefully it helps people make choices about what units to spend on giving other units skills..! heres a list of features:
All? heroes up to the Sibling Bonds banner and Ursula
Lv. 40 5* base stats, with modifiers previewed in real time
Also previews damage bonuses from the Dragon Fang, Ignis and Glacies skill families, based on modified stats!
Base stat rankings compared to other units with the same…
Weapon and Movement Type
Just all units at the same time
All? weapons, with stat modifiers and descriptions, filtered based on hero selected
All special and support skills, similarly filtered
All passive skills, split into A B C categories and .. you get the idea
Preview of SP and unit cost to learn the selected skills, with an option to leave some out due to having already purchased them
i couldn’t have done it without the wealth of raw data out there online; on r/FireEmblemHeroes, the fe:heroes Gamepress page, and various other smaller sources…
This short song from Dynamite Headdy has to be the most ingenious thing I’ve ever heard done with FM, and I’ve never seen anyone explain why. So I will explain.
A high-pass filter is pretty self-descriptive: it allows higher frequencies to pass through, and filters out lower frequencies. This can give the impression of the music coming out of a tinny speaker. How Treasure’s sound team achieved this is pure trickery, but it required a pretty impressive understanding of audio for them to figure out how.
A number of different techniques are used to fool your ear into thinking that frequencies have been filtered out that were never there in the first place. The siren, shimmery sound, hats and clap are all louder than the lead and bass instruments, much louder than they would be in a normal song, suggesting that the mix would be more balanced if the mid and bass frequencies in the lead and bass instruments had not been filtered out. The lead and bass instruments (and the clap) play a series of mostly very truncated notes, suggesting that the sustain of those sounds would be present, but only the attack is of high enough frequency to have “survived”.
As for the patches themselves, the most amazing thing is that the only patch that is in any way out of the ordinary is the bass. FM synths have a parameter that allows the user to adjust the frequency ratio of the carrier to its modulator,
somewhat analogous to coarse tuning of oscillators in subtractive synthesis. At lower ratios, this can produce effects like doubling the note at a higher octave or interval, which can make the patch sound bigger or assist in playing chords using fewer notes. Higher ratios produce thin, unpleasant harmonics of the note being played. Under most circumstances, this is minimally useful in designing sounds. However, Treasure cranked up the frequency ratio on both carrier operators so that there are only the harmonics of the note, the harmonics you would be hearing if you filtered out most of the lower frequencies. In other words, they managed to create a high-passed bass patch by turning two knobs slightly to the right. It’s really very simple, but it’s incredible that they thought to do that. I have recreated the bass pattern above, first with the original patch, and second with the frequency ratios turned down to what they would “normally” be. Under the surface, the patch is just an unremarkable sort of FM brass.
Treasure’s music is not always as flashy as some of the other artists and companies who are frequently cited as being masters of FM, but they clearly knew exactly what they were doing.
Ne/Extroverted Intuition is Objective, meaning it makes abstract associations in the outer world and interprets external possibilities. Their perception is constantly looking for new possibilities and searching for objects of the unknown; they dislike an environment that never changes, and abandon their interests when there is no longer anything new to explore. Jung noted that Extroverted Intuitives may seem similar to Extroverted Sensors, because both these functions are orientated towards the objective reality. Based from observation he described that the Ne-types he interacted with often spoke of what appeared to be sense-perceptions, when he asked about their opinion on their own orientation of their cognition. Ne types are guided by these sensations, not because of they are interested in exploring the sensory environment as it actually is, to reach fulfillment (Se) but to try to encompass possibilities.
Jung’s quote about Ne:
“Where intuition has the priority, every ordinary situation in life seems like a closed room, which intuition has to open”.
Ni/Introverted Intuition has an subjective impression from the external world, which moves away from the external object itself and begins to realize it’s own interpretation and what ideas this has released in the mind of the Introverted Intuitive; the focus of inner possibilities. From all the functions, Ni is the most related to the unconscious perception, based from Jung’s definition, hence the “hunches” and sudden realizations discussed in MBTI descriptions. It filters the external perception of the object, just as all the introverted functions do, which makes them subjective (based on the interpretation of the individual rather than extending it’s knowledge into the external environment, which is what all the extroverted functions do. Ni is abstract impressions and the underlying symbolism taken from a physical object (Se).
As my fictional example of each intuitive function, Ne types remind me of SaulGoodman from Breaking Bad - he was constantly seeing new ideas to escape the consequences of the situation, thinking of wacky ideas such as Lazor Tag.
He perceives a vision of Tai Lung’s return for vengeance. When Po reaches the stadium he claims he “senses the dragon warrior is in our presence”, and thus decided it was time for the selection of the champion destined to be the dragon warrior. He is highly perceptive (Irrational), believing “there are no accidents” and other perspectives not influenced by reason (/rationality). When he “senses” his time has come, he leaves Shifu and ascends. Ni in Socionics is described as a strong sense of time, and thus is also known as “Temporal Intuition”. This is why introverted intuitives are often associated with the capability of predicting upcoming events.
In summary: Ni is associations leading away from the objective, Ne is associations and possibilities orientated towards objective reality. Both are removed from tangible (sensory) perception when in the dominant/auxiliary perspective.
Recently I’ve seen a post going around talking about “filter words” and how taking all of them out of your writing greatly improves it. Do you think that’s necessarily good advice?
Yes, getting rid of filter words is excellent advice!
Filter words are a bad idea because they put unnecessary distance between the reader and something that happens. Specifically, they take something a character is experiencing and filters it back through their experience.
Here’s a visual representation…
Filter words break the description apart so that it loses impact. “The ball hit Joe in the head” is much more direct than, “Joe felt the ball hit him in the head.” If we’re reading about Joe and a ball hits him in the head, we already assume he felt it.
Filtered: Tabitha noticed it had stopped raining, so she opened the windows.
Unfiltered: It had stopped raining, so Tabitha opened the windows.
Filtered: Sarah saw that the table was piled high with food, and she smiled big.
Unfiltered: The table was piled high with food, and Sarah smiled big.
Filtered: Royce heard the front door open and knew they were home.
Unfiltered: The front door opened and Royce knew they were home.
If a character’s stomach clenches, say, “His stomach clenched,” not, “He felt his stomach clench.” When something happens, try taking the character out of the action. Instead of, “Becky heard music pouring out of the bar as she opened the door to go inside,” say, “Music poured out of the bar as Becky opened the door to go inside.” We don’t need to be told that Becky hears the music that is pouring out of the bar as she goes inside. We can assume that she does because we’re being told about it.
Filter words to watch out for…
Becky saw the bird land on the birdbath. Becky heard the birds chirping as she sat on the bench. Becky thought it was getting cold outside. Becky wondered what time it was and looked at her watch. Becky realized she was almost late to pick up her boyfriend. Becky watched the snow beginning to fall. Becky looked cold as she huddled into her coat. Becky seemed to forget she needed to leave soon. Becky decided she’d better get going if she wanted to get there in time. Becky sounded like she was worried when she called her boyfriend.
Birds chirped all around, and one landed on the bird bath as Becky sat on the bench. The light was fading, and it was getting cold. She would be late to pick up her boyfriend, but still she stayed and watched the newly falling snow. Becky huddled into her coat, lost in this growing winter scene. She had to get going if she wanted to get there in time. The worry was thick in her voice when she called Brad to tell him she was on her way.
Much better without the filter words, right?
Now, bear in mind that this does not mean you can never use those words. Obviously there’s a time and a place for them. Just make sure you’re not using them to unnecessarily filter your character’s experience. :)
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