I've noticed a repeating conundrum I have whenever I try to write about a sound occurring when the reader doesn't know who or what is making the sound (in other words, a missing subject). I've tried to compensate by making the sound the subject, but it doesn't quite work. For example: I want the focus on the footsteps, but we don't know if it's a man or woman at first. Yet technically a footstep can't "sound". How else do I write this? Another example: Technically a voice can't "say" anything. A person speaks, not a voice. But how else do I denote this if we don't know who is speaking? I could eliminate the dialogue tag, but that might confuse the reader into thinking it was the main character who said it. I could say: But I've seen that referred to "filtering" (showing versus telling). Instead of "he saw/heard", etc., you jump straight to what occurred. Instead of "he saw a bird fly by", you write, "a bird flew by". Instead of "he heard a horn as the bus sped past", "the bus driver blared the horn as he drove past". But without a subject otherwise, is this an exception? ------------------- EDIT: The last example you could just say "someone said from behind him". That works fine. Don't know why I didn't think of that upfront.