Steps In Between

Celaine Charles ~ My journey as a writer and author ~ Click STEPS IN BETWEEN above for more Blog posts

Filter Flops in Writing

Filter Flops in Writing

When I curl up to read a good book, I don’t want the author putting a safety glass between me and the story. I want to be right there in the action. I want to feel the frustration, the sorrow, or the zeal of each character. I am referring to filters, of which I did not realize I, myself, unintentionally add to my writing.

Time to stop!

What is a filter? According to Scribophile, filtering in writing is defined as, “unnecessary words that separate the reader from the story’s action. They come between the reader’s experience and the character’s point of view.”

Here is an example:

Filtered: Felix jumped when he heard the wind gust outside the window. He watched the rain slap against the glass and wondered if the storm might hinder his ability to get to the airport on time. He looked at Jess and shook his head.

Unfiltered: Felix jumped at the wind slapping rain against the window. Would he ever get to the airport on time? “I can’t believe this storm.” He shook his head at Jess.

Now, this example might not be perfect, but the blatant filters are evident. I’ve learned in my research that they separate the reader from getting a closer view. They are tricky for me, because I like to think of myself as a storyteller, which is fine sometimes. But, when we want to move the reader along the story, it’s essential to bring them smack dab in the middle of the chaos, or romantic dinner, or hurried car ride to the airport. They can’t be stuck outside while the character is thinking or wondering.

So, I remind myself to unzip those bulky sweater-words…my new name for filter words (she thought, he felt, she wondered, he knew). Readers can handle being close. It’s what they want while enjoying a story, to be taken away into the world I’ve promised them. They don’t need extra layers.

Classic Filter Words:

noticed

knew

realized

wondered

believed

suspected

felt

decided

thought

seemed

And the list goes on…verbs that create a layer between the character and the reader cause too much space. Instead of having your characters wonder or feel or realize, have them simply DO IT! 😊

Happy Writing, my friends (because at least you’re writing),

Celaine Charles, September 13, 2020

Content and Image Credit:

https://www.canva.com/ (photo of woman and sweater)

https://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/blog/filter-words-in-fiction-purposeful-inclusion-and-dramatic-restriction (filtering article)

https://www.scribophile.com/academy/an-introduction-to-filtering#:~:text=In%20fiction%2C%20the%20concept%20of,the%20character’s%20point%20of%20view. (Scribophile)

Categories: Thoughts on writing...

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13 replies

  1. That’s useful. I’m always trying not to do that sort of thing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great reminder! I, too, wrestle this all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Overcoming wordiness was the greatest challenge I faced in writing Honey Ko. My editor nearly broke her neck shaking her head at all the filters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such fantastic advice. I started a story yesterday, so I’ll take a look and see where I have filtered so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for these tips. I am definitely guilty of all of these mistakes, so I’ll try to do better next time.

    Liked by 1 person

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