Guest Blogger: Jen on Filters

Hey everyone! Linnea here, though only for a second. As of yesterday, my right hand has been incapacitated due to surgery on the wrist. Because of this, typing is very difficult and takes up a little too much time. So I’ve set up a few guest bloggers while my hand heals. First up we have Jen, someone I met on critiquecircle. She’s here to talk about filters in writing.


Well, I’m pretty much just starting out seriously writing and editing myself, and I stumbled across these evil little things called called ‘filters’. Basically, they’re words that, while not always bad, distance the reader from the story. For a while now, a lot of critters on my current WIP, Rebel, people have been telling me they felt distanced. And all I did was scratch my head like a monkey and thought ‘How do I fix that?’
Finally, one amazing person hit on a way to decrease the gap between the story and the POV character. Remove the filtering words.
Basically, filtering is a phrase or word that shows the world as it is filtered through the MC’s eyes. For example:
She watched the sun rise over the barn.
The sun rose over the barn.
Here, ‘watched’ is the filter word.
Another example:
They heard a loud crash in the corridor.
A loud crash echoed in the corridor.
Here, ‘heard’ is the filter.
One more:
She realized they’d have to jump.
They’d have to jump.
Here, ‘realized’ is the filter.
Did I explain alright?
Here’s a list I found on google of common filtering words. My biggest problem words are realized, felt, saw and heard.
  • to see
  • to hear
  • to think
  • to touch
  • to wonder
  • to realize
  • to watch
  • to look
  • to seem
  • to feel (or feel like)
  • can
  • to decide
  • to sound (or sound like)
  • to notice
  • to be able to
  • to note
  • to experience

What are yours?

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