Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday Writing Tip: Examine Your Filter Words

filter words, show don't tell, telling
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.

This week, eliminate or revise any filter words that aren’t working

Filter words are words that put an extra layer between the POV character and the reader, such as thought, knew, realized, felt, smelled, heard, etc. They’re a form of telling, and can distance readers from the story. The narrative distance determines how told a filter word feels. A close narrative distance, such as first person, feels very told if a lot of filter words are used, where an distant omniscient narrator isn’t as affected by them, because the entire story is filtered through an outside narrator.

For more on filter words and narrative distance in your novel, try these articles:

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