Tuesday, November 20, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

A conundrum for you:

Filter words. These are the words like "feeling" "seeing" "listening" which we're told distance the reader from being deep inside the point of view character's experience. They should be cut or rewritten. For example:

Filtered I heard the dog running through the dry grass and turned.
Good My ears pricked eagerly at the sound of the dog running through the dry grass, and I turned.
Better The joyous whisk of the dog's paws through the dry grass turned me.

Filtered I saw the monster coming.
Good My breath quickened at the sight of the approaching monster.
Better The monster! My heart leaped into my throat.

But here's the thing. When I describe what I'm doing, that's all physical. It's the exact words like feeling, seeing, and listening which take me inside my own head. Which to me seems contrary to the point of being paradoxical. Or maybe I'm not seeing it correctly.

Can anybody (hi, Helen :) ) help me out?

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mia! Where do you come down on filter words? I've started to put some of the internal thought- and realization-type words back into mine.