Filter Words


Many new authors make the mistake of including so-called “filter words” in their manuscripts. Indeed, even many of us who’ve written published books find that these little words have inadvertently made their way into our first drafts and need to be cut. Filter words such as realize, seem, feel, see, hear, decide, think, and wonder are unnecessary and distance the character from the reader. For example, you might have originally written:

I feel myself waking up, and I realize that it’s already late in the morning. I hear the sounds of people on the sidewalks and cars on the street. I think that I’ve wasted half a day and I wonder how I’m going to make myself start moving. I decide there’s no time but now.

Cut the filter words, and you will end up with something stronger:

My eyes open. It’s already late in the morning. The sounds of people on the sidewalks and cars on the street drift up to my window. I’ve wasted half a day already. How am I going to make myself start moving? No time but now.


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