Hi there! I would love to! I think I’ll start out with an example with filter words and then cut out the filter words to show you the difference.
For those of you who haven’t seen my post on Filter Words.
Now, for the example:
I felt a hand tap my shoulder as I realized I had made a huge mistake. I knew the consequences would be unsettling, but I had no other choice. I saw the light of my desk lamp bounce off of the officer’s badge before I had even turned around. It seemed like I always found my way into trouble.
It was the first thing off the top of my head, so it’s a bit rough sounding….
Now for without filter words (And a bit of revision):
A hand tapped my shoulder as it dawned on me: I had just made a huge mistake. The consequences would be unsettling if I didn’t get out of this mess, but I had no other choice. The light of my desk lamp bounced off of the officer’s badge. I always found my way into trouble.
By taking out filter words, you get right to the point.
I’d also like to add a few more notes that I didn’t have the chance to post previously.
Some Examples of Filtering:
- I heard a noise in the hallway.
- She felt embarrassed when she tripped.
- I saw a light bouncing through the trees.
- I tasted the sour tang of raspberries bursting on my tongue.
- He smelled his teammate’s BO wafting through the locker room.
- She remembered dancing at his wedding.
- I think people should be kinder to one another.
How can you apply this?
Read your work to see how many of these filtering words you might be leaning on. Microsoft Word has a great Find and Highlight feature that I love to use when I’m editing. See how you can get rid of these filtering words and take your sentences to the next level by making stronger word choices. Take the above examples, and see how they can be reworked.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: I heard a noise in the hallway.
- DESCRIBE THE SOUND: Heels tapped a staccato rhythm in the hallway.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: She felt embarrassed after she tripped.
- DESCRIBE WHAT THE FEELING LOOKS LIKE: Her cheeks flushed and her shoulders hunched after she tripped.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: I saw a light bouncing through the trees.
- DESCRIBE THE SIGHT: A light bounced through the trees.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: I tasted the sour tang of raspberries bursting on my tongue.
- DESCRIBE THE TASTE: The sour tang of raspberries burst on my tongue.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: He smelled his teammate’s BO wafting through the locker room.
- DESCRIBE THE SMELL: His teammate’s BO wafted through the locker room.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: She remembered dancing at his wedding.
- DESCRIBE THE MEMORY: She had danced at his wedding.
- FILTERING EXAMPLE: I think people should be kinder to one another.
- DESCRIBE THE THOUGHT: People should be kinder to one another.
See what a difference it makes when you get rid of the filter? It’s simply not necessary to use them. By ditching them, you avoid “telling,” your voice is more active, and your pacing is helped along.
The above list is not comprehensive as there are many examples of filtering words. The idea is to be aware of the concept so that you can recognize instances of it happening in your work. Be aware of where you want to place the energy and power in your sentences. Let your observations flow through your characters with immediacy.
Ok, sorry for the lengthy answer, I know you just wanted an example…. sorry!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask at my ask box
THIS IS SO GREAT. I dind’t even know there was a term for this (I should have figured, right, because writers have words for everything), but it’s one of those things that being aware when you’re doing it (and editing it right the fuck out) will improve your writing SO MUCH. Removing the filtering helps to draw your readers more intimately into the action of your story, and as the text above says, adds power and immediacy to every sentence. THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT TIP I WANT TO SCREAM ABOUT IT.