NEVER USE FILTER PHRASES

Ok, I’ve written a short story or two and done a few courses on the art of writing. Throughout the courses, I got smacked across the face and told that I had to “show, don’t tell.” An example being:

Telling: He sat at the dining room table about to open his Macbook to write a blog post.

Showing: His eyes were closed, and he’s cradling the Macbook in his arms like a lover. It’s as if he’s striving to hold on to something that wants to let go and travel to places he’d never been.

The second sentence takes the fundamental information of the first and outlines a picture for the reader. It also uses descriptive language so an internal image can be made of the moment containing feelings and desires.

When using description, it’s essential not to overdo it. Otherwise, you can end up with what is called “Police report” information. For example:

“She was tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. She wore a red blouse and jeans that had large holes in the knees and wore a brown leather jacket.”

Having achieved this state in my writing, I’ve been hit with another blow, and that is to “stop filtering.” a good explanation can be found in an article by Chuck Palahniuk. As I use the App Marked 2, and I’m filling the ‘find alternative‘ words list a few A4 sheets longer.

Filter phrases are phrases that include words like thought, knew, remembered, realised, smelled, saw, wondered, felt, and the list goes on. They are words that distance the reader from the story. They are, actually, filtering the events through writer-speak. They’re a kind of telling and a particular sign for you, the writer, that you could make that sentence even stronger and hit harder with images and emotions.

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