This is the same anon who asked about filter words and thank you for explaining how useful they are. I’ve noticed them in my recent writings and am working to fix that but I’m curious now. Is there ever a good time or reason to use filter words? I’ve read books in different genres that use filter words and they didn’t really catch my eye until now.
As I said in my post, the words themselves aren’t filter words, it’s how they’re used. So it’s not that you can never use words like “felt,” “noticed,” “saw,” etc. It’s just that you should generally avoid using them to filter a character’s observation or experience. “Sarah said she felt great all day,” is obviously a fine use of the word “felt.” There, “felt” is not a filter word, because it’s not filtering Sarah’s observation or experience. It is merely a past tense verb meaning “to be aware of physical status or sensation.”
Also, as I think someone pointed out in the comments, there are times when it’s okay to use filter words because you want the filter of that person’s experience for whatever reason. For example, if you have a character who is suddenly naked, you might want to highlight the fact that they “felt” the cold wind blowing on their naked skin.
So, the point with filter words is to just pay attention to them. If you find a situation where you’ve got one, ask yourself whether it’s purposeful, as the above example. Or, whether it’s just unnecessarily filtering the description through the character’s experience.
“I looked outside and noticed that snow was falling.” Is that really necessary? No, because, “I looked outside at the falling snow,” accomplishes the same thing in a way that is cleaner and more direct. :)
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I’ve always traveled with a picture of my daughter, her kindergarten school picture, that has ‘I love you, Daddy’ written on it. She’s always made fun of me because I never changed that picture out. It’s like my resistance to her getting older. It was the first thing she’d ever written to me and it means the world to me.