Filter words and the Chinese bamboo

WHEN is spring coming?! I’m probably not the only one going crazy waiting for winter to fade away. My writing company for the day are the lovely flowers in the pictures below; winter outside, spring inside. That’ll suffice for now.

Since English isn’t my first language, I occasionally get stuck on things Google can’t help me wrap my head around. This happened the other day, so I turned to one of the writers groups on Facebook (thank heavens they exist) with the following question;

Help!

“His words sound electric”

or

“His words sound electrical”?

Oh, how I love when you get answers you didn’t know you were looking for. Everyone advised me to go with electric, but one particular soul was kind enough to enlighten me that the word “sound” is what’s called a “filter word”, and she recommended me to get rid of it.

Hm, a “filter word”? I had never heard of it. So I turned my attention back to Google to fill the knowledge gap. After bumping in and out of some websites I’d gotten the message clear:

A filter word is a word which distances the reader from the experience. By using a filter word, you make the reader a passive viewer of what the character’s feeling, and weaken the reader’s engagement with the text.

“Shit! This needs out!” That was my first thought. My second thought was; “Which words are filter words?” Let me enlighten you the way I was (even though I reckon many of you fellow writers already know this by heart):

  • can
  • to see
  • to hear
  • to think
  • to touch
  • to wonder
  • to realize
  • to watch
  • to look
  • to seem
  • to feel (or feel like)
  • to decide
  • to sound (or sound like)
  • to notice
  • to be able to
  • to note
  • to experience
  • to remember

With a surrendering, nervous laugh (wish I could insert a GIF right here), I came to the realization that my revision phase just got extended at least another four to six weeks. I’ll have to do a whole round only focusing on replacing filter words, strengthening the text. To my grateful relief, I’ve been doing this unconsciously up till now as well, but there sure are more work to be done.

Do you know of more filter words? Let me know in the comments here or on Instagram.

But hey, we learn as long as we live and at the end of the day, it’ll be all worth it! Keep getting at it, whatever you’re struggling with right now. Think of yourself as a Chinese Bamboo Tree (Google it and read about how it grows) – one day you’ll shoot your sprouts towards the sky and nothing’ll stop you.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

march snow

pink tulips

pink tulips laptop

march candle

spring workplace

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