Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Common Problems (Part 9 of 50)

Don't filter #2. To avoid filtering, we need to be aware of staying within the selected POV. When you are in the POV of one person, readers see/hear/sense only what that POV person does.

When you tell us what s/he saw (or heard or any of the other senses), you pull us outside his/her POV. Don't tell us you felt. Show it from inside.

Here are five examples to illustrate flitering. Each becomes a stronger sentence if we omit noticed, watched, feel, heard, and knew.)

1. Helen noticed he laid his strong hand on Eva's shoulder as he spoke. (He laid his strong hand on Eva's shoulder as he spoke. Helen is our POV person, so anything that happens in the scene comes through her senses.)

2. He watched her cautiously step back. (She cautiously stepped back.)

3. I could feel my surfboard begin to slip. (My surfboard began to slip.)

4. She heard the door swing open. (The door swung open.)

5. Dorion knew precious seconds were ticking away. (Precious seconds ticked away.)

Serious writers seek to become excellent writers.
They remain diligent to avoid filtering.


  1. Ah, now it's clicking. Thank you for your patience with me. I think I get it now.

  2. Thanks for the posts about filtering. I just did a search through my manuscript for "heard," "realized," "knew," and "saw." The filter words aren't totally gone (some appeared in dialogue), but most are, and the sentences are definitely stronger for their absence. So appreciate your posting on this topic.


What are your thoughts?