Filters-What They Are, How To Avoid Them

Written by Jennifer Turner


By Jennifer Turner

Filters arerepparttar extraneous words we use when attributing a thought or action to a character. Here are a list of a few ofrepparttar 129304 most common used:

He/She felt He/She heard He/She saw He/She smelled He/She tasted

and others, like:

He/She thought He/She believed He/She wondered

The latter three (and others like them) are really not as "bad" asrepparttar 129305 above 'sensory' list. As with any general writing 'rule' there are instances when a filter is actually needed, or works better than without it--such as there are sentences whererepparttar 129306 word "was" works better than any other word, although we're taught to avoid usingrepparttar 129307 passive form of that word.

The reason filters are considered unnecessary or bad forrepparttar 129308 story, is because it keepsrepparttar 129309 writer from reaching a depth of character they might otherwise obtain. It can also jerkrepparttar 129310 reader out ofrepparttar 129311 story and remind them they are reading, rather an experiencingrepparttar 129312 tale. For instance:

"She felt embarrassed by his lewd comments."

Could be written stronger, and giverepparttar 129313 character more depth if, you show this, rather than tell it: "She recoiled and averted her face, embarrassed by his lewd comments."

Dialogue Tags-A Study in Common Errors

Written by Jennifer Turner


A study in Common Errors and Their Quick Fixes.

Verb and Subject


"I bet you two had a fine time," said Ben.

When using tags, it's unusual to haverepparttar verb beforerepparttar 129302 subject. The general rule of thumb is to use this construction sparingly, as a rare change in pace or flow. In addition, many editors are asking this construction not appear at all in a manuscript.


"I bet you two had a fine time," Ben said.

The Comma and As


"Do you kiss toads often? Or are you just a little weird?" Betty asked, wrinkling her nose in distaste.

"I often findrepparttar 129303 little green guys cute. You should try it sometime," Bertha said as she giggled.

In both instances,repparttar 129304 comma after asked, andrepparttar 129305 ‘as' after said, indicaterepparttar 129306 dialogue tag isn't necessary. Each is greatly improved by removingrepparttar 129307 tag and allowingrepparttar 129308 following sentence to stand on its own.


"Do you kiss toads often? Or are you just a little weird?" Betty wrinkled her nose in distaste.

"I often findrepparttar 129309 little green guys cute. You should try it sometime." Bertha giggled.

Unnecessary Tags


Mary scoffed atrepparttar 129310 idea. "I don't think you want me at your party," she replied.

Since we are firmly in Mary's head atrepparttar 129311 point of her dialogue, it can be assumed it is her reply. If you use a tag like this, ask yourself if it's really necessary. Is it obvious this is her reply? Then you don't need it. New writer's struggle withrepparttar 129312 idea that every bit of dialogue needs to be accredited to a character, otherwiserepparttar 129313 reader will be confused. The idea is to write so well from one character's perspective, thatrepparttar 129314 reader will immediately tell who's dialogue it is.


Mary scoffed atrepparttar 129315 idea. "I don't think you want me at your party."

Over Explainingrepparttar 129316 Tag


"I don't care if you kiss allrepparttar 129317 frogs inrepparttar 129318 world, you aren't bringing that toad to my party," Shelly warned, her voice rising.

Ask yourself these questions when you find yourself hunting for words to explainrepparttar 129319 dialogue inrepparttar 129320 tag:

Is Shelly's dialogue showing her warning?

Is it clear from what Shelly says that her voice is rising?

What am I trying to show Shelly feeling with this tag?

You won't need to ask yourself these questions as you discover your own style more, but inrepparttar 129321 meantime, it's a good idea to look through your tags to see if any of them could be replaced, or simply deleted. Her outrage could have been shown much better by this sentence:

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