Filters

When I say “filter,” I mean phrases like “she watched,” “he listened,” that put the story in a character’s perspective. But, if you’ve established a main character, these phrases become unnecessary, because everything in the book is through their POV.

Example:

Sally listened as her father told her about his days on the sea. She watched him speak with his hands, mimicking waves and sails. She remembered the time he had taken her on his ship; she’d been small.

Her father told her about his days at sea. He spoke with his hands, mimicking waves and sails. He’d taken her aboard his ship once; she’d been small.

Do you see the difference? The second option is cleaner. If Sally has already been established as the main character, then this scene is already through her POV. The reader doesn’t need to be reminded every so often.

In middle grade and YA this isn’t always the case. The rules are a bit different. But, for the sake of clean writing, watch your filters. Unless they are needed for clarity, which sometimes they are, but most times they’re not.

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