Filter words are extraneous words that separate readers from a character’s perspective. They are typically explanatory words that take the reader out of the action by explaining a character’s thoughts or behaviour. Filter words appear in third- and first-person narratives, and they take away the power and immediacy that first-person narration gives an author.

If you’re trying your hand at first-person writing, you’ll find that when you trim the filter words down to the bare minimum, your writing gains more energy and urgency. While using a few filter words here and there won’t ruin the rest of your work, moving towards more economical prose and dynamic first-person narration will enhance your writing.

For example, instead of writing, I heard the baby cry, you can write the baby cried. Some useful tips to help you avoid word filters in your writing are listed below:

  • Remove Filter Words From Your Initial Draft

Any project’s first draft can be written with the freedom to include filter terms. This is because you will simply stifle your originality if you try to cut them out before they even appear on the first page. So, just write. Filter words can be addressed later in the editing process.

In addition, practice makes perfect, as is true for many skills. The next time you write, you’ll have fewer filter words because you’ll have spent more time refining your sentences to eliminate filter terms.

  • Your Sentences Should Be Brief

Avoid using superfluous words that don’t change the argument your character is making. Filter words are frequently redundant and unneeded justifications for the thoughts and deeds of your character. Therefore, trust your reader to understand your write-up without these extra words.

  • Put Yourself in the Character’s Role

Readers can access a character’s thoughts and experience their point of view thanks to the first-person narrative. Try to limit the time you spend narrating your character in the first person to what is necessary for exposition and backstory. You’d be astonished at how much a reader can infer about you without you stating it loudly.

However, there are times when using filter words is acceptable and even required. One instance is when the central idea of the sentence is the character’s perspective, experience, or response. In addition, utilising filter words can occasionally give your writing more flow and break up repetitive sentence structures. Nevertheless, it is important to use them sparingly. For more insightful tips to scale your writing craft, visit

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