Shaelin Writes is an awesome Youtube channel dedicated to helping writers through tips, tricks, and life experiences of a young writer, Shaelin. Don’t let her age throw you off – she’s 20, but she’s written 8 novels! This author has some wonderful insight into the struggles and triumphs of the life of a writer, and she is gracious enough to share her wisdom with us.
This video is one of the best and easiest hacks to instantly improve writing to create stronger and tighter prose. I’ll definitely be adding this to my editing process! Basically, the idea of “filter words” is to keep a list of words in the back of your head, (or if you’re anything like me, you’ll need them typed up and hanging on the bulletin board), and eliminate them from your writing. There are some words that the reader doesn’t need – the context tells them enough. If you’re writing in first person, the reader never needs to read, “I saw…” the reader knows the narrator saw whatever it was, by the sheer fact that they are describing it.
Shaelin uses this piece of writing as an example. Before filters, “Lily saw a blue pickup truck rumble down the street. She smelled the acrid exhaust. She heard rain patter against the concrete and felt it bead up on her face. She realized the street was starting to flood.” See how it is instantly improved by taking out the filter words!