Monday, April 7, 2014

Blogging from A to Z - today's words are filter and Flicka

Welcome to week two of Blogging from A to Z. For the grammar/writing tips part of my post, I'm going to discuss filter words. Filter words distance the reader from the character.

Pauline saw the gray mare gallop around the pen and knew she was the one for her.

This is fine, if we are being introduced to Pauline and need her name. But if this sentence were in the middle of a chapter and we'd already followed Pauline to the horse rescue facility, we know it's her watching the mare. This is an easy fix: The gray mare galloped around the pen. Pauline gasped. This would be her horse.

Other examples:
She heard, she smelled, she felt, she looked, and even worse, she was watching, she could hear. All these examples force the reader to watch the mc from a distance, rather than experience the event with them.

Here's a writing tip that I'll suggest many times. If you think you might have missed fixing some of these filter words, do a search on heard, saw, felt, etc., and fix them all at once. That exercise will leave you hating those words to the point that in your new writing, you will notice and start automatically rearranging your sentences as you write.

I hooked my friend Pauline on endurance after she borrowed a half arab pinto gelding on his first 25 mile ride. She already had two horses, so visited a rescue to find a horse more suitable for the sport than the other two. She brought home a mare nicknamed Flicka. Pauline officially named her Ghazala (she played her own alphabet game for her pet's names and she already had an 'F'), but Flicka stuck.

Flicka wasn't trained, but that didn't take long to remedy and soon they were ready to compete. Although Flicka could move sideways with the best of arabs, she became a steady horse and completed one of the toughest 100 mile rides in the country. She's one of many fabulous horses we've met through rescue facilities.


  1. awesome post. i'm pretty sure i'm very guilty of this. well, except for felt. that's one i do make sure i don't use.

    posting this to hexbound!

  2. Glad I found you while blog hopping on the 7th day of the #Challenge looking for other writers. Your theme for the #AtoZ is fantastic. Helpful! I love the presentation of the blog, its clarity and focus. Thanks for sharing. If you have time or interest, I am writing about gardening and related topics this month. Come and visit.

    1. I'll try to find you - if you check back, put a link to your blog in your post in case I don't find you.

  3. This is a great post! This tip ought to help me out quite a bit in my writing. Thank you! Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie

  4. Oh, the dreaded filler.... >.O I thought I was pretty good at avoiding it, until my GF edited one of my shorts for an anthology.... Man! Those phrases really like to sneak in there! Great post. Flicka looks like a great mare.

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.