Upon recently completing my first round of edits on HOUR OF MISCHIEF I feel compelled to blog about some of my writing weaknesses. It helps to know your writing weaknesses for future books. Then you can head them off at the pass. Today I'm going to talk about one weakness of mine in particular: filtering.
Don't know what that is? Well, filtering is a common problem, especially for people writing in first person. Take this normal sentence, "The dog ran." Simple and easy. Filtering adds a few unnecessary words to that. "I saw the dog run."
I think a lot of writers include filtering because it seems more intimate to their point of view character. It connects the character to the action. But we're already IN the character's head. We know they are the one seeing it. So it just adds extra bulk to the sentence that isn't needed. Cutting out the filtering actually brings us closer to the character because we aren't constantly reminded that they are the one telling the story.
How do you check for filtering in your manuscripts? I recommend using the lovely 'find' button in word and typing in various filtering phrases, including: I saw, I heard, I thought, I wondered, I believed etc. Chances are, you can cut most of these phrases out and it will leave you with an overall tighter manuscript.
I'll talk more about my writing weaknesses in future posts. In the mean time, what are some of the traps you fall into? Do you overuse certain words or indulge in passive voice? Let me know in the comments!