Filter Words

It’s amazing how much better a piece of writing can be without these little words called filter words.  Take them out, change them a bit, and instantly you have a tighter piece that puts the reader directly in your character’s shoes. 


Here’s a list to get you started.  And a little trick- use the F5 key to search for them in your writing.

sounds like

With filter words:

It seemed to be getting colder each time I stepped outside.  I looked up and saw beautiful, white snowflakes falling from the sky and the only sound I heard was the crunch of the ground.  I felt a chill in the air and then a shiver.  I touched my scarf and wrapped it tighter.  It was then that I realized, there are some things we can always count on.


Bye, bye filter words:

Each time I stepped outside it was a little bit colder.  Beautiful, white snowflakes fell from the sky as the frozen ground crunched beneath my feet. A chill shot through me, making me shiver from head to toe.  I wrapped my scarf tighter.  Yes, there are some things we can always count on.

A few helpful links . . .

Filter Words and Distancing POV

Mental Signposts that Tell, Not Show

Are These Filter Words Weakening Your Fiction?


  1. Thanks for the info! I'll be curious to use this on what I've done so far to see how much editing it will need. :)

  2. So funny that you have posted this because I just finished reading something similar in a grammar book. It listed all of the words that we don't need and that just add baggage to our story. I didn't know the F2 thingy - thanks for the tip!

  3. @jottergirl There are some great classes on too. I took one on Show/Tell that talked about this, but didn't notice I had done it so much in my own writing until recently!

    It's the F5-thingy. :)

  4. I definitely do this...I call it word swap. An author friend of mine says she tries to weed out "fat" words and replace them with "skinny" words.

    Other words I really try to replace are taste, happy, sad, any animal that isn't a specific breed, big, small, and go/went.

    Nice post!


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