Topic: Filter Verbs
Over the years, I have received a number of critiques that bothered me, mainly because I didn't understand what the critic was trying to convey. Someone once told me the writing was clunky. Another simply said it didn't read well. I'm embarrassed to say it took me months of reading and re-reading my favorite books to discover what the critics really meant.
In my search to pinpoint mistakes in my writing and how to go about repairing the damage, I stumbled across Filter Verbs. What in the world are Filter Verbs?
Filter Verbs are the main culprit that drags your writing. If anyone ever tells you that you've used too many words to convey your message, I can guarantee that your writing is consumed by these pesky critters. Filter verbs create a need to use more words than necessary to make your point. As writers, we need to always strive to pare down our words, to make our sentences as concise as possible. That is a hard task for me because I'm a longwinded-sentence-writer. What does that mean? I love to create long sentences.
Look at these examples, and notice the repetitive words.
BAD EXAMPLE -- Sarah felt a sinking feeling as she realized she'd forgotten her purse at the cafe.
BETTER EXAMPLE -- Queasiness settled in Sarah's stomach when she discovered she'd left her purse at the cafe.
Slightly longer, but no repetitive verbs. And though not perfect in structure, you get to experience "with" Sarah what it feels like to discover her purse missing.
Listed below are common Filter Verbs we should strive to avoid.
see; realize; can; hear; watch; decide; think; look; sound; touch; seem; wonder; feel; like.
Please don't think for one minute that you can't ever use these words. The rule exist because writers have a tendency to overuse them. So aim to minimize their usage.