Write Better Books – Storytelling: Filtered or Unfiltered?

Now, here is some very useful and solid advice, take note.

Dan Alatorre

dan your humble host

You get a note from a critique partner or editor friend that says, “Cut this filter.”

And you are like, Huh? What?

What’s a filter?

Filters are stuff you write that takes us out of the Main Character’s head for a nanosecond. Usually they aren’t needed. You don’t say to yourself, “I notice it’s raining.” It just rains.


When I came out of the store, I noticed it was raining.


When I came out of the store, the rain was coming down in sheets.

“I noticed” is the filter. We – the readers – are “I.” We notice whatever the MC notices, feels what she feels, etc. Saying I noticed in a story is like narrating to yourself in real life. Vagrants on New York City street corners do that, not your character.

I saw

I felt

I noticed

Your story is more reader-centric and…

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2 thoughts on “Write Better Books – Storytelling: Filtered or Unfiltered?

  1. Unless an observation is germaine to the immediate aspect of the story it should be deleted, that simple. As a speed reader I learned long ago to recognize what i call “padding” and skip it. Many novels cold lose a hundred or more pages and nothing of the meaningful content. Many have so much foofarah that I toss them. I want punch in my reading, power, harsh reality, meaningful philosophy. I don’t want English country gardens and afternoon teas unless upheld by smart dialogue and the promise of very soon action to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tough call. Sometimes a book can appeal because the reader becomes entranced by the eloquence of the writer; but that’s only where you have a truly lyrical author.
      Years ago I gave up on a supposed adventure book set in medieval Russia because every other chapter we have a description of the guy’s evening meal!
      And there was John Grisham’s The Broker where we learn much about Italian culture, which would have been fine and of interest if it had been a travel book and not an apparent thriller (I was glad I encountered it on an audio book, playing when I was doing chores and not actually sitting down and reading the durn thing).


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