I have a lot of filtering in my writing:

I decided to start my journey at the library. Why? Well, I figured it'd have more reliable information than the Internet...

Once I reached there, though, I realized it wasn't the case.

What are some techniques to remove filtering?


I tried this:

The library was the best place to start my research. Why? Well, It had more reliable information than the Internet...

However, it didn't turn out to be the case:

Not sure if I improved or worsened the passage, though.

3 Answers 3


It largely depends on the context and style of the story you're telling. With the filtering the character would feel less confident, and potentially more inclined to be realistic when the character makes mistakes. The edited version has more confidence and is a stronger sentence.

It could be a reflection of your lack of confidence. A solution might be to write your first draft, allowing whatever filtering makes the writing work for you. Then when you have got a feel for who the character is, go back and make their language sound like them. If the character is someone who would filter a lot, then use it. if not, filter it out!

Get the story written, and then decide the tone and style. You're aware enough of the filtering you are applying to the story to start naturally reducing it, so for the time being, don't worry about it too much and just enjoy the writing.

  • Interesting. I didn't think of that. I wonder, though, why filtering makes the narrator sound less confident?
    – wyc
    Jul 16, 2015 at 10:58
  • @AlexandroChen It is because of the added justification you are giving, it is 'I am doing this because I decided' compared to 'I am doing this' in both cases the character decided to do the thing, in the first he isn't confident enough to just say he's doing it, so needs to add the reasoning behind it. - I sometimes find it useful to think of an actor who would use a line. Its difficult to imagine Arnie saying '...I decided...' whereas it would fit Hugh Grant's characters much better
    – Michael B
    Jul 16, 2015 at 12:34

Why lay the blame on the narrator? Why not lay the blame on the library?

"Why does the library have a reputation for being the place to coinduct proper researn? Instead of stayiong home, I decided to waste my time and visit the library, and what good did it do?"

btw, i found your second sentence more troubling: "Once I reached there, though, I realized it wasn't the case" If you're writing dialog, even internal dialog, it's permissable to be a little less formal, so you could have used "Once I got there" or even "Once there..."


I do the same thing when I write. Your second passage does sound better. It puts the reader deeper inside the character's mind -- because rather than reading what the character tells us he's thinking, we're reading exactly what he's thinking.

Don't worry about these during the first draft, but in the next draft you can go through and simply remove all the "I felt", "I saw", "I realized", "I noticed", etc. You'll end up with stronger prose for it.

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