Eliminate Distancing Verbs aka Filter Words
Distancing verbs are words that filter the reader’s experience by placing them one step away from the narrative. How do they do this?
-They hedge. These words can appear hesitant or unconfident. Just say it, don’t hedge.
-They remind the reader that he/she is reading. You want to draw the reader in so he/she is absorbed into the character’s thoughts and actions.
-They are weak verbs. You can use strong verbs without turning to purple prose.
Examples of distancing verbs and words:
Noticed Was/were able to
Problem: The water seemed to be cloudier than ever.
Fix: The water was cloudier than ever.
Problem: He thought he’d never seen a cuter dog.
Fix: He’d never seen a cuter dog.
Problem: She felt sad when she lost the race.
Fix: Tears ran down her face when she crossed the finish line in second place.
Problem: They saw two buzzards eating a dead skunk.
Fix: Two buzzards pecked at a dead skunk.