Filter Words and Crutch Words – plus, how to get rid of them

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Filter words and crutch words are a more recent discovery of mine with writing. Learning what they are, why they’re bad, and how to get rid of them has really changed my style for the better.

Distancing words are things like: felt, heard, saw, touched, looked, etc. They put a barrier between the reader and the book, rather than immersing them right into the action or description.

For example this sentence: She looked up to see dark clouds in the sky and heard the distant rumble of thunder. She felt a chill run down her spine.

Can become: Dark clouds rolled across the sky and thunder rumbled in the distance. A chill ran down her spine.

Fewer words and more powerful and immersive, right?

Crutch words are slightly different. They are words we use too often, and pause a sentence unnecessarily. They are fine for speech, but aren’t needed in writing!

Examples include: Just, like, obviously, that, etc

Search and replace these words in your manuscript and you’ll find many that don’t need to be there!

Since I’ve just finished edits on book #4 in the Soldiering On series, I thought now would be a good time to share my list of words that I comb through my manuscripts for. I don’t worry about these two much when I’m actually writing, because it would slow me down too much. But when I’m in the edit phase I can be ruthless! I cut out over 1,500 of these words and phrases from my manuscript over a period of two days, so I definitely mean business.

able to – can usually be replaced ‘can’ for a cleaner sentence  
Almost – often this can reduce the power of what you’re trying to say
Began – as in ‘began to’. Get rid of this and just say the character did the action
Decided – again, the character can often simply do the action
Down – As in ‘sat down’. Usually just ‘sat’ is needed
Felt – describe the sensation without using ‘felt’
going to – can usually be replaced by ‘will’ or similar
Heard – A distancing word. Usually not needed.
Just – This one is a weakness of mine. It’s often not needed
Looked – (as in ‘she looked at’) Often, you can just describe what they are looking at
Out – eg. ‘Stepping out in front’. Often just ‘stepping in front’ would work
Quite – Like almost, it’s a weak word
Realised – This word can be useful, but sometimes it can be overused and unneeded. Use your judgement.
Really – Like ‘very’ it’s better to use one word rather than qualify with ‘really’. Eg. ‘Really big’ should be ‘enormous’.
Saw – Like ‘heard’, just describe what they see.
Seemed – Like ‘realised’, this is one to use your judgement on
Speculated – Words like this are often better written as a question. Eg. Instead of ‘she speculated whether he was evil’ simply write ‘Was he evil?’
Started – Like ‘began’ it’s often not needed
That – The general rule of thumb is, if the sentence makes sense without the ‘that’, then you don’t need it. It’s amazing how many of these I find.
there were/was – eg. ‘There were three people in the room’ can become ‘three people stood in the room’
Thought – Like ‘speculated’, it is often better, particularly if you write in Deep POV, to get rid of many of your ‘thoughts’, but they can also be useful.
Touched – Like ‘heard’ or ‘saw’, this is a filter word.
Try – ‘Tried to’ is one of those things that creeps into my writing a few times when it’s simply not needed.
Up – Same issue as ‘down’. Often redundant.
Very – See ‘really’
was _ing – this is one of my favourites! For example ‘He was leaning’ becomes ‘He leaned’
Watched – Like looked or saw, this can be a filter word.
Went – ‘Went to’ like ‘began’ and ‘started’ is often not needed.
were _ing – A sister of ‘was _ing’
Wished – This is a tricky one, but again there’s often a simpler way.
Wondered – Same as above

So there you have it! What are some of the filter and crutch words you watch out for? I’m always on the lookout for words to add to my list!

Hesitant Love Now Available!

Hesitant Love

My cute, fun, and sexy romance is out today! If you like awkward heroes, single mothers that don’t trust men, comedy, and romance, this is for you!

Colin Partridge can hold down a conversation with his nine-year-old students, no problem. Beautiful women, on the other hand? Not so much. So when he bumps into Britt Endicott, the single mother of one of his students, he barely manages to get through the conversation with his dignity intact.

Britt Endicott hasn’t dated since her ex-husband left her and her daughter Abigail seven years ago. She doesn’t trust men, and with good reason. And even if she did–which she definitely doesn’t–dating her daughter’s teacher is totally against the rules.

Can they get around school rules, meddling children, and most of all themselves, to find their happy ending?

It’s a little bit different to my usual fare, but for anyone who’s read the Soldiering On books, you know I like to add a bit of humour to my work–even into my romantic suspense. Now I have a novella chock full of it! (This also has what is probably the sexiest sex scene I’ve written, if that’s your thing…)

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited if you want to give it a try!

Click here to find the novella on Amazon!

Win a Kindle! (And get some great books while you’re at it!)

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Check out the April Showers LKS Super Sale & Giveaway!

Your favourite Romance Authors are offering their suspenseful romances… Most of them are on sale for a limited time. It’s just our way of thanking our loyal readers. Even better, we’re giving away an Amazon Kindle!

Enter to win a FREE Amazon Kindle just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media. Here’s the link to the April Showers LKS Super Sale & Giveaway:

CLICK HERE FOR BARGAINS AND YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

Author Interview: Carole P. Roman

Here is the second in my series of Author Interviews. You can check out the one I did with R.L Jackson here!

And, now for my interview with Carole P. Roman

1. Tell us about yourself and what you write:

I write children’s books all ages. I have five different series. My first series was Captain No Beard which is an adventure series for both boys and girls. In the ten books, young pirates battle imaginary foes and learn to work as a team. My second two series are non-fiction. If You Were Me and Lived in…has two ages groups. The first is for ages 4-8 and is an introduction to culture and customs around the world. There are 23 books in this series in you include If You Were Me and Lived on…Mars- a fun trip to a Mars colony in the year 2054. The other half of the series is ten books for ages 8-12 that are a trip to different time periods around the world. All ten books traverse the globe visiting Ancient Mali or Greece, or take a trip to the American West, or even the Middle Ages. Both series puts the students into the shoes of a child living there and gives them a fun way to learn about life. I have a nursery series that tackles coping and self-worth and lastly, my newest is an Early Reader Chapter book called Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag. Oh yes, and I forgot a self-help book called Navigating Indieworld.

2. You’ve published books in a few different genres now—mostly children’s books, but now an advice book called Navigating Indieworld, as well. What’s the best thing about publishing in the areas that you do, and what’s the most challenging?

Writing and putting together a book is both fun and fairly easy. Publicizing any book is the most challenging part. It’s getting harder and harder to gather those much-needed reviews. You spend time and effort to publish and you don’t want your book to fall into the dark pit of high rankings. If it disappears from the public, nobody will buy it.

 

3. Why did you choose to be an Indie Author?

I think being an indie author chose me. My kids dared me to write a book. I did, never expecting the book to become an award-winning best-seller out of the gate. When the first one fell into place so easy, I decided to develop a brand. It’s been a lot of fun and very rewarding.

 

4. What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned since publishing?

I learned that I can pretty much do things I never thought I was capable of doing. I wrote a book, finished it, polished it. I have been on Youtube, panels, Forbes has interviewed me twice. I am sought after as a strong voice in indie publishing. I have my own blog radio show. I have met great friends in the chat rooms and every day is a learning experience.

 

5. If you could give some advice to any authors just starting on this journey, what would it be?

Get onto a good thread on Goodreads and Bookworks. Be vocal. Ask questions. If the other authors shut you down, find another thread. You will learn so much by talking to the people who forged ahead of you. They will help guide you better than any seminar.

 

6. You seem to be growing a bit of a publishing empire! What’s next for you and your team? Will you be expanding into other genres?

I started a YA novel and then abandoned it. Julie, my social media partner and beta reader, reminded me about it yesterday. I may go back to it. I would like to expand the Oh Susannah series if it takes off. I will be promoting my son who has made the leap from indie to traditional publisher. They have asked to work together on promotions.

 

7. If you had to do one thing over in your writing career so far, would you? And what would it be?

Buy my own ISBN’s. I finally understand them now and whatever I’ve learned, I discovered the information in our chatroom on Goodreads. I think it is smart to own your material.

 

8. What’s your writing process like? How often do you find the time? Do you outline first? Do you listen to music while the magic happens? Give us some insight.

I can write in an office full of people. I have that ability to talk to someone and read at the same time. I write anywhere in the house, can stop to make dinner or answer the phone and go right back to the story. I usually write every night from nine to eleven, then I spend an hour or two reading other people’s books.

 

9. Where do you get your ideas?

They just happen. Sometimes, like with Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis, one of my family members stands as a muse from a conversation. Susannah was based on a remark that an exhausted working mother said. The books are born from my life and when you read them, in some way you are reading about my home and family.

 

10. How do you recharge your imagination when you can feel your creative well getting dry? (Or is it just me that happens to!)

Never gets dry. It’s too active and always has been. Give me an issue and in five minutes I’ll have five solutions. Our family is solution oriented, so we are always brimming with ideas.

 

11. You seem to have worked with a few different illustrators. For those that don’t know, what’s that process like?

I have worked with remarkable illustrators. Bonnie Lemaire who did the pirate series must be telepathic, because she nailed my characters without ever speaking to me, but for a few sparse emails. Kelsea Weirenga who did the cultural series has the patience of a saint and embraced the series with her entire being, working hard to get everything as accurate as possible. Mateya Arkova is a gift from Europe. She approached me to illustrate and is the hardest working artist I’ve ever met. I love them all dearly and count them as my friends. They never took ownership but served as silent support to make my dreams comes to life. They are wonderful women.

 

12. What are you working on now?

Just finished If You Were ME and Lived in…Cuba and Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag.  Have to work on promoting them now.

 

Just for fun:

 

13. Sweet or savoury?

Sweet.

 

14. Hot weather or cold?

Both!

 

15. If an apocalypse comes, what would be your most valuable skill?

I would remember our past for the future generations.

 

16. Which celebrity would you choose to be stranded on a desert island with?

Brad Pitt- Guess why.

 

17. Dream vacation spot? (Other than the island with the celebrity, naturally)

Vegas, baby. I have a home there and am a celebrated craps player. (It is true.)

 

18. If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

Ice cream to celebrate. Ice cream for everyone.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Visit Carole at the following places!

Author Interview: Me!

So, a while back I did an interview with Tara Woods Turner. And it’s finally live! If for whatever reason you’ve ever had a burning need to hear my voice or see my face (I had thought it was a podcast, so sorry not sorry about the lack of makeup!) then, firstly, whyyyyy? My voice is horrible. And secondly, you’re in luck!

I can’t listen to it back because I get the heebie-jeebies listening to my voice, so if you do watch/listen, be sure to tell me if I said anything super embarrassing. (Also, they spelled/pronounced my name wrong, but I get it’s a tough one 😉 )Thanks!

Author Interview: R.L Jackson

Please welcome R.L. to my blog for my first ever Author Interview!1

  1. Tell us about yourself and what you write:

A Bahamian-born native, R.L Jackson writes fiction and enjoys reading Romance, Fantasy, Dystopian, YA, and everything in between.
Her first novel “Crashing Into Me” was released on Feb 14, 2017 and is available on Amazon in kindle format as well as in paperback.

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  1. What’s the best thing and hardest thing about writing romance, do you think?

The best thing for me is creating new people, new experiences and the journey they take to find that love. The hardest is finding interesting and unique ways to tell stories that haven’t been told before.

  1. Would you ever write in a different genre? (Even a different sub-genre of romance) 

I write in different genres already, just none that I’ve published yet.

  1. What’s your favourite trope in romance?

I use a mix of different tropes, it just makes a story more realistic to me. I don’t believe in instant love, in novels because in real life that is a rarity, outside of middle school aged “love” lol.

  1. What are some of your favourite genres or authors to read?

I don’t have a favorite author, but genres are Thriller, Romance, Paranormal, Dystopian, and some Fantasy depending on what it is.

  1. Why did you choose to be an Indie Author?

I chose it for the freedom of controlling my own creative process after reading up on the pros and cons of both from the mouths of trad and indie authors, I decided indie was the best for me.

  1. What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned since publishing?

The real work starts after you press publish. I wish I had a marketing plan in place before I did it to be honest, as well as the marketing budget. There aren’t many places that will promote your book for free unless it is free or discounted, which makes me roll my eyes because it’s frustrating. Or if they do promote your book, the cost is huge. From what I can tell indie Publishing may have taken the decision to publish their work out of trad publishing hands, but simultaneously given others (bloggers, promotion sites) the power to decide if and how they will promote them, thus creating brand new hurdles and hoops to jump through.

  1. If you had to do one thing over in your writing career so far, would you? And what would it be?

Marketing plan, marketing budget, virtual assistant to handle social media etc so I can focus on writing.

  1. What’s your writing process like? How often do you find the time? Do you outline first? Do you listen to music while the magic happens? Give us some insight.

My process starts with the concept, plot, then outline. I write my ending first and work backwards. I outline and listen to music when I get blocked or need inspiration for a particular scene.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

Sometimes they hit me out of the blue, others are based on my personal experiences.

  1. How do you recharge your imagination when you can feel your creative well getting dry? (Or is it just me that happens to!)

I watch a movie or binge watch Netflix to get out of my head for a while. Then I go back and read what I wrote making changes as I see fit.

  1. What are you working on now?

Book two of my ‘Crashing” series and a few surprises I can’t mention yet.

 

Just for fun:

  1. Sweet or savoury? Both
  2. Hot weather or cold? Cold
  3. If an apocalypse comes, what would be your most valuable skill? Fighting
  4. If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

Is this 1mill before or after taxes lol. Seriously though, I’d pay off my outstanding bills, start a charity I’ve been wanting to start for a while, and purchase my first home.

 

Thanks so much R.L. for stopping by my blog!

 

Short Stories Available!

Exclusively You

Yesterday, a short story I’ve been working on finally went live! This is an exciting step for me, because it represents my first published work in Contemporary Romance, as opposed to Romantic Suspense. This is a trend you’ll see more of from me this year, in preparation for a contemporary romance anthology that I’ll be in for Christmas! I have a few novellas (both contemporary romance and romantic suspense) mostly-written that I’ll probably release in the meantime. I hope this will be an exciting step for my career.

An Escalating Threat to the Heart

A reminder (I did tell you guys, right?) that An Escalating Threat to the Heart is also available on Amazon now (with a fancy new cover!) but this one is also available for FREE if you sign up to my newsletter. This one, while short, is more my usual style of romantic suspense.

I hope you guys enjoy these stories! I had a lot of fun writing them. It’s been great to step out from my Soldiering On series and stretch my writing wings a little. If you read them, I hope you’ll leave an honest review!