Welcome back to another Common Writer Mistakes! This time is over:
#8 – The Words “Felt” and “Feel”
No matter what POV you write in, you’re going to come across the word “felt” or “feel” at some point. These words are sometimes glossed over without realizing the potential that could be brought to the story if you write without them.
Let me give an example.
“He felt like he was going to pass out.” The sentence is more tell than show. It doesn’t give the reader any visuals about what’s going on. It’s more like someone said what happened over the phone.
You want the reader to feel like they are actually there.
Here’s how you could reword it: “The floor swayed under his feet. He stubbled around, trying to find something to hold onto.” Obviously, the floor isn’t going anywhere. But through the character’s eyes, the floor is swaying and disorienting. It’s obvious that something is wrong. The sentences also stand out because the reader usually has had a similar experience and can visualize that moment well.
When I edit novels or when I edit my own work, I find a lot of these “I felt” or “I feel”s. Leave them in only for rare occasions though, including dialogue. Simple dialogue can deliver punches like: “I feel broken.” Writers shouldn’t stay 100% away from those two phrases.
However, they are phrases to look out for. You can get creative finding ways around saying it. Spend a day searching to find all the “feel”s and “felt”s to see what innovative ways you can create to bring more life into your stories.
I hope this helps!