Resist the Urge to Explain (R.U.E.)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King take the R.U.E. concept so seriously that there is an entire chapter devoted to it called “Once Is Usually Enough”.

  • “Most writers already know to edit out places where they have literally repeated a word or phrase.  But the repetition of an effect can be just as problematic.  Whether it’s two sentences that convey the same information, two paragraphs that establish the same personality trait, or two characters who fill the same role in the plot, repetition can rob your writing of its power.”
  • “When you have a character point or plot development that is critical to the story, you drive it home more than once to make sure your readers get it.  As a result, you wind up conveying to your readers things they already know, which is almost as condescending (and off-putting) as describing emotions that have already been shown in the dialogue.”

Overexplaining happens to all writers (whether beginning, established, published, or unpublished).  That’s why it is important to revise, revise, revise, and revise some more.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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One thought on “Resist the Urge to Explain (R.U.E.)

  1. This is a GREAT post, Yawatta! When I was first learning to write, I was horrible with just hitting the reader over the head with every detail and I started to live by the RUE rule too. Being subtle can make it all the more interesting…

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