aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

I rue the day

I came across a great acronym the other day for something I am guilty of all the time in my writing: RUE. RUE is short for ‘resist the
urge to explain.'

Why should we resist the urge? First of all, we can undermine our first sparkling sentence with a not-so-brilliant rexplanation. Second, it insults the reader by hitting him or her over the head. Third, it invites the reader to start skimming ahead to find something new.

Here's a made-up example:

Cassidy was a tall skinny girl who towered over her insensitive sixth-grade classmates. Her height and weight were a source of embarrassment to her, and a source of delight to her tormentors. They teased her unmercifully.

I do a lot of my RUE work in "what ifs?" Like a character will wonder "What if the rope I'm climbing breaks?" and I'll enumerate at length all the bad things that could happen.

One tip I've learned recently is that RUE often comes at the end of a paragraph

Now I'm trying to learn to see if I'm adding an extra sentence to the end of paragraphs, or that I have two sentences or paragraphs that repeat the same information, maybe with a bit more embroidery, or if a character tends to over-explain.

It's still hard for me to resist the urge, but I'm trying.

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