For scenes to move
with deliberate speed, the
writer must grasp the truth
RUE stands for Resist the Urge to Explain. You’ll ﬁ nd
it in several writing books and all over Internet writing
sites. For some, RUE means avoiding excess exposition.
For others, it’s another way of saying show, don’t tell.
Both are valid observations.
When you can cut exposition, do it. Readers like mys-
tery, and they will allow you to hide information so long
as the action is moving along. Put off explanations for
as long as possible. Only use what is absolutely essential
to the understanding of the moment.
You all know about showing versus telling, so watch for
all those little explanatory phrases that can so easily sneak
into your scenes. This is best illustrated by example.
I ran through the forest, my heart pounding.
I could hear the bloodhounds behind me, and the
lawmen shouting instructions.
I dug deep for air and willed my feet to move.
Then skidded to a stop.
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