Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 12, 2011

R.U.E. – Resist The Urge To Explain

Like people, your characters get depressed.  They get angry and they find relief, but they do it in their unique ways.  So simply convey that in your scenes.  Showing how your characters react and express their emotions makes your book dynamic.  Resist the urge to explain those feelings to your readers.

Here are some things to check for when you revise:

1.  How often do you use narrative summary?

2.  Are there long passages where nothing happens in real time?

3.  Do the main events in your plot take place in summary or in scenes?  A scene is where your character is doing something, saying something, sharing what he sees with the readers.

4.  If you do have too much narrativc summary, which sections do you want to convert into scenes?

5.  Does any of it involve major characters, where a scene could be used to lesh out their personalities?

6.  Does any of your narrative summary involve major plot twists or Surprises?  If so, start writing some scenes.

7.  Do you have any narrative summary, or are you bouncing from scene to scene without pausing for a breath?

8.  Are  you describing your characters’ feeling?  Have you told us they’re angry? irritated? morose? discouraged? puzzled? excited? happy? elated? suicidal?

9.  Keep an eye out for any places where you mention an emotion outside of dialogue.  Chances are you are telling what you should show.

Remember to R.U.E.

You might want to check out this book.  It gives talks about this subject, give examples and writing exercises to test your ability to recognize these things in other manuscripts. 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Brilliant posting, wonderful tips! Thanks!


    • Classic,

      Brilliant – Wow! Thanks for the compliment. Kathy


  2. I just got this book for Christmas and I love it! It’s helpful not just on the editing side, but also for drafting. It gives an idea of what to pay attention to. Thanks for the post.


    • Kayeleen,

      I’m so happy that I randomly picked up this book. Lots of great information and reminders. Hope others give it a look. Thanks for the comment.



  3. I like this book too along with other editing books, but I still can’t say enough about having a writing partner or a pro offer advice, as well!


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