Resist the Urge to Explain
Posted by monicamynk
I learned a new phrase this week, from a wonderful lady who has agreed to become my writing coach and editor. As a bonus, she’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, so it’s nice to have someone who can work with me in that capacity, rather than someone from the secular world who would question some of my plot decisions because they don’t know how people act in church.
In just a couple conversations, she has helped me identify what holds my writing back from a professional level. One particular thing stands out–to resist the urge to explain.
I never realized until this week how much of a problem this is in my writing. Here I thought I’d been avoiding the dreadful info dump, and since then I’ve seen cases of it in every chapter of my WIP. I’ve been working hard on trying to master showing, not telling, and now I feel silly for not noticing how easy it is to eliminate with this simple advice.
For many new writers, explaining appears in the form of was/were:
Sarah yawned. She was tired.
Readers will understand she was tired from the yawn, so no need to explain. But I was doing this much more subtly (at least it was subtle to me–probably stuck out like a sore thumb to everyone else). Oh, wait! I just did it again!
I’ve since been researching this idea and found several good blogs on the subject.
From The Blood Red Pencil: http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2011/05/resist-urge-to-explain.html
From The Book Doctor: http://thebookdoctorbd.blogspot.com/2010/11/rue-resist-urge-to-explain-how-much-is.html
And just Google it. There are many others.
Now I just wish I had time to sit down and edit every chapter. I can’t wait to eliminate my RUEs!