Repetition and TUTs

An easy thing to edit.

Something I notice in my student’s screenplays is the habit of repeating their locations.

They’ll introduce a new scene:


And then repeat themselves in the description.

An old, crumbling castle in the middle of an enchanted forest.

They’ve already introduced the castle in the slug line, so there is no repeat that it’s a castle in the description.

One of my students learned in playwrighting as telling it twice or TUT for short.

In her example, you don’t have a character grab something in the stage direction, then have someone repeat it afterward.

Joe grabs a beer from the fridge.
“Yo, did you grab a beer?”

By removing one of these, you tighten up the story beat and speed up the moment.

Many of us overwrite. I’m always guilty of it, as much as the next person. (Old and crumbling in my example above are redundant.)

Often, my best editing is getting rid of words and sentences, not rearranging them. And TUTs and repetition should be the first things to go.