aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

10 Rules of Writing

Seven or eight years ago, I saw Elmore Leonard speak at Bouchercon, the huge mystery conference. He talked about his rules for writing – it sounded like a talk he had given many times before. He had a smoker’s voice and seemed smaller and older than I had imagined. For some reason, I had expected him to look like Roy Scheider.

Anyway, now he’s got a book out, perfect for Christmas gifts, called Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing. They are:
1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said."
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
[Full disclosure: on balance, I tend to agree – what do you think?]

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