Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

1. Never open a book with the 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. Same for places and things.
10. Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

His most important rule is one that sums up the 10: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."

* Excerpted from the New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle”

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