Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Elmore Leonard's 10 rules of good writing

  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”…he admonished gravely.
  5.  Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 
  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.
Sounds like Stories In Overdrive ha ha! Especially #10.

Doesn't Grapes of Wrath begin with the weather? The Canterbury Tales has a great Prololgue. There are exceptions to every one of these, of course. That's what rules are for.

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