Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rest In Peace Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard, prolific author of westerns and crime dramas, passed today. He wrote "Out of Sight", "Be Cool", and "Get Shorty". He also wrote the book on which the FX series "Justified" is based. 

I am posting his 10 rules of writing since they served him well.

  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.

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