This really should be called “List of the Week.” Whatever you’d prefer to call it, it comes from Elmore Leonard, author of Glitz and many other novels. This list is his ten rules of writing. For me, I hate it when authors break rules 8 and 9. All that description drags down the novel, and I just end up bored. One rule I really need to work on is 6. I like the word “suddenly,” and every time I type it, I know I shouldn’t use it.
Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules For Writing
- Never open a book with weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
- Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.