literary_equine (literary_equine) wrote,
literary_equine
literary_equine

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing - A Critique


I am doing some rather intense research into how to become a full-time writer so I am loading up on books about writing and how to make writing a vocation.

So, as my wife and youngest son are enjoying Rhodes Grove Camp (she as camp nurse, and he as camper), I and my two oldest boys ventured down to the Adams County Library where I picked up some rather good resources.

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing is not one of the good resources I picked up.

This $14.95 hardback contains within its 90 pages (on paper that is probably 60 bond so as to make it book size) an essay of about maybe, stretching it, 700 words. Or you can buy it as a very, very expensive art book here. ($36.20?!?!)

There is lots of white space as well as cute caricatures of famous authors that Leonard quotes.

So, I'm going to cheat and give you his 10 rules of writing.

  1. Never open a book with weather (prose that only creates atmosphere).
  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 word "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 or things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
To sum it all up, Leonard writes, "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
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