I was planning on putting a piece of poetry on this post today but somehow my folder is missing. I spent way too much time looking so I am in the position of having to repeat I post I did last year. I think I had about three or four readers at the time, so maybe it won’t be a problem. The subject today is Elmore Leonard. He is one of my most favorite authors. It may be because I once took a class where he was one of the guest lecturers. This was back in early ninety’s when his stories were becoming hugely popular. He had launched the book Get Shorty in 1990 and gave each student a pair of Ray Ban knock-offs with Get Shorty printed on the ear piece. The movie was released in 1995 and what is pictured is the promo poster. He gave us his rules of writing then and I think they are very current today. Here is the post:
Elmore Leonard is a prolific writer who got his start in the pulp western genre. His books have spanned the years from 1953 to today. Twenty six of his books have been adapted to motion pictures which gives testimony to his popularity. Elmore is also known for his ten rules of 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.
His most important rule is one that sums up the Ten
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it