Monday, July 1, 2013

Writing Tips - 10 Rules for Good Writing

From Gotham Writers' Workshop Inc. comes the secret of Elmore Leonard's being both popular and respectable. Here are Leonard's 10 Rules for Good Writing excerpted from the New York Times article, Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle.

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 very "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.

Elmore Leonard's most import rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.