Friday, December 14, 2012

Leonard's ten rules for writing


Owen Wister
Elmore Leonard


In 2009, The Western Writers of America presented Elmore Leonard with their prestigious Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement. Leonard wrote 3:10 to Yuma, Hombre, Last Stand at Saber River, and many other Westerns. He also wrote novels outside the Western genre, including Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and Out of Sight.

Leonard published his 10 Rules of Writing, which was actually a padded version of his New York Times article. The book may be panned for its brevity, but the advice is sound.

Leonard's ten rules for 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."
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke out."
7. Use regional dialects, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.

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