You've heard, but novelist Elmore Leonard died today at the age of 87. As the celebrated author of Get Shorty, Glitz, and Be Cool—and whose works were adapted into great movies and TV such as Out of Sight and Justified—Leonard was hands down one of our greatest crime thriller writers. So let's not miss this opportunity to recall his "Ten Rules of Writing" which was originally published in The New York Times, and carries a ton of good advice (some of which I'm afraid I'll never learn). Check it out.
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.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Very good advice (especially numbers 1, 8, and 9), although i think I'll consistently continue to break numbers 3 and especially 5. What can I say, I really love exclamation points!!!! R.I.P. Elmore Leonard... you will be missed!!!