Rules for Writers
Elmore Leonard’s rules were first set out in The New York Times in 2001. He said that they were the rules he’d recognised along the way to help him remain invisible when he’s writing to help him show rather than tell what’s taking place in his story.
- Never open a book with weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
- Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
And the most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.