Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Great storyteller passes on

Sorry to hear that Elmore Leonard has passed on. I didn't know he had written westerns. But enjoyed reading Get Shorty and Maximum Bob. I understand he was well into writing his 46th novel when he had a stroke a few weeks back. I hope that is also released at some point. I remember reading his 10 tricks for good writing, as published in the New York Times article "Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle". The radio mentioned the list again today, but only points 1 and 10. I wonder about point 8: I suppose we should leave much more to the imagination.
  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.

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