Now, obviously I can’t quote all the content in this slim volume of a book that I found a while back—you need to find a copy of the book and buy it…but if you are an aspiring writer, you might find some of the tips useful.
My significant other reads all of Elmore Leonard’s books and a few months ago I was surfing around on Amazon.com and saw the title “Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing” with illustrations by Joe Ciardiello. My curiosity was piqued and the price was right.
Leonard says “these are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in a story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.
Leonard’s Rule #1 is “Never open a book with weather”
#2 is “Avoid Prologues” – I have to add Leonard’s comment “They can be annoying especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword.” – Leonard also says he likes a lot of talk in a book and he doesn’t like “to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like.” Get on with solving the murder!)
#3 is “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue”
#4 is “Never use an adverb to modify the verb ‘said’ ”
#5 is “Keep your exclamation points under control” (I can do that!)
#6 is “Never use the words ‘suddenly’ or ‘All Hell broke loose.”
#7 is “Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. (unless you are Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings).
#8 is “Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.” (My significant other gets really annoyed with authors who spend pages describing all the clothing the characters are wearing. He says he doesn’t care if she is wearing a blue dress or a black dress, matching high heels or whatever.)
#9 is “Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.” (for my significant other and I, this goes hand in hand with #8.)
And #10 is “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip”
Elmore Leonard says his most important rule is one that sums up the ten: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it”
There’s a lot more so if you have any aspirations to write – you may want to get a copy of the book. You can read the whole thing while you are sitting in front of the computer wondering what to write about today. It’s a small book.
Publisher is William Morrow. Amazon.com has a bunch of copies, starting at pre owned for about $5.00 – but you can get a new one for $10.
So, you see, while waiting for inspiration on a new cookbook related post, I was able to come up with something for those of you who send me writer-related questions.
Happy cookbook collecting and happy WRITING.