Elmore Leonard: 17 Rules for Writers
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Elmore Leonard RIP

Elmore Leonard, author of Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Mr. Majestuk, Out of Sight, Hombre, and 52 Pick Up among other titles, died just a few days ago. Here are a few of his favorite rules for writers.

Begin writing before you put the coffee on.

Never open a book with weather.

Avoid prologues.

Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

Don’t use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”

Keep your exclamation points under control.

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. Readers won’t skip dialogue.

Keep it simple.

You got to have fun at this, or it’ll drive you nuts.

Don’t worry about what your mother thinks about it.

It’s very, very important to have a style or sound to your writing.

Writing is rewriting, constantly rewriting.

If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.


If you want to be a writer, all I can do is wish you luck. – Elmore Leanard


What are your rules for writing? Do you agree or disagree with Elmore’s rules. Comment below to share your rules for writing. Thanks.



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About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- .


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