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Elmore Leonard: 17 Rules for Writers Infographic

Elmore Leonard: 17 Rules for Writers

In honor of a great writer who recently passed away, here are 17 of his rules for writers.

1. Begin writing before you put the coffee on.

2. Never open a book with weather.

3. Avoid prologues.

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

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

6. Keep your exclamation points under control.

7. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

8. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

9. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

10. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

11. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Readers won’t skip dialogue.

12. Keep it simple.

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

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

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

16. Writing is rewriting, constantly rewriting.

17. If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.

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


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