Elmore Leonard: how to write


Shiraz Socialist

Elmore Leonard died today, aged 87.

The New York Times obit is here.

If you’ve never read his stuff, start with Get Shorty and/or Rum Punch (both filmed, Rum Punch as Jackie Brown).

Here he is on his famous (and somewhat tongue-in-cheek) ‘Ten Rules of writing’:

Here are the ‘Ten Rules’:

  •  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.

He added: “My most important rule is one that…

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By Greg Taylor Posted in God