Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Good Writing

  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.

5 thoughts on “Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Good Writing

      1. I was actually going to say that, but refrained because I thought you might think of me as uneducated and poorly read. But I’ve actually had 4 manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals and was once a University Prof. Just goes to show I should be more confident in stating my opinion! (I think you remember I’m Twinkles mom.)

  1. A 200 level class called Heath and wellness, which was an SAS class (meaning a certain number of SAS class credits were required for graduation) – SAS meant that the class required a great deal of writing. The University (GVSU) had a commitment to ensure all students were proficient writers. In addition, I taught N402 & N410, both senior level nursing courses, one didactic and the other clinical.

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