Sunday, September 12, 2010

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules to Writing

Elmore Leonard is one of my favorite writers. I favor his crime novels more than his Western themed ones, but that is just me and no matter what the genre, his stuff is top notch. It is hard to find an author who writes dialogue better than him. Listed below are 10 rules he came up with. These are just the title of each rule, and he drills dowm on each one HERE

Keep in mind this is just suggested advice on my part that I found very helpful, and they are subjective. I'm thinking Stephenie Meyer might disagree, but...

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'' . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
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.


  1. Very good advice but I'm sure I've broken a few of them!

  2. Paul,

    I have also broken some myself, but I found the concept helpful, especially the adverb rule.

  3. Excellent advice from Mr Leonard. I'll be honest though, I've probably broke all of them at one point or another. Ha!

    Great post, Sean.

  4. Paul- Same here. Fitzgerald is rolling over in his grave at the thought os these