Learn More
Student Quotes
"I learned myriad of techniques to infuse humor into my writing."
- Keisha Barrow
 Law Student
"If you're serious about getting a blog up and going, this is the class for you!"
- Robyn Lazara
 Executive Assistant
More Student Quotes Here
Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules
Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules
Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules

Leonard Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns, then turned his talents to crime fiction. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, he’s written about two dozen novels, most of them bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch.  Unlike most genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously by the literary crowd.

What’s Leonard’s secret to being both popular and respectable? Perhaps you’ll find some clues in his 10 tricks for 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.

 My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

 If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

 * Excerpted from the New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle”

> Read more Writing Tips from the Masters


BackPrint This Page


Copyright © 1997-2015 Gotham Writers Workshop Inc.
WritingClasses.com™, Gotham Writers Workshop® and Gotham® are
registered trademarks of Gotham Writers Workshop, Inc.