10 Rules For Writing By Elmore Leonard

Out Where the Buses Don't Run

In honor of Elmore Leonard, who passed away yesterday at the age of 87, I thought I’d post the rules for writing Leonard compiled in his now-legendary New York Times essay, Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle.

Rules #3 and 4 are ones I stick to pretty adamantly. I’m not a big fan of verbs like “growled” or “snapped” being used to describe dialogue, when “said” perfectly sums dialogue up. And #10 just might be the best rule, outside of “show, don’t tell.”

Thank you, Elmore Leonard.

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WRITERS ON WRITING; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle

These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice…

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