Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Lean and Mean Writing
Elmore Leonard, one of my favorite writers, has the cleanest, leanest writing style on the market. Here are his simple rules, which I diligently follow.
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 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.
11. If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.
L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and editor and is the author of the Detective Jackson mysteries, The Sex Club and Secrets to Die For. She also loves to edit fiction and works with authors to keep her rates affordable.
Contact her at:
Write First, Clean Later