Maybe we should all hang up our red pencils here and just keep a link to this great article by Elmore Leonard in the New York Times.
We've discussed many of the points he covers: dialogue attributives, adverbs (here they are again ) passive verbs, and many more, but he has a knack for restating them with a bit of a punch.
He starts his article with, "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 pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over."
What a polite way of encouraging us to improve our craft.
Elmore Leonard has been commended by critics for his gritty realism and strong dialogue. His writing style sometimes takes liberties with grammar in the interest of speeding along the story. In his essay, "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing," he writes, "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
His advice to writers also includes the hint, "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."
Maryann Miller is the Managing Editor of WinnsboroToday.com, an online community magazine, and a reviewer for Bloggernews.net and ForeWord Magazine. Her latest books are One Small Victory and Play it Again, Sam. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. When she is not working, Maryann loves to play "farmer" on her little ranch in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas.