Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 20, 2013
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Elmore Leonard passed away at 7:15AM this morning. Rest in peace to one of the defining authors of our generation.”

Elmore Leonard, Elmore Leonard. He could write his way through thick fog, and make it fun and sharp and hard and direct, direct, direct: all the while making himself invisible, and the story clear.

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

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

From the NY Times, his 10 Rules for Writing—this is brilliant, all about letting the author out the backdoor while the reader walks in the front door (of the story):

“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.

1. Never open a book with weather.

If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want…”

Read the rest, here.

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing.”

  1. Katie Lopez says:

    This was a fun article to read. Good advice.

    Regarding the scenery rule: I am currently reading "The Woman In Black" by Susan Hill and she carefully describes the scenery in each location. I thought about why it works so well here if, indeed, it is better left out. I concluded that the scenery is actually a creepy character in this book, weaving its spell on the human characters. So, the rule was not broken.

  2. HeroGames says:

    شكرا لكم كتيرا موضوع مهم وجميل وبسيط ورائع واصلوا انتم في الطريق الصحيح
    مرحبا بكم على موقع http://jeux4banat.blogspot.com