Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elmore Leonard, rest in peace

The great crime novelist Elmore Leonard died this week, aged 87.
Here are Leonard’s ten rules for writing:

John Travolta in Get Shorty, the best film
 adaptation of one of Leonard's books
Never open a book with the weather.
Avoid prologues.
Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
Keep your exclamation points under control!
Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
Same for places and things.
Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

Of course, as with all writing rules, there are exception. Orwell's 1984 opens with the weather, and I like prologues, though I don't recommend them. 

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Bracebridge, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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