Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing
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” . . . he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
7. Use regional dialect, patois, 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.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10:
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
• Elmore Leonard •
Which Elmore Leonard book is your favorite?
One of my greatest pleasures is falling into a story someone else has written.
• Nora Roberts •
Which Nora Roberts book is your favorite?
Meaning is everything, and humans will never cease pursuing the question of meaning. Nor should they. Indeed, nor can they. We’re almost hard-wired to pursue the questions of meaning and significance.
• Thomas Keneally •
Which Thomas Keneally book is your favorite?
Obsession led me to write. It's been that way with every book I've ever written. I become completely consumed by a theme, by characters, by a desire to meet a challenge.
• Anne Rice •
Which Anne Rice book is your favorite?
The one reader I'm trying to please as I write is me, and I'm pretty difficult to please.
• Sara Zarr •
Which Sara Zarr book is your favorite?
A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.
• Wallace Stevens •
My favorite Wallace Stevens poem is "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." Do you have a favorite?
I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. And anyone who does not remember betrays them again.
• Elie Wiesel •
Which Elie Wiesel book is your favorite?
When a novel has 200,000 words, then it is possible for the reader to experience 200,000 delights, and to turn back to the first page of the book and experience them all over again, perhaps more intensely.
• Jane Smiley •
Which Jane Smiley book is your favorite?
A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
• William Faulkner •
My favorite William Faulkner book is Go Down, Moses. Which is yours?
That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
• F. Scott Fitzgerald •
Which F. Scott Fitzgerald book is your favorite?