Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RIP Elmore Leonard, ex-copywriter

Elmore Leonard died today, at age 87 while working on his 46th novel. Leonard wasn't always a crime writer, he began as a copywriter, writing ads for cars and trucks in Detroit where his father worked for General Motors. He stayed in advertising for 10 years, getting up at 5 am to write, staying up late to work on his stories, until finally his first crime novel, rejected 84 times, was made into a movie. His mastery of dialogue and plot was legend. No matter what you're writing, your writing can benefit
from his rules of writing:

 1. Never open a book with the 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 dialect sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Same for places + things.
10. Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

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