I offer Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules for Good Writing instead. I'd never heard of this guy before a few days ago, when I was listening to NPR and they said he'd died. They mentioned "ten rules of writing," but they only named one of them...number 10 is "try to leave out the part that people skip." And so I'm leaving out the part where I whine in print.
The list below is copied from the link above. I did not write any of the below bit.
- Never open a book with weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
- Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
- Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. -- Excerpted from the New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle”