Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bad day.

No reason for it. Just a bad day. Just a day that hurts and makes me want to cry even though nothing bad happened. I can't make my brain stop being unhappy right now and I don't want to go on for thirty minutes about how I feel bad for no reason, so no post today.

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.
  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. -- Excerpted from the New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle”


  1. But I LIKE detailed descriptions of characters and places!!!!!!!!

    And the constant use of "said" "said" "said" is just irritating. How do you get around that?

    I hope tomorrow is a better day.

    1. I think you're allowed to occasionally break the rules as long as you don't break them all at once.

  2. I'm thinking if you have a whole book to work with, you can work your detailed description in over a number of pages. You do not need the description encapsulated into a giant horse pill that's difficult for the reader to swallow and digest.