Some Quick Tips from Elmore Leonard


| 11/7/2007 4:49:44 PM


People who have succeeded in one way or another are oftentimes just itching to give advice. This has led to countless books of lists on how to improve your personal finances, meet your soul mate, become a CEO, or raise perfect children. So when I saw that Elmore Leonard had published his 10 Rules of Writing (HarperCollins), I wasn't particularly surprised. I did, however, pick it right up and see what I could learn from this popular U.S. writer, best known for Westerns and crime novels.

It took only 10 minutes to read the entire book, but I learned an awful lot. Some of the rules were simple, many were charming, and he backed all of them up with relatable examples from other authors' work. The most helpful to me were "never open a book with weather," "never use the words 'suddenly' or 'all hell broke loose,'" and "avoid detailed descriptions of characters."

After listing the 10 rules, Leonard writes, "My most important rule is one that sums up the ten. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."

Cara Binder



Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter