Elmore Leonard’s Top 10 Tips


So passes Elmore Leonard, believed by many to be one of America’s greatest crime writers.  I’m not (by and large) a crime fan so have not actually (confession) read any of his work – however, I picked up on a Guardian article quoting Leonard’s top 10 tips for writing.  I won’t reproduce them here except for number 10, which I particularly like:

Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them

We’re all guilty of this to some extent, I suspect, because (in no particular order):

  • we think our word count is too low
  • we’ve seen other authors write long tracts of beautiful prose, so we figure that’s what we should do, too, if we’re ever going to be taken seriously as bona fide scriveners
  • we haven’t bothered to re-read what we’ve written, so fail to see how boring and/or repetitive it is
  • we haven’t thought about how we’re going to structure what we write (my especial problem!)
  • we can’t help waffling

Take a look at the Guardian article yourself – what’s your favourite tip and which ‘rule’ are you most guilty of transgressing?

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