Friday, August 7, 2009

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules

Published: July 16, 2001
"These are rules I've picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I'm writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over..."
Hooptedoodle. You have to love any headline with "Hooptedoodle" in it.

If you're curious about the rest, you can read some of what he left out (because 13 rules didn't sound as cool, I guess) at his blog: or in his book on writing also called Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules on Writing. (Sadly, the hooptedoodle was apparently left out of the book.)  

Caveat lector! Something I think about this every time I recommend a book on writing, whether it's Larry Block or Anne Lamotte or Stephen King. Reading about writing doesn't make you a writer, writing makes you a writer. There's a point where you have to stop reading books (or blogs) about how to write and actually sit down to do it.

Scott Walker Perkins writes literary thrillers and novels of humor & suspense. His current novel is The Palimpsest and he is working on another tentatively titled 42 Lines.  

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).