In honor of Elmore Leonard's life and legacy, we wanted to share his ten rules for writers. We've had these posted in the office for years. They are timeless. 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."
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
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 the one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
To read more about these rules, you can check out his 2001 response in the New York Times.