Monday, November 15

from a master

Here's crime fiction master Elmore Leonard's rules for writing, and his opinions on when you can break them. Most of them apply equally to nonfiction.
10. 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. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.

His succinct summary: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."


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