From 1953 to present, Elmore Leonard, the king of gritty realism and strong dialogue, has written 49 novels, 9 screenplays, and more than a few short stories, so it’s fair to say the man knows a thing or two about writing. So, even if you aren’t a fan of his work, it couldn’t hurt to take a couple of tips from a man who’s been there, written that:
- Never open a book with the weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
- Keep your exclamation points under control!
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Same for places and things.
- Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.
Almost makes writing a novel sound easy, doesn’t it? Truth is, it’s only as hard as you allow it to be.