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Old 08-20-2013, 10:53 PM   #1
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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Elmore Leonard's 10 rules of writing

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”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
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 one that sums up the 10," he wrote. "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/e...IIK3DobYRqh.99
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:08 AM   #2
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Ben posted a much better version of this in the Reading Quotes:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...postcount=2170
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:32 AM   #3
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"Those are not bad guide lines," commented Vydorscope, suddenly!!
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
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It appears that The Onion missed some of these rules when writing his obituary.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/elm...r-his-t,33559/
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:57 PM   #5
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I loled
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
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Thanks, Kenny!
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:09 PM   #7
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I had not read Elmore Leonard before but just picked up a three-in-one kindle book from Amazon, I'm justly impressed so far. (reading Get Shorty).
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:08 PM   #8
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Now I'm going to have read one of his books.

"3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue." I agree with this but like to use "spoke" once in a while to help define who's talking. (Don't we all break the rules once in a while?) From my pending manuscript:

“And here’s the deal.” Cove paused and let the phrase sink in, his lips tight but wide, showing neither a frown nor a smile. “You know more about the silver Dodge than you’re tellin’ me.” He paused and spoke with emphasis. “I know it. I can feel it in my bones.” Cove’s head twisted and his eyes narrowed, staring dead into the Hispanic’s eyes. “Armando,” Cove said in a slow staccato voice, steadily tapping out each word. “Who’s the guy that drives the Dodge?”

And one more:

Cove spoke, watching for a reaction. “Sorry about calling you up so late, but you did say ‘anytime, night or day’?”

But maybe I'm not breaking his rule? - Tony
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
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I'm enjoying Get Shorty....only a few chapters in....he writes very well....but you all knew that already.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazer View Post
Now I'm going to have read one of his books.

"3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue." I agree with this but like to use "spoke" once in a while to help define who's talking. (Don't we all break the rules once in a while?) From my pending manuscript:

“And here’s the deal.” Cove paused and let the phrase sink in, his lips tight but wide, showing neither a frown nor a smile. “You know more about the silver Dodge than you’re tellin’ me.” He paused and spoke with emphasis. “I know it. I can feel it in my bones.” Cove’s head twisted and his eyes narrowed, staring dead into the Hispanic’s eyes. “Armando,” Cove said in a slow staccato voice, steadily tapping out each word. “Who’s the guy that drives the Dodge?”

And one more:

Cove spoke, watching for a reaction. “Sorry about calling you up so late, but you did say ‘anytime, night or day’?”

But maybe I'm not breaking his rule? - Tony
Not to sure about the last one, but overall you write well or is it interestingly I will look up your books.

I actually prefer books that don't say said or spoke etc. Just the dialogue presented in a way that you generally know who is speaking.

Helen
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:03 PM   #11
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I'm enjoying Get Shorty....only a few chapters in....he writes very well....but you all knew that already.
Also very versatile. Most of the books I have read feature characters who are good guys with feet of clay, or bad guys who end up doing the right thing despite themselves. No saints or heroes, but all slightly larger than life. Some might be deplorable perhaps, but a secret part of me admires their jam

Helen
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:55 AM   #12
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Not to sure about the last one, but overall you write well or is it interestingly I will look up your books.

I actually prefer books that don't say said or spoke etc. Just the dialogue presented in a way that you generally know who is speaking.

Helen
Thanks for the compliment. I do enjoy writing a scene laced with dialogue!

Now, back to the Leonards's 10 Rules. Maybe I'll download Get Shorty tonight. See how he wrote his dialogue.

TL
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:25 AM   #13
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I actually prefer books that don't say said or spoke etc. Just the dialogue presented in a way that you generally know who is speaking.

Helen
I don't know why, but I have a hard time leaving "said" off.

Bob walked into the bar, "ow! That hurt!"

vs

Bob walked into the bar and said, "ow! That hurt!"


Maybe its all my time doing paper in grad school, the missing said FEELS wrong.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:45 PM   #14
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I don't know why, but I have a hard time leaving "said" off.

Bob walked into the bar, "ow! That hurt!"

vs

Bob walked into the bar and said, "ow! That hurt!"


Maybe its all my time doing paper in grad school, the missing said FEELS wrong.
I should have said that I prefer a minimum of he said, she said. Generally you need a few to keep track although I have read books that had very few and it was all quite clear.

What I mean generally is something like this.

Quote:
"You want me to come along and keep you from getting mugged?" Hawk said. He had white wine. I had beer.
"No, I'll risk that alone," I said. "I want you to look into things from the other end."
"Tony Marcus?"
"Yeah. '
"That's the top end."
"True." I said. "You start there and I'll keep rooting around down here at the bottom. Maybe if I work up and you work down we'll meet somewhere and know something.-"You care how I do it?" Hawk said. He sipped some wine.
"No. You know Marcus. You know the people around him. See if anything is up. All I want is the kid."
Hawk nodded. He sipped some more wine. "You going back and look around the Zone again."
I nodded. My beer was gone. The bartender drew me another.
Hawk was looking at me. "You know Marcus," Hawk said.
"Yeah."
"You know if something is up, it is something very heavy."
...Yeah."
(Robert B. Parker)
Overall in reading I don't care much, if at all, but the first audiobook I tried was extremely liberal in the he said department. Possibly the fault of the reader, but it made me squirm.

Helen
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:30 PM   #15
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