Elmore Leonard passed away. At 87, it was to be expected, but it is still sad nevertheless. I have to confess, I was disappointed by Djibouti, but he wrote so many great crime novels. I still remember discovering him with Glitz and being blown away. Elmore Leonard had such... I was about to say talent, but this is such a cliché and so ridiculous to say this about a veteran writer, especially such a prolific writer. Leonard has mastery, skills. He was a maestro of crime fiction. I had wanted to quote his ten rules of writing, I didn't know when, then sadly tonight became the occasion. It sums up why he is so admired:
"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."
He also added one to sum up the ten: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." A maestro's words. He will be missed, but his work is immortal (and he wouldn't have forgiven me for this cliché).
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