- Never open a book with weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
- Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
- Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
And the most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
- "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
Other great Leonard quotes:
- “Skip the boring parts.”
- “It's my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.”
- “I started out of course with Hemingway when I learned how to write. Until I realized Hemingway doesn't have a sense of humor. He never has anything funny in his stories.”
- “It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.”
- “Psychopaths... people who know the differences between right and wrong, but don't give a shit. That's what most of my characters are like.”
My favorite one of his works was Get Shorty, but he wrote all sorts of great stuff. If you aren't familiar with him, check out his official website here: https://www.elmoreleonard.com/