CommCore Blog and News

Elmore Leonard’s rules of writing


None of the obituaries for Elmore Leonard matched his writing style.  The best article I read was a reprint of an interview in the Detroit Free Press, which listed Leonard’s 10 rules for writing.
Death is as good a news hook as any to focus on what makes good writing. Most of CommCore’s work is in non-fiction business writing, but many of his suggestions apply.

I loved the rule:  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.”

I’ve always thought that to be a good writer, means being your own best editor.  Writing takes time and careful editing.  In the blog and twitter world, there is a pressure for speed over economy.  Heed the advice of Mr. Leonard.  Focus on the what the reader needs, not everything you want to say.