Rules of Good Writing – Approach with Caution

When Elmore Leonard died on Tuesday, his 10 rules of good writing seemed to pop up all over the internet.  You can read Judge Shaking FingerLeonard’s full explanation of his 10 points in an article he wrote for the New York Times here

There are a lot of other “tips on writing” and “writers’ guides” to be found simply by using Google. I’ve read quite a few of them, and there are plenty more. But I’ve started to feel that if I was to read everything out there, I doubt I’d actually write anything because I’d be too concerned about breaking a rule; or if  I was to write, the result would be dry, stilted, lacking in any style and not true to myself for fear of falling foul of any of the many guidelines.

Having said that, one set of  thoughts which I enjoyed were set out by Jose Rivera. Rivera’s 36 Assumptions About Playwriting are more a list of thought-provoking insights rather than what to do and what not to do.

For me, I think that it’s a case of listening to the advice of those writers and authors who I most associate with and admire and taking the elements that ring true for my writing, rather than following every rule that’s written.

So if you ever get to read any of my writing, you’ll understand why there might be a few rules which have been broken, but hopefully it won’t fall into the bracket of crimes against writing.


6 thoughts on “Rules of Good Writing – Approach with Caution

  1. Just came back from reading 10 Rules of Good Writing. Phew…so glad I do most of those. I’m especially fond of dialogue…I hate paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptive prose. Stop already! I know what the sky looks like and that the grass is green…we don’t need a bunch of words describing the varying shades of blue and green.


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