10 rules for writers

Since we’re on the subject, and since I seem to be doing anything to avoid housework, today’s Guardian’s Review section has a feature where writers give their 10 rules for writers. I don’t think any of them are radical, but the way they express them is a joy.

My favorite is from Elmore Leonard:

Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.

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