What was Leonard’s secret to success as a writer? Here are 10 tips which were taken from a New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle.”
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 parts that readers tend to skip.
And the most important bonus rule that sums up number 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.