I think this whole thing started with The Guardian's "Ten rules for writing fiction". Check it out.
In particular, Elmore Leonard has an excellent list:
- 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" .
- Keep your exclamation points under control.
- 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, unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language.
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
We pretty much live by these rules in my critique group.
Which author's tip(s) do you find helpful?
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