Legendary crime novelist Elmore Leonard passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87. Leonard produced almost 50 novels and short stories along with 9 screenplays. A great number of his works were adapted into films such as Mr. Majestyk, Out Of Sight, 52-Pick Up, Get Shorty and 3:10 To Yuma (twice). Many creators have gone to twitter to post their condolences. Chuck Palahniuk linked to Leonard's Writer's On Writing article that ran in the New York Times back in 2001.
These were his basic 10 rules:
Never open a book with weather.
Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said"…he admonished gravely.
Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
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.
Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Other industry responses to the passing:
"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." R.I.P. legend Elmore Leonard, author of 3:10 to Yuma. Out of Sight, and Jackie Brown (Rum Punch).
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 20, 2013
Aw hell, I was on the road all day and missed that Elmore Leonard died. RIP, the master of pulp fiction.
— Ed Brubaker (@brubaker) August 21, 2013
RIP Elmore Leonard. Leonard had a big impact on my work, which might not be obvious in the Sandman Slim… http://t.co/I0FdZp81Hv
— Richard Kadrey (@Richard_Kadrey) August 20, 2013
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) August 20, 2013
Just wrecked by news of Elmore Leonard's passing. Want to learn how to write? Go read Elmore Leonard.
— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) August 20, 2013
RIP, Elmore Leonard. Such an amazing talent and huge influence for so many writers.
— Duane Swierczynski (@swierczy) August 20, 2013