Today, I am going to tackle another of Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules For Writing:
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.
Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I am not criticizing Mr. Leonard’s writing style. He does what he does very well. I am just touching on why not all of us may want to write like him.
What is the number one thing that people skip? (Come on, admit it, you probably skip stuff, too…unless the “you” in question happens to be my husband, who probably never skips anything.)
The answer, of course, is description.
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