the whole-y grail

the whole-y grail

the whole-y grail

Official blog of the warden ettinger group, a full-service, Phila., PA-based PR firm serving a diverse consumer, lifestyle + nonprofit clientele. Our culinary division, The Whole Enchilada PR, caters to restaurateurs, chefs + other food-related businesses, while "the word exchange" is aimed at clients seeking à la carte copywriting services.

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words to live by: 10 rules of writing

August 23, 2013 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

→This past week has been a busy one around here, which left us short on time to properly acknowledge the death of Elmore Leonard. A novelist (best known as a crime writer) and screenwriter (Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma, The Big Bounce and a whole lot more…), Leonard valued the art of the word, and even more importantly, the art of NOT using the word. Though we live in an era of soundbites, texts and 140-character commentary, too many of us (myself included) haven’t fully realized the “less is more” power of writing, and equally so, the lasting impression of a well-timed word.
Much has been written about Leonard this week, and I hope that if you have not yet done so, that you’ll cozy up with one of your devices and take the time to catch up on and honor one of America’s greatest writers. In the meantime, next time you have a writing assignment, regardless of genre or format, Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing will leave you—and your readers—better off.
“Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.” 
 
“The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind It out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write.” 
  • 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”…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.
Thanks for keeping us in line, Mr. Leonard. And more so, for the inspiration.  —@eatDEWwrite
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