The Score is Still Q to 12

Rules: E.B. White had a book full of ’em and George Orwell boiled it down to six. Stephen King has a book of his own. It seems like when you start hanging around in writing circles, everyone has a few of their own and recite them like gospel. I don’t mean grammatical, syntactical rules, but the maxims like “use strong verbs” and “forgo prologues” and “begin as late in a story as possible.” Some are common sense, some are debatable, and some are contradictory.I’ve become an agnostic when it comes to these rules, even though two of the most famous rule-mongers are on my short list of favorite writers (White and Orwell, with all due respect to Mr. King), but I’m particularly struck by Elmore Leonard’s rules, because even with my agnosticism and belligerence in regard to various listings and rubrics, I usually fare pretty well by them — but by Elmore Leonard’s rules, I am a total failure. Continue reading