“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Today I find novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing. He eventually summarizes all of his wisdom in eight little words:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

You might ask, “Well, what should it sound like, then?”

It should sound like your voice. It should sound like an actual person talking. When this happens, we won’t be able to resist you. We’ll feel such rapport that we’ll gobble up the words.

But how?

It’s about rhythm. It’s about the rise and fall. The voice comes out when you vary sentence lengths and openings. The voice comes out in dashes and semicolons and parentheses and commas. It comes in word choice.

You’re really making music, and somewhere in there, you come out. We can’t wait to meet you.


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