Dutch rules for writing

Just spotted this on Grumpy’s blog. Elmore ‘Dutch’ Leonard – author of ‘Get Shorty’, ‘Out of Sight’, and countless other solid works – has a ‘top ten’ list that attempts to illustrate the most common writing mistakes and how to correct them.

They all look pretty good to me. But I must observe that Dutch is rather strict when he writes that one should only use the verb ‘to say’ for dialogue. I’m not so sure. Then, what do I know? I’ve only written one book. Dutch has written dozens. Perhaps I haven’t learned this one yet…

While I think about it, The Elements of Style contains, in concise form, just about every writing principle I’ve managed to learn over the years – and plenty I haven’t.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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