Tag Archives: money

Prince (b. June 7th): “Money won’t buy happiness, but it’ll pay for the search.”

7 Jun

prince1

“Money won’t buy you happiness, but it’ll pay for the search.”

~ Prince, b. 7 June 1958

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462267937/

Elmore Leonard (b. October 11): “Leave out the part readers tend to skip” & 10 other rules of writing

11 Oct

Elmore Leonard (11 October 1925 – 20 August 2013) was an American novelist and screenwriter. He started writing westerns, but went on to specialize in crime fiction and thrillers, many of which were adapted for film. His best-known works are Get ShortyOut of Sight, and Rum Punch, which was filmed as Jackie Brown.

Elmore Leonard’s 11 Rules of Writing Fiction

  1. Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leap ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.
  2. Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.
  5. Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “Ameri­can and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
  11. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

 

 

Prince (b. June 7th): “Money won’t buy happiness, but it’ll pay for the search.”

7 Jun

prince1

“Money won’t buy you happiness, but it’ll pay for the search.”

~ Prince, b. 7 June 1958

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462267937/

Sean O’Casey (b. March 30): “Money doesn’t make you happy but it quiets the nerves.”

30 Mar

ocasey

Seán O’Casey (born 30 March 1880, died 18 September 1964) was an Irish dramatist and memoirist who wrote about life in the slums of Dublin in plays like The Shadow of a Gunman and The Plough and the Stars.

Quotes:

  1. Money doesn’t make you happy but it quiets the nerves.
  2. When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me.
  3. All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
  4. Politics has slain its thousands, but religion has slain its ten thousands.
  5. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
  6. Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.
  7. You can’t put a rope around the neck of an idea. You can’t put an idea up against the barrack-square wall and riddle it with bullets. You can’t confine it in the strongest prison cell your slaves could ever build.

 

Elmore Leonard (b. October 11): “Leave out the part readers tend to skip” & 10 other rules of writing

11 Oct

Elmore Leonard (11 October 1925 – 20 August 2013) was an American novelist and screenwriter. He started writing westerns, but went on to specialize in crime fiction and thrillers, many of which were adapted for film. His best-known works are Get ShortyOut of Sight, and Rum Punch, which was filmed as Jackie Brown.

Elmore Leonard’s 11 Rules of Writing Fiction

  1. Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leap ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.
  2. Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.
  5. Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “Ameri­can and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
  11. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

 

 

Prince (b. June 7th): “Money won’t buy happiness, but it’ll pay for the search.”

7 Jun

prince1

“Money won’t buy you happiness, but it’ll pay for the search.”

~ Prince, b. 7 June 1958

pinterest.com/pin/39406565462267937/

Sean O’Casey (b. March 30): “Money doesn’t make you happy but it quiets the nerves.”

30 Mar

ocasey

Seán O’Casey (born 30 March 1880, died 18 September 1964) was an Irish dramatist and memoirist who wrote about life in the slums of Dublin in plays like The Shadow of a Gunman and The Plough and the Stars.

Quotes:

  1. Money doesn’t make you happy but it quiets the nerves.
  2. When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me.
  3. All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
  4. Politics has slain its thousands, but religion has slain its ten thousands.
  5. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
  6. Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.
  7. You can’t put a rope around the neck of an idea. You can’t put an idea up against the barrack-square wall and riddle it with bullets. You can’t confine it in the strongest prison cell your slaves could ever build.

 

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