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Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing First Edition first Printing Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0061451461
ISBN-10: 0061451460
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“(It) won me over. The illustrations, by Joe Ciardiello, are perfectly Leonardesque; the paper is art-book luxurious.” (Boston Globe)

“It’s hard to argue with the master of the craft. Clever line drawings by Joe Ciardiello spice things up.” (Christian Science Monitor)

About the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition first Printing edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061451460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061451461
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What we have here is an 85-page hardback book that has the contents of a 4-page article from the New York Times. How is this possible? You can use cardstock instead of paper, to make the book 3/4" thick. Then you put one paragraph on a page. And on other pages, you put one sentence. Make 85% of the book white space, and make the book pretty small. Add some pen and ink drawings on some pages. Pretty soon, this hardback book is starting to look like a hardback book. You can't bend the pages (remember that they are made of cardstock). How long does it take to read this hardback book? A little bit longer than reading an essay in the NY Times. The pages are easier to turn in the NY Times.

It is interesting that the Tag Suggestions provided by Amazon.com include the terms "ripoff" and "rip off". I'll choose "rip off" as it takes up more space and will make this review seem much more like the length of a hardback book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps this is a nice book to look at in print.

But Kindle readers beware: the text is only a few hundred words long and can be easily found on the net for free.

This makes the Kindle version very poor value indeed.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is considered by many readers a rip-off, a magazine article bloated into a book.
My own thought upon reading the rules themselves is that they are simply Leonard's rules for describing his own successful form of mystery story - telling.
His rules are primarily rules for what not to do, rules for making the writing economical, for making the story move without distraction.
Do not open the story with descriptions of the weather: Do not write a prologue: Never use a verb for dialogue other than 'said': Avoid detailed description of characters: Don't go into detail describing places and things: If it sounds like 'writing' correct it i.e. He explains that 'writing' is that too complicated in which one begins sentences with dependent clauses.
All in all a quite meager recipe although it does describe Leonard's practice.
If one wants to read something wonderful although a bit unkind on rules and writing one should look at Mark Twain's great essay on the errors in the writing of Fenimore Cooper.
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Format: Hardcover
If you want a book that will help you improve your fiction writing, this, in my opinion is not it. It is nothing more than a magazine article stretched to fill a book. And i use the word "fill" loosely; there is a lot of white on the pages. Disappointing, too, because the author does know a thing or two about dialogue; he just chose not to share any of that in this book. For something really worth reading, I suggest Stein on Writing, and The Art and Craft of Novel Writing, by Oakley Hall.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this "book" prior to its release because I couldn't see how I could go wrong with Elmore Leonard. But I did go wrong, very wrong. It is, as other reviewers have detailed, a flimsy, no-brainer of a book, whose contents would barely fill the dustcover of one of Mr. Leonard's bonafide masterpieces.

Never buy a book on the strength of its cover: A hackneyed, yet valid, addage that I disregarded with true regret. On the strength of this experience I will never order another book without being able to glimpse its contents first.

I am also disappointed that Amazon would ballyhoo this book and solicit preorders without some caveat to fans of Mr. Leonard who had good reason to expect so much more.
3 Comments 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
When I found out my long time favourite pulp writer Elmore Leonard had written about writing, it did not take a lot of thinking before I ordered the book.
A writer of journalistic texts myself, I always try to pick up what masters like Leonard have to say on the subject.
Leonards views are similar to what i already adapted,but some knew stuff were found to.
And the layout is really nice, just as the illustrations.
Leonards rules are the best you can get, and he has adapted them on this text too, which makes it short and effective.
Maybe a bit too effective.
It doesn't take more than half an hour to read through the book.
But on the other hand, that is part of his message.
Take away everything unnecessary.
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Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed in the content of this book. I was expecting some meaty advice on writing and instead got cute pen & ink drawings and no helpful info. A waste of time and money!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Let me start this by saying I love Elmore Leonard and I've got a summary of his ten rules of writing pinned up on my wall. With that being said, do not buy this book. The rules are great, but they're taken from an article Mr. Leonard once wrote for the New York Times. There's nothing new added to this, you can just do a search for the rules and save yourself some cash.

At the very least, there should have been additional material in here. Use each of the rules to start off a chapter explaining why Mr. Leonard considers this a good rule, with examples as well. That would have made for a great read.

On the basis of the rules itself, I want to award this five stars. They're rules I feel every writer should incorporate into their work. But as a book, it's overpriced and severely lacking in content. On that I would give it one star. So that's how I came to my three star halfway point.
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