Book Review – Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing – Author: Elmore Leonard

Issue #10
Blog #7-2015
Section: Book Reviews
Blogger: Joseph Clay


10 Rules of Writing
4 Stars out of 5

This book review will be short, like the book.

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing is a cloth covered hardback book that is pleasing to the eye. The dark brown leather like material that encases the spine, reminds me of ostrich hide.

The book measures 5.25 wide X .750 tall X .875 thick, and contains 89 pages.

The pages are a thick card stock material adding volume to the book. They will last a while, even with constant use, although the card stock makes it hard to flip through the book.which you will be able to read in ten minutes.

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing is a witty book, humorous at times, with good information tossed in making it a fun easy read. The message Leonard conveys is a simple one, all authors have his or her own style with weakness’ and strengths.

Leonard compares his rules to other famous writers, and how if you are them, throw his rule out the window. From reading it I would venture to guess that Steinbeck was one of his favorites, he references him on more than one occasion.

The title alone tells us this is not a comprehensive how to write instruction manual. The apostrophe followed by ‘s’ as in Leonard’s shows ownership. He is telling us the rules are his, you can take them or leave them.

He proves that with a blurb to open the book.

“These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.” – Source Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing Page 3

What does all the above mean? Simply put, don’t think you’re going to pick this little gem up, and read 89 pages of in-depth wisdom from Mr. Leonard, it ain’t going to happen.

The printed text falls on the odd-numbered pages. The even-numbered ones, along with some of the odds, contain great illustrations by Joe Ciardiello. Some are nothing but white space.

Now on to the meat of the book, the ten rules, each listed on a page all by themselves, hey, they are important, but a whole page for one sentence?

The page or in a rare case pages that follow explains that rule, in a short one or two paragraph statement.

The rules themselves have merit, the man wrote over 45 novels and made a good living putting pen to paper.

I checked the book pictured out from the public library, the price on the back has it selling for 14.95 in the USA and 17.50 in Canada.

I’m sure that was back in 2007 when published. The question that weighed in my mind, and maybe yours, are we willing to pay upwards of 20.00 bucks for a book that is full of white space, you can read in ten minutes?

My answer is yes!

Elmore Leonard was a great American novelist who’ll be missed by readers and writers all over the world. I don’t like his writing style, see my review on Fire in the Hole, but this book is a corky explanation of the rules he follows.

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing will grace my shelves.

[Bloggers Note: I purchased a new copy of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing in 2017 from my friends at Atomic Nashville. The list price was 16.99. The brown leather like binding was now a light red almost pink. I referee to the book for the rules but mostly for a chuckle. In my opinion it was well worth the money.]

My rating, 4 out of 5 Stars, of  Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing is high compared to what other people thought about this book.

I think the low amount of stars given at times comes from misunderstanding what the book is about. I rated the book for what it was, and entertaining look into how Elmore Leonard thinks.

[Bloggers note: The book review of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing was originally published on 2.27-15 on Joseph Clay – Author Official Blog. The review was moved to this site 5-19-18.]

©2018 ThunderHorse Publishing



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