I have been collecting quotes from famous – and not so famous – authors over the years and thought I might share some with you.
STEPHEN KING – ‘See everything before you write it’
WILLIAM SAFFIRE – ‘Verbs have to agree with their subjects.’
GEORGE ORWELL – ‘Never use the passive when you can use the active.’
ELMORE LEONARD – ‘Never use a verb other than said to carry dialogue.’
AND ‘Never use the word suddenly.’
DORIS LESSING – ‘There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.
ELIZABETH BOWEN – ‘Nothing happens nowhere.’ The failure to establish a sense of where or when the story takes place can leave readers bred or confused or both.
Take from these what you will.
I have to say that Leonard’s quote of never using the word suddenly is one to take on board. It certainly improved my novel when I took it out of a sentence where I had used it.