Finally, for the Filofacts section of this site, which is supposed to build into the essential steam-powered go-anywhere personal organiser, here are Elmore’s 10 Rules For Writers, summarised by me from a summary in the Guardian – http://tinyurl.com/kd3g4lr/ – when Elmore published the rules as a book (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) …
1 Never open with a weather report. Or as Elmore’s son Peter recalled the advice: “I recited the opening line: ‘The wind howled like a beast in pain.’ Elmore took a beat and said: ‘Never open a book from the wind’s point of view.’”
2 Avoid prologues – especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword.
3 Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said, as in “gravely” or “laughingly”.
5 Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed two or three per 100,000 words.
6 Never use the word “suddenly”.
7 Use regional dialect sparingly.
8 Avoid detailed descriptions of how characters look.
9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things either.
10 Try to recognise when you are writing the bits readers tend to skip.
In summary: if it reads like writing, rewrite it.