Good writing is good writing, whatever the genre.
I enjoyed reading Elmore Leonard. You’ve probably seen his 10 writing rules posted the last few days. I’ve been following some of them all along, not even realizing they were his.
1. Never open a book with weather.
Yep, I knew this.
2. Avoid prologues.
Mysteries frequently have them and they can be fun as teasers. But they should be short, I think.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
In general, but romances need some whispers, murmurs, etc.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
No. We need more in a romance!
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
Agreed. It becomes tiresome for the reader.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
I have to depart here — in romance writing we must describe the protagonists very clearly.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
Just enough to ground the reader in the setting. More than that gets boring.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
That would be all the historical and landscape gobbledy. And any political droning on. Because we want to read about the relationships between the characters! That’s why we pick up a romance novel and not a travel guide to Scotland.
Do you have any writing rules for yourself?