Sometimes I feel like I have no reason to post about a subject because a story broke a few days ago and it’s been analysed by a crowd of eager bloggers since then. Other times I stumble on an article written over six years ago that grabs me enough to make me want to share it. Elmore Leonard writes on writing, covering his most important ten suggestions (or in today’s parlance “top ten tips”) for improving your writing by keeping it out of the way of what you’re trying to say.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…

…he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs.”