Chronicling the journey of writing

by Veronica Louis

Three exclamation marks

Image: Veronica Louis

I recently came across Elmore Leonard’s writing rules and thought that he was right on the money. The recently deceased novelist wrote many books that were later adapted into film such as Get Shorty, Be Cool and Rum Punch (Jackie Brown). Leonard overall, encouraged authors to show instead of tell, to remain invisible and to rewrite if the writing sounds like writing.

My favorite suggestion? “If proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” That’s right, in the world of literature rules are meant to be broken.

The ten rules are described in detail in Leonard’s New York Times article Writers on Writing; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle

A Summary of the 10 Rules

1. Never open a book with weather.

2. Avoid prologues.

3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.

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

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Update on My Book

August 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Turning 30 | Writing - (1 Comments)

by Veronica Louis

Quote from Virginia Woolf: So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.


This website’s theme, “10,000 hours,” is about spending a significant amount of time doing one thing until becoming an expert at it. But regardless of the becoming an expert part, the bottom line is to find something you love to do, and to do it, a lot.

In my case, while I love doing so many things, such as designing and teaching, my main focus right now is my writing. More specifically, working on my novel, I started this project at the beginning of the year, and after many false starts (four to be exact), the current book stuck and the words kept on flowing until the characters, plot and story development were solid. I just recently hit 40,000 words of my first draft and I’m giving myself a congratulatory pat on the shoulders.

What’s great is that I see the end in sight. I know my destination, so I know I’m going to get there. I’m not quite sure if there will be stopovers and detours along the way, but ultimately I know where my characters and story are heading, and because I know this, everything falls into place. (more…)

by Veronica Louis

Purple female stick figure and Green male stick figure

Image: Veronica Louis

I came across an interesting entry in the journal my English teacher made us keep in high school.  I was 15, and I thought writing about color gender was more meaningful than writing about my future. Yet, I have to agree with my 15-year-old self, when she wrote that the difference between Honey (my English class journal) and other males, was that Honey, understood me.


October 7, 1998

My Future*

(*The topic may be subject to change without notice).

Dear Honey, I decided to change my handwriting for this entry. Which one do you like best? Like this or like this? Like this is faster but like this is nicer. Anyways, for this entry, I’ll stick to like this. (more…)

Describing the Indescribable

August 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Authors | Writing - (3 Comments)

by Veronica Louis

The  Little Prince Illustration

Image: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

There are times when I’m upset, I turn to writing to break down my emotions into words, transcribing sentiments into strings of letters and spaces. Perhaps that is why the word indescribable has always intrigued me, because by definition it’s something that cannot be described. Essentially, using the word indescribable to describe anything is a paradox.

I believe that there are no limitations to manipulating words to express unique or “indescribable” sentiments. Just like the rapid brush strokes on canvas can capture motion and the photographic composition can reflect nuances of light, writing can depict the depth of one’s soul.

Perhaps that is why the classics stay alive, and comfort us like dear old friends, long after their authors have left our realm. A good book can never die because a good book captures the essence of life. (more…)

by Veronica Louis

Screen shot from Afraid of “Why doesn’t she just eat?”

If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard this phrase about my best friend who suffers from an eating disorder, I would be rich. It’s only when one takes the time to really see beyond the superficial and the stereotypes that one can start understanding the complexities and mysteries of life. And having an eating disorder is one of those complex mysteries.

The misconception that anorexics are a bunch of skinny teenage girls who just starve themselves because they just don’t want to get fat is prevalent.  It’s prevalent, but that does not make it accurate. It’s a collective fallacy. Anorexia and bulimia affects females and males alike, of all ages.

The fact is that anorexia and bulimia are real illnesses and physiological disorders, not unlike alcoholism. And if one cannot ask an alcoholic, “Why can you just not drink?” How can one possibly ask the opening question to this post to someone who suffers from anorexia? There is always a story behind the symptom. (more…)