These rules of writing from Elmore Leonard, and others in his wake, are worth your time even if it seems like this is the kind of list that comes out every spring or thereabouts. They are rules supposedly for fiction but can be retrofit for academics. Writing is writing, except for certain forms of postmodernism, I am not sure what that is.

I have egregiously violated the adverb rule, it is true.

The good academic writers (a subset far removed from the merely good academics) all can write. It is that simple, more or less. William Appleman Williams comes to mind. Michael Taussig. C. Vann Woodward. _____________.

I like Richard Ford's suggestion: "Don't take any shit if you can ­possibly help it."

But the suggestion to read, made by many of these people, is the best one.


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