Whether you're an old hand or a newbie who is serious about learning to write, the advice is the same: dig in and get that first book out of you.

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Elmore Leonard's punchy style and compelling characters has Hollywood continually coming back to his work. Some of the many adaptations of his writing are highlighted in this post.

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Imagine a shorthand that works for complex storytelling as well as true shorthand works for speeding up general writing. A writer's shorthand does exist, with the use of placeholding “things-yet-to-be-written” in brackets.

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Your book's structure is the tool that will gather up your readers and keep them following along with you; it's the tie that binds all the parts of your story together, from end to end, and in the middle too.

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Most authors probably wish they had a gauge of some kind to stick into the pages to tell them when their book is done. It’s not just new, inexperienced writers who have that wish. Most published authors I’ve posed the question to say the same thing: it’s hard to know when to put down the virtual pen.

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Your first draft might be a brain dump, so it's on you to rid subsequent drafts of holes, sleeping pills and imposters. What's your Achilles' heel: tangential, rambling, or missing content?

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The emotional map of your book is different than the plot, though the two are tightly related. Being aware of this emotional current can bring clarity to your writing, and is a powerful way to progress your story.

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