Famed crime novelist Elmore Leonard passed away this week. His gritty, dialogue-driven thrillers have helped to distinguish American popular fiction since he began writing more than fifty years ago. He published a famous op-ed in the New York times in 2001 summarizing all the essentials a beginning (or experienced) writer needs to know. I found his straightforward, timeless advice invaluable when drafting my manuscript and now in the re-write process as well. Some of his gems include axing adverbs, using only ‘said’ for dialogue and re-writing anything that reads like writing. If you’re a writer, or want to become one, don’t miss his advice.