Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The writer stumbles.



Last night, late, I stumbled upon an important essay, "10 Tricks to Good Writing" by the brilliant and prolific author, Elmore Leonard. You can read the whole thing here: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/16/books/16LEON.html?pagewanted=1 but, Leonard, being a good writer sums up his entire essay in just a few words.

"My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."


While Leonard's rules are specifically about writing, everyone of them can be brought back to advertising. People in advertising most often are comfortable making ads that "sound like ads." It's comfortable. It's something you've seen before. It's comforting. It's what you expect.

That's advertising at its very second best.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Comparing what Elmore Leonard does to advertising copywriting is like comparing Lyndon Johnson's skill as a Seante majority leader to Harry Reid's. Leonard is an artist. Copywriters are paid shills.

geo said...

Anonymous, We can still make things simple and human.

Jake P. said...

Very interesting stuff, Geo. I'm not much of a New York Times fan (disclosure: used to work there, I'm jaded), but I appreciate when someone unearths the occasional gems. Thank you.