Elmore Leonard's ten rules for writing have become famous among writers since he published them in the New York Times back in 2001. They have even been published recently as an illustrated booklet. When a great writer tells you how to do it, you pay attention.
Partly writers love them because they are simple and practical. For instance, rule #1: "Never open a book with weather." Also, rule #8, "Avoid detailed descriptions of characters."
I do believe everyone's favorite is rule #10: "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." He gives some examples of what that part consists of, but he brings it all home when he concludes, "I'll bet you don't skip dialogue."
What struck me most though was the first sentence of the article in which he originally presented the ten rules: "These are rules I've picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I'm writing a book . . . ."
Invisible? The author? He goes on to say, "If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip these rules."
So I ask myself, when someone reads my pages, do I want them to think, "this is a good story," or do I want them to think, "this is a good writer?"
I'm doing my best to be invisible, like Elmore.