Here's a fun book brought to my attention on the back page of the current TLS:
Every Day a Word Surprises Me (Phaidon). It offers, among other things, a list of advice from various writers.
1. Never use an adverb. (Elmore Leonard)
2. Avoid the use of adjectives. (Hemingway)
3. Incompetence will show in the use of too many words. (Ezra Pound)
4. Interesting verbs are not very interesting. (Jonathan Franzen)
5.Eliminate every superfluous word. (Hemingway again)
6. Avoid detailed description of characters. (Elmore Leonard again)
7. Don't go into great detail describing places. (Elmore Leonard. I think I have his book on writing, or an essay?)
So: no adverbs, adjectives or interesting verbs, not too many words, especially superfluous ones., and not too much description of places. As a playwright, I heartily concur with all of the above, especially easy on the description. When I was at Radcliffe on a fellowship (that was 1989/90, at the Bunting Institute) I was privileged to go free to every reading or lecture and/or to participate in any seminars or workshops that appealed to me. (I took one on diaries with the late Hope Davis, mother of Lydia Davis, that resulted a year or so later in my book, Reading between the Lines:The Diaries of Women. (Key Porter Books). I was thrilled then to attend a talk by Wendy Wasserstein (1950-2006), the multi-prize-winning playwright of The Heidi Chronicles (1989; It won the Pulitzer and the New York Drama Critics and the Tony prizes for best play.) She said she loved to write plays because she didn't have to write description of rooms or decor, or costumes or stuff like that. Me neither. In fact, right now I have awaiting for me to polish a complete manuscript of a cosy mystery that requires fuller description of the house where fatalities (murders?) occur. It's on my list to do this summer, after a long delay. No one is waiting for it. When I finish it, I'll have to try to sell it. Ay, there's the rub.
Anyway, I intend to find the book of word surprises. I'll try the Book Depository.