Elmore Leonard

Literary Birthday – 11 October – Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard was born 11 October 1925 and died 20 August 2013.

Elmore Leonard Quotes

  1. A writer has to read. Read all the time. Decide who you like then study that author’s style. Take the author’s book or story and break it down to see how he put it together.
  2. The main thing I set out to do is tell the point of view of the antagonist as much as the good guy. And that’s the big difference between the way I write and the way most mysteries are written.
  3. The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind It out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write
  4. It is the most satisfying thing I can think of, to write a scene and have it come out the way I want. Or be surprised and have it come out even better than I thought.
  5. Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.
  6. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in.
  7. I think any writer is a fool if he doesn’t do it for money. There needs to be some kind of incentive in addition to the project. It all goes together. It’s fun to sit there and think of characters and get them into action, then be paid for it. I can’t believe it when writers tell me ‘I don’t want to show my work to anybody’.
  8. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.
  9. I focus on characters as individuals with attitudes and write each scene from a particular character’s point of view. That way, even narrative passages take on the character’s sound. I don’t want the reader to be aware of me, writing.
  10. A line of dialogue is not clear enough if you need to explain how it’s said.

Read: Elmore Leonard’s 11 Rules For Writing Fiction

Elmore Leonard was an American novelist and screenwriter. He started writing westerns, but went on to specialise in crime fiction and thrillers, many of which were adapted for film. His best-known works are Get ShortyOut of Sight, and Rum Punch, which was filmed as Jackie Brown.

Source for Image


Peabody Awards, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Source for quotes / quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 11th October 2012