Reported today that writer Elmore Leonard died at the age of 87. Just a few of his novels and short stories that were turned into movies and TV series: 3:10 to Yuma (1957, 2007), Get Shorty (1995), Jackie Brown (1997), Out of Sight (1998), and “Justified” (2010-2014). Leonard was also a screenwriter with several film and TV movie credits including Stick (1985), 52 Pick-Up (1986), and Desperado (1987).
Here are some notable press reports on Leonard’s death:
Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules for writing:
- Never open a book with weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely.
- Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
A 2001 Writers on Writing piece Leonard did about his rules in the NYT.
A 2002 New York Review of Books review by Margaret Atwood on Leonard’s novel “Cops and Robbers.”
A 2004 feature on Leonard in the Guardian.
10 Elmore Leonard movies you can watch online right now.
For several videos with Leonard on the craft of writing including a rare 1984 sit-down, hit More.
And a special treat, this 1984 interview:
Godspeed, Elmore Leonard.
Feel free to share your thoughts about Leonard in comments.