In Memoriam: Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

August 20th, 2013 by

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:



Hollywood Reporter


Los Angeles Times


New York Times


The Wrap



Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules for writing:

  1.  Never open a book with weather.
  2.  Avoid prologues.
  3.  Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4.  Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely.
  5.  Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6.  Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7.  Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8.  Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9.  Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10.  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.

Comment Archive

3 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

  1. Debbie Moon says:

    A fantastic writer, and a sad loss. Learnt a lot about character from his novels…

  2. […] story has just ended its fifth season. An excellent series in my opinion! Leonard thought so too. This tribute to Leonard has just been published on the […]

Leave a Reply