Elmore Leonard: An Appreciation

To readers and moviegoers, Elmore Leonard was a writer who entertained them for decades, and whose work will surely continue to do so for years.

For authors, he was that and more. For some, a friend, a colleague, a mentor.  For countless more, a writer whose influence not only defined modern crime fiction, but reached far beyond it.

Of course he had his well-known admirers.  “I think Elmore Leonard is the great American writer,” Stephen King said. Martin Amis called him, “incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence.” Saul Bellow famously had Leonard’s books on his shelves.

But for every big name author who has praised him, many lesser known writers have his “10 Rules of Writing” taped to their computers or committed to memory. It’s hard to imagine an author who wouldn’t benefit from continually returning to rule number 10: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

We are proud to say that Elmore Leonard was a member of the Authors Guild for more than 40 years. And we are gratified to see the outpouring of tributes marking his passing.

We are including links here to some of those tributes, as well as older articles about him. But we suggest you start with the first piece, written by Elmore Leonard himself.

WRITERS ON WRITING; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle

Elmore Leonard dies: ‘Get Shorty’ author was 87

Crime writer George Pelecanos’ 5 favorite Elmore Leonard novels

Author Chat: Elmore Leonard and Martin Amis

Interview with Elmore and Peter Leonard

Elmore Leonard, At Home In Detroit

Comments: more
  • Jean Ann Pollard

    Elmore Leonard was not only a
    truly First Class, A++ Gold Star writer, but a kind kind professional.

    While half crazy with trying
    to escape a publisher who was tearing one of my novels apart for no good reason,
    I felt very much in need of encouraging words, and asked him if he’d ever
    experienced such a horrifying thing.

    His delicious response was “I
    wouldn’t submit a grocery list to your… publisher…” Then he added succinct suggestions for going
    forward, and ended with “Don’t jump off the bridge. Keep writing.”

    What a guy!

    Jean Ann Pollard

  • Caroline Stutson

    What a wonderful way to remember Elmore Leonard! I’m revising a book I’m writing and definitely plan to “try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”
    Thanks for sharing his writing wisdom today.