Sunday, November 11, 2012

Elmore Leonard: Crime Paid This Writer, In Dollars And Honors

My friend and former editor Frank Wilson wrote an interesting piece on Elmore Leonard, one of my favorite writers, in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

'If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
That, says Elmore Leonard, is the rule that sums up his famous "Ten Rules of Writing," a sort of manifesto in miniature on behalf of the plain style (sample: "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip").

Leonard has written 45 novels, starting with The Bounty Hunters in 1953. About half of them have made it to the New York Times' best-seller list, including his latest, Raylan. Seventeen have been made into films, sometimes more than once, most notably 3:10 to Yuma (two versions), Hombre, 52 Pick-up (two versions), and Get Shorty. Quentin Tarantino's third film, Jackie Brown, was based on Leonard's Rum Punch. Then there's the TV series Justified.

So even people who don't read much are likely to be familiar with Leonard's work.

Commercial success as a writer only rarely translates into literary respect, and usually only too late for the writer to enjoy it. But Leonard has garnered some highfalutin fans over the years. Saul Bellow was one. And so is Martin Amis, who calls Leonard's prose "far more stylish" than Raymond Chandler's and says that Leonard is "incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence." In fact, Amis will be the presenter on Wednesday night when Leonard receives the National Book Foundation's 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

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