On Tuesday morning, crime novelist Elmore Leonard died of complications from a stroke. He was 87.
As a writer, Leonard produced a long series of bestselling short stories and novels that also proved ripe for adaptation, spawning commercial and critical hits like Out of Sight, Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma, and the ongoing FX drama Justified. But despite his Hollywood success — and occasional forays into screenwriting — he remained a literary writer to the end; in 2012, he published a new novel called Raylan and the short story "Ice Man" for The Atlantic.
In 2001, The New York Times invited Leonard to share his advice for writing, and he responded with a list of 10 rules that he said "help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story." But despite Leonard's modesty — "If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules," he said — his rules are a master class in pragmatic, applicable advice for fiction writers. Here, in Elmore Leonard's own words, some rules for writing fiction:
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And watch Leonard discuss his writing process in the video below:
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