Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) Dead at 87


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I try to leave out the parts that people skip. -Elmore Leonard

Sadly, popular suspense-crime novelist and screenwriter, Elmore Leonard, passed away early this morning. His long-time researcher and webmaster, Gregg Sutter, broke the news on Facebook:

The post I dreaded to write, and you dreaded to read. Elmore passed away at 7:15 this morning from complications from his stroke. He was at home surrounded by his loving family. More to follow.

Leonard was being treated in a Detroit-area hospital as he resided nearby in Oakland County, Michigan. The Dickens of Detroit was prolific as he amassed an extensive catalog of novels, novellas, short stories and scripts during a career that spanned more than 60 years. He was working on his 47th novel at the time of his death.  A majority of his most famous works (26) were adapted into films and television series. Hallmark films include Mr. Majestyk starring Charles Bronson and Get Shorty featuring John Travolta. There is Quentin Tarantino‘s underrated Jackie Brown which was based on one of our favorite Leonard books, Rum PunchSteven Soderbergh‘s solid Out of Sight is also in that great collection with the western 3:10 to Yuma. The critically-lauded and enjoyable FX television series, Justified, is centered around one of Leonard’s characters, Raylan Givens.

Elmore Leonard was a master when it came to penning organic, believable dialogue uttered by gritty characters. A cult hero and prodigy auteur such as Quentin Tarantino would admit that Elmore Leonard was a profound influence on his own career.

He was also a huge influence on several generations of aspiring writers. Leonard assembled these ten rules and tips in 2001:

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” . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
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.

Elmore Leonard was one of those pop culture badasses and a proud son of Detroit. We were huge fans, we’ll miss him but his impressive body of work sustains. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.


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Elmore Leonard, Miami Bookfair International, 1989
Author Elmore Leonard Portrait Session And Book Signing At Book Soup
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Mandip Thapaliya is a versatile content editor and writer with a passion for crafting compelling stories that resonate with readers. With a background in digital media and a keen interest in celebrity culture, he brings a fresh perspective and creative flair to every piece he creates.


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