Elmore Leonard’s Top Ten Writing Tips

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I have just finished writing an article on crime novel author Elmore Leonard’s top ten writing tips, tips which I discovered, and here comes that word again, quite serendipitously after stumbling across a page about George Orwell on the same site.

Now I should admit to raving fans of Get Shorty or Maximum Bob that I have never actually read a novel by Elmore Leonard—I had never heard of the man until a couple of days ago; yet don’t take that as a conscious or unconscious slight on my part—he sounds like the ideal paperback companion for a round-the-world plane trip, which here in New Zealand is the only way to get absolutely anywhere.

On the plus side to my wavering credibility, I can admit to having seen several of his film adaptations, incidentally the same adaptations he also recommends: Get Shorty wasn’t bad, although I can tell my attention began to wander by the fact that I can remember nothing from halfway through; Jackie Brown was an entirely regrettable experience, and the last time I take advice from a co-worker about films to watch; Out of Sight however was quite the opposite—and further backs my without hesitation recommendation of every title Steven Soderbergh has ever made—although by way of disclaimer: take the age of any film and the year that I watched it, and you’ll end up with some sort of formula as to the reliability of my opinion on it; I have at times been severely embarrassed recommending films that I liked a very, very long time ago.

So if my opinions on films are at times a little suspect, what exactly would I know about contemporary America’s best-selling crime novelist—also a ‘genre’ writer respected for his technical ability? Not a lot, but I did like his main point of advice on writing:

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

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