Quotations by Leonard, Elmore


It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.

Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) American novelist and screenwriter
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Oct-16 | Last updated 18-Oct-16
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What do you tell a man with two black eyes? Nothing, he’s already been told twice.

Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) American novelist and screenwriter
Darryl, Be Cool (1999)
Added on 8-Apr-14 | Last updated 8-Apr-14
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Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) American novelist and screenwriter
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
    (Source)
Added on 23-Jan-14 | Last updated 23-Jan-14
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Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.

Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) American novelist and screenwriter
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
    (Source)

A frequent piece of advice from Leonard:
  • "I leave out the parts that people skip." When asked about the popularity of his detective novels. Quoted in William Zinsser, A Family of Readers (1986)
  • "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." In "Making It Up as I Go Along", AARP Magazine (Jul/Aug 2009).
Added on 30-Jan-14 | Last updated 10-Apr-14
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If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) American novelist and screenwriter
In Newsweek (22 Apr 1985)
Added on 22-May-14 | Last updated 22-May-14
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