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Posts tagged ‘Elmore Leonard’

Elmore Leonard answers 10 questions about writing

In this interview with Time magazine, the late author Elmore Leonard answers 10 questions about writing and his career.

I was intrigued to learn he wrote all his novels by hand–with pen and paper. He then typed his scenes on a typewriter. I usually write my scenes on the computer but go back to pen and paper when I’m stuck or when the words aren’t flowing. There’s just something about the physical act of writing that gets me going again. Do you write by hand? Typewriter? Computer? Why do you write the way you do?

Listen to the short interview below to hear what else Leonard has to say and what his “perfect crime” would be.

To find out what other famous author used a typewriter, read this earlier post by Carly.

Dialogue tips I learned from reading Elmore Leonard

My favorite books are fantasy, paranormal, some horror, and stories about anything strange or extraordinary. But I’ve also read many classics, crime stories, and mysteries. When another writer told me a few years ago that I should study Elmore Leonard’s novels to see how he writes dialogue, it took me awhile to pick up one of his books, but when I finally did, I was blown away.

My first foray into Leonard territory was the novel Road Dogs about bank robber Jack Foley and street-wise Cundo Rey who meet in prison and quickly become friends, referring to themselves as Road Dogs. Foley is released two weeks before Rey who insists that Foley stay at his home—but warning him not to mess with his girlfriend Dawn (who really just wants to milk Rey out of his money). Below is an excerpt early on in the book, before either man is released from prison. Read more

Writing tips from the late author Elmore Leonard

Author Elmore Leonard, who died this week at the age of 87, is well known for turning out gritty crime novels—many of which were made into popular movies including Get Shorty.

Leonard frequently shared writing tips and granted interviews, including the one below about his story-writing process, that usually begins with a character-related idea.

In this next short clip, Leonard talks about his writing schedule:

In my next post, I’ll discuss what I learned about writing dialogue by reading Elmore Leonard. What are some of your favorite Leonard books?

Masters of emotion: five books that show how to convey character emotions

Recently, I wrote a post about character emotions and how to write about the body. Below are five books from my reading library that show different ways of conveying character emotions:

1. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. Note her use of specific detail, imagery, and metaphor to show bodily feelings and her characters’ emotions.

2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Notice how his spare language conveys the post-apocalyptic world of his setting and characters.

3. Elegy for Iris by John Bayley. The author writes about his wife Iris Murdoch, a well-known author, and her decent into Alzheimer’s disease. Notice the way he describes both her emotional state and his own through specific details.

4. Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard. Notice how the characters’ dialogue so effectively conveys their emotions and shows us who they are.

5. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Allende is a passionate Chilean writer. Notice how her passion underlies every sentence of her work and how it pulls you into the story.

I hope you enjoy these! Please share some of your favorite books that are good examples of how to describe character emotions.