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Monday, January 19, 2015

The narrative rhythm

Was at the library yesterday afternoon and started looking at the work of Elmore Leonard.  What a great writer.

His earliest novels were published back in the 1950s and were mostly Westerns, but he went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers and probably has had more books made into movies and television shows than any other writer.

Among his best-known:  Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, and 3:10 To Yuma, which has been made and remade – and was a hit each time, no matter who were the “stars.”  As most of them said “All we had to do was say his words and we couldn’t help but succeed.”

Elmore Leonard

Soon one of my favorite TV series, Justified, will be back for another season.  Again, it is the model of great writing; concise, clear and exciting. 
How did he approach his writing?  Here's how he answered that question:  “If it sounds like writing I just re-write it.  Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go.  I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”  We who aspire to being good creative writers should probably take a page from Leonard’s writing guide.

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