The Dickens of Detroit (Elmore Leonard)

R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

Screenwriting from Iowa

Since for the last few days I’ve been kicking around Michigan on this blog I thought I’d pull a quote from Detroit writer Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma). In the above video Leonard talks about how he usually starts writing based on characters. (As opposed to Stephen King who usually starts with a situation, or Rod Serling who said he started with theme.)

“Who’s good in this [story] and who’s bad ? That’s the fun of it. Just figure out what’s going to happen. But I do it as I’m writing, so that I don’t stop and try to outline a whole book because that’s a waste of time. Because you’re going to get better ideas much later on…I don’t ever know all the way through what’s going to happen.”
Elmore Leonard

Leonard’s not a great role model if you’re looking for excuses not to write…

View original post 107 more words

Elmore Leonard (1925—2013)

R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

Screenwriting from Iowa

“Characters are much more important to me—to my book— than plot.”
Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard and his work always embodied much of what I’ve tried to convey on this blog. He wrote more than forty novels, and his work showed up over seven decades in dozens of films and TV programs including Get Shorty, 3:10 to Yuma, and Justified. His work influenced a generation of writers including two-time Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino who wrote and directed Jackie Brown based on Leonard’s novel.

But what connects Leonard to this blog is he did this not in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles—but in Michigan. He moved to the Detroit area when he was 11 and lived there until he died Tuesday at the age of 87.  Before he became a full-time writer he spent a decade at an ad agency and got his pages in by waking…

View original post 114 more words