Writing Tips From Elmore Leonard

That sage advice… ‘Try to leave out the parts that people skip.’  – If only it was that easy, though the late Elmore Leonard made it seem so. He’s the only author that comes close to Nora Roberts in filling up my bookshelves and for one reason above all others:  The way he wrote his female characters. They were gritty and resilient and intelligent, had been around the block a few times, were always the wrong side of 30 and remained attractive in so many ways. His most accessible heroines are Karen Flores in Get Shorty –


And Karen Sisco, the federal marshall in Out of Sight –


As usual, Jezebel reveals the secret to Leonard’s extraordinary way of depicting female characters. She includes a money quote from the author in an interview with the Detroit News, and I’m unashamedly stealing part of it:

“I think of them as a person and go from there. Sometimes female characters start out as the wife or girlfriend, but then I realize, “No, she’s the book,” and she becomes a main character. I surrender the book to her. A few years ago, my researcher gave me this photo: a female marshal in front of Miami’s courthouse—this Colombian drug trial. It was her and another marshal, and she was just standing there with a shotgun, hip cocked and angled, holding it half up. And I thought, She’s a knockout. And she’s a book.”

The Jezebel post is entitled, ‘Elmore Leonard Was Great To Women’  and it is well worth the read…  http://jezebel.com/elmore-leonard-was-great-to-women-1171729784


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