I’m due for a new post, so I decided to comment about Elmore Leonard’s passing today because he was one of the great writers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. His characters were all unique, quirky, detestable but likeable at the same time, and above all, memorable. I’ve only read a handful of his dozens of books, but most of his characters stick with me long after I’ve read the book.
Perhaps better than his characters was the dialogue he gave most of them. Each voice was supremely distinctive. I believe one could have read most of his books and been able to identify each character merely by the voice Mr. Leonard gave him/her, without use or need of attribution. And he would bring together such disparate characters in each book that I’d be transported to this bizarre “other world” where it was common for the most incongruous combination of people to be accepted as normal once I’d gotten into the book.
That’s what makes a great writer.
Finally, one of the great quotes about writing I’ve ever heard belongs to Mr. Leonard: “Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” Pretty much sums up how to write a novel.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?