Elmore Leonard Is Gone

What a loss. What spirit and humor and ear and humanity and comedy and, at times, excruciating tension. That scene toward the end of Killshot where the gun is on the table and the two bad guys are talking and laughing and she starts to think Maybe I can just grab it and shoot ’em. And it was always scarier because if you’d read a couple Leonard books you knew he was willing to kill off a good guy (or gal) right when you least expected; never saw it coming.

Good Lord. This will take some time to getting used to.

The Times does a nice job here.

Mr. Leonard’s narrative voice was crisp, clean and direct. He had no time to waste on adverbs, adjectives or tricky verb forms, and he had no patience for moody interior monologues or lyrical descriptive passages. His dialogue, too, was succinct, as in this passage from “Riding the Rap”:

“ ‘She isn’t home,’ Raylan said.

“Bobby nodded toward the red Toyota in the drive.

“ ‘Her car’s there.’

“ ‘She still isn’t home,’ Raylan said.

“ ‘Maybe she’s asleep or she’s taking a shower.”

“ ‘When I say she isn’t home,’ Raylan said, ‘it means she isn’t home.’ ”

It takes only three words — “Look at me” — for Chili Palmer, the Miami loan shark in “Get Shorty,” to strike terror into the hearts of the deadbeat clients he hounds for late payments. “You never tell the guy what could happen to him,” Chili explains. “Let him use his imagination, he’ll think of something worse.”

via Elmore Leonard, Who Refined the Crime Thriller, Dies at 87 – NYTimes.com.

Clip at the top from Out of Sight. Ima have to go on a Leonard jag now. Could get me through the winter.

How To End a Story – One Minute Wisdom via The Open Notebook

The fabulous writing how-to site The Open Notebook recently asked a bunch of writers what their single best piece of writing advice was. My 58-second answer had to do with how to end a story:

Single Best Dobbs from The Open Notebook on Vimeo.

As I note in the interview, I picked up this nugget from Atavist co-founder Evan Ratliff, who suggested it to me while I was writing (and he editing) My Mother’s Lover, my account of my mother’s secret WWII romance, which went on to become a #1-selling Kindle Single.

This and much more writerly goodness is at The Open Notebook. .

Why I Moved My Blog From Wired

Apologia: This is a bit inside-baseball, but as quite a few people have asked me what’s the full skinny on why I moved my blog from WIRED, I thought it best to leave a post particularly about that. No dirt here, in case you’re wondering; if you were looking for a whack at WIRED, adjust your expectations. […]

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How to Place Rose Petals on Your Lover’s Skin (& Write About Science)

The Guardian and the Wellcome Trust have been holding a science-writing prize contest lately, and to accompany it The Guardian has been running a superb series of interviews with science writers about how to write about science. Geoff Brumfiel, Helen Pearson, Roger Highfield, Linda Geddes, Jo Marchant, and many more have all weighed in — a […]

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