Prolific crime writer Elmore John Leonard Jr. (1925-) was born on this day in New Orleans, Louisiana. He's been called "the Dickens of Detroit" because most of his books are set in that suburban Michigan city where his family settled when he was nine.
A writer's writer, he is a joy to read. "I always write from a character's point of view," he said. "I maintain that character's sound. I just try to write as economically as I can."
An inspiration to Quentin Tarantino and a master at dialogue-driven pulp fiction, Leonard has written over 38 novels, many turned into movies, including Get Shorty (1995), Jackie Brown (1997), and Out of Sight (1998).
"I got into crime because I knew it could sell. And that's my purpose, to write as well as I can and to sell and make money," he explained. His riveting prose is tight and clever. Honest, real, and funny. To read him is to want to read more.
He once said: "I try to keep out the passages that readers want to skip."
A creature of habit, to this day Leonard rejects using a word processor. He writes all his first drafts in longhand, then rewrites on a typewriter. "I sort of let my characters audition for me," Leonard said. "I listen to them and let them do all the talking."
Invent and rewrite the script of your life.