Monday, March 15, 2010


Anyone who knows good crime writing knows scribe Elmore Leonard.

Most people, however, may know his work in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, several of which have been adapted into successful motion pictures or TV movies like "Get Shorty," "Jackie Brown" and the terrific "Out of Sight."

The scribe is renowned by critics for his gritty tough-guy realism and strong dialogue. His writing style may often take liberties with grammar in the interest of speeding along the story.

In his fabulous essay, "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing," he says, "My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." His advice to writers also includes the hint, "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Crooks and con men aren't his only area of expertise. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, many of them short stories. "Justified," A new TV adaptation of his work premieres tomorrow on FX and feels like a blend of both his western and crime writing.

It centers on U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens ( Timothy Olyphant), a 19th century-style but modern-day officer based in Florida, who enforces his brand of justice to put a target on his back with criminals and puts him at odds with his bosses in the Marshal service. As a result, he gets reassigned to the district covering his rural Eastern Kentucky mining hometown of Harlan County.

My esteemed colleague Alan Sepinwall has a wonderful interview with Leonard in today's paper. Check it out.

Oh and btw, here's the trailer for the show:


  1. It looks like a terrific show. I'' chack out the interview asap.

  2. I read his writing rules. Fantastic. I've never read his crime, but the show looks awesome. I haven't found anything I've liked since The Shield ended. I'm certainly willing to give 'Justified' a chance.

    Thanks for the heads up, Ant. I'm heading off to read the interview right now.


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