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Life of Crime

Thursday, February 04, 2010

“The Elmore Leonard Dialog Award”

At a site called Sweet with Fall and Fish, AJC has a nice rhapsody about Elmore’s work.


You Should Read Elmore Leonard

image

Delroy Lindo as Bo Catlett in Get Shorty.


“You asking me,” Catlett said, “do I know how to write down words on a piece of paper? That’s what you do, man, you put down one word after the other as it comes in your head. It isn’t like having to learn how to play the piano, like you have to learn notes. You already learned in school how to write, didn’t you? I hope so. You have the idea and you put down what you want to say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren’t positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words. There people do that for you. Some, I’ve even seen scripts where I know words weren’t spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it. So I don’t think it’s too important. You come to the last page you write in ‘Fade out’ and that’s the end, and you’re done.” - Elmore Leonard, Get Shorty

My preferred method of recommendation is quoting an author’s work. As you can see from the paragraph above, Elmore Leonard is funny, real, and spare. He’ll never come up with a line so poetic that hipsters want it tattooed across their shoulders, but if there’s another writer as masterful at revealing character through dialog, I’m taking nominations. Whoever you want to bring forward, it would still be called the Elmore Leonard Dialog Award.

 

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