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Elmore Leonard Quotes

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Elmore Leonard Quote: “Skip the boring parts.”

Skip the boring parts.

— Elmore Leonard



Elmore Leonard Quote: “I spent most of my dough on booze, broads and boats and the rest I wasted.”

I spent most of my dough on booze, broads and boats and the rest I wasted.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Not dreams but night changes, not destiny but path changes, always keep your hopes alive, luck may or may not change, but time definitely chages.”

Not dreams but night changes, not destiny but path changes, always keep your hopes alive, luck may or may not change, but time definitely chages.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees. And there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living.”

There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees. And there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in.”

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “If you take a few days to write an outline, you’re just making up scenes that you think will work, that you think will be interesting. But as you write it, other ideas occur – better ideas that have to do with what you’re writing.”

If you take a few days to write an outline, you’re just making up scenes that you think will work, that you think will be interesting. But as you write it, other ideas occur – better ideas that have to do with what you’re writing.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “My purpose is to entertain and please myself. I feel that if I am entertained, then there will be enough other readers who will be entertained, too.”

My purpose is to entertain and please myself. I feel that if I am entertained, then there will be enough other readers who will be entertained, too.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it.”

If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it.

— Elmore Leonard



Elmore Leonard Quote: “It’s like seeing someone for the first time, and you look at each other for a few seconds, and there’s this kind of recognition like you both know something. Next moment the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it.”

It’s like seeing someone for the first time, and you look at each other for a few seconds, and there’s this kind of recognition like you both know something. Next moment the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Using adverbs is a mortal sin.”

Using adverbs is a mortal sin.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Never use the words ‘suddenly’ or ‘all hell broke loose.’”

Never use the words ‘suddenly’ or ‘all hell broke loose.’

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I’m not going to write for posterity. I’m going to write to make a buck.”

I’m not going to write for posterity. I’m going to write to make a buck.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “There’s nothing like work to take your mind off your worries.”

There’s nothing like work to take your mind off your worries.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I got halfway through ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ I don’t get it at all. What’s the big thrill? It’s boring.”

I got halfway through ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ I don’t get it at all. What’s the big thrill? It’s boring.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “What do you tell a man with two black eyes? Nothing, he’s already been told twice.”

What do you tell a man with two black eyes? Nothing, he’s already been told twice.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I don’t believe in writer’s block or waiting for inspiration. If you’re a writer, you sit down and write.”

I don’t believe in writer’s block or waiting for inspiration. If you’re a writer, you sit down and write.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “There are 500 million people on Facebook, but what are they saying to each other? Not much.”

There are 500 million people on Facebook, but what are they saying to each other? Not much.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I don’t judge in my books. I don’t have to have the antagonist get shot or the protagonist win. It’s just how it comes out. I’m just telling a story.”

I don’t judge in my books. I don’t have to have the antagonist get shot or the protagonist win. It’s just how it comes out. I’m just telling a story.

— Elmore Leonard



Elmore Leonard Quote: “I won’t read a book that starts with a description of the weather. I don’t read books over 300 pages, though I’ll make an exception for Don Delillo.”

I won’t read a book that starts with a description of the weather. I don’t read books over 300 pages, though I’ll make an exception for Don Delillo.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Don’t worry about what your mother thinks of your language.”

Don’t worry about what your mother thinks of your language.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “A man can be in two different places and he will be two different men. Maybe if you think of more places he will be more men, but two is enough for now.”

A man can be in two different places and he will be two different men. Maybe if you think of more places he will be more men, but two is enough for now.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Never open a book with weather. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.”

Never open a book with weather. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.”

It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue.”

Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I get letters. I get several a week, I think. A lot of people want a picture, a lot of people just want an autograph.”

I get letters. I get several a week, I think. A lot of people want a picture, a lot of people just want an autograph.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I don’t want the reader to be aware of me as the writer.”

I don’t want the reader to be aware of me as the writer.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I don’t get in a position to be frightened. I don’t do anything dangerous, and I always pay my bills.”

I don’t get in a position to be frightened. I don’t do anything dangerous, and I always pay my bills.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.”

Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “At the time I begin writing a novel, the last thing I want to do is follow a plot outline. To know too much at the start takes the pleasure out of discovering what the book is about.”

At the time I begin writing a novel, the last thing I want to do is follow a plot outline. To know too much at the start takes the pleasure out of discovering what the book is about.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I try to leave out the parts readers skip.”

I try to leave out the parts readers skip.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.”

It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I do have fun writing, and a long time ago, I told myself, ‘You got to have fun at this, or it’ll drive you nuts.’”

I do have fun writing, and a long time ago, I told myself, ‘You got to have fun at this, or it’ll drive you nuts.’

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I started out of course with Hemingway when I learned how to write. Until I realized Hemingway doesn’t have a sense of humor. He never has anything funny in his stories.”

I started out of course with Hemingway when I learned how to write. Until I realized Hemingway doesn’t have a sense of humor. He never has anything funny in his stories.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: When you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”

My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: When you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I once saw Dizzy Gillespie at a live show, and it made me want to go home immediately and start writing.”

I once saw Dizzy Gillespie at a live show, and it made me want to go home immediately and start writing.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “A pen connects you to the paper. It definitely matters.”

A pen connects you to the paper. It definitely matters.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I still read Hemingway. I still read his short stories because they’re so good. He doesn’t waste any words.”

I still read Hemingway. I still read his short stories because they’re so good. He doesn’t waste any words.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Bad guys are not bad guys twenty-four hours a day.”

Bad guys are not bad guys twenty-four hours a day.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Really, when I write a book I’m the only one I have to please. That’s the beauty of writing a book instead of a screenplay.”

Really, when I write a book I’m the only one I have to please. That’s the beauty of writing a book instead of a screenplay.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I want the reader to know what’s going on. So there’s never a mystery in my books.”

I want the reader to know what’s going on. So there’s never a mystery in my books.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “All the information you need can be given in dialogue.”

All the information you need can be given in dialogue.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I don’t have any of the modern stuff. I don’t have e-mail. I don’t have a computer!”

I don’t have any of the modern stuff. I don’t have e-mail. I don’t have a computer!

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I don’t think writers compete, I think they’re all doing separate things in their own style.”

I don’t think writers compete, I think they’re all doing separate things in their own style.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “To me, writing is the most fun. It’s not always fun, but finally when you make it come out the way you want, it’s then you can say, ‘It’s fun, boy.’”

To me, writing is the most fun. It’s not always fun, but finally when you make it come out the way you want, it’s then you can say, ‘It’s fun, boy.’

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I always felt, you don’t have a good time doin crime, you may as well find a job.”

I always felt, you don’t have a good time doin crime, you may as well find a job.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “I never see my bad guys as simply bad. They want pretty much the same thing that you and I want: they want to be happy.”

I never see my bad guys as simply bad. They want pretty much the same thing that you and I want: they want to be happy.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “Avoid Prologues. They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword.”

Avoid Prologues. They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword.

— Elmore Leonard


Elmore Leonard Quote: “After 58 years you’d think writing would get easier. It doesn’t. If you’re lucky, you become harder to please. That’s all right, it’s still a pleasure.”

After 58 years you’d think writing would get easier. It doesn’t. If you’re lucky, you become harder to please. That’s all right, it’s still a pleasure.

— Elmore Leonard

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