On Writing: The Less He Writes, The More Elmore Leonard Teaches

Don’t let the blog headline fool you, Elmore Leonard writes all the time. He just doesn’t write anything “people tend to skip.” The result as been a career of tight, lively, fast-paced novels that have entertained for decades.

Elmore Leonard is a master worth studying.

And even his lessons are brief.

Leonard’s lone book on technique, 10 Rules on Writing is among the slimmest volumes on the subject ever published. And every sentence in it is solid gold.


Every writer should take the hour or so necessary to read this great, fun, and incredibly useful guide to writing better.

Then, if you are really serious about learning from the master, read a couple of his books. They move like an Olympian’s pulse.

I keep his Road Dogs in my sight lines as I am writing just to keep me honest. Alas, I’ve got lots more editing to do before I can even approach the power of Butch. Maybe that’s a good thing; we all need to find our own voice. But surrounding ourselves with the work of authors we admire can serve as subtle reminders of what we aspire to achieve.

And Elmore Leonard’s book make damn fine company any day of the week, whether you want to read or learn.

Christopher Ryan is author of City of Woe, available on Kindle and Nook, and in print. For more info, click here.

About chrisryanwrites

I do my best to tell fast-paced stories with humor and heart. My fiction work is available on amazon.com. Here, I’ll write about the sources for those stories from what I read, watch, listen to, and observe to my experiences as a former award-winning journalist, high school teacher, actor, and producer.
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