10 Questions With Novelist Elmore Leonard

Bookish social networking site Goodreads asks 10 questions of distinguished novelist Elmore Leonard.

Mr. Leonard uses unlined yellow note-pads to get his initial thoughts out.

Some of my longhand is barely decipherable, because I’m just writing fast as I think about it, as the characters talk back and forth. I’ll probably throw away four sheets to get one.

Part of my struggle with writing fiction is my fear of throwing things out. I don’t know what to cut and what to keep. Leonard’s comments are an encouragement, however. What he’s saying to me is don’t worry about the necessity to cut, just get it down on paper.

Once I get through a scene, and I don’t know what will come next, I type it and try to clean up the presentation. The next day I rewrite it, pick at it, and add things… I think writing is rewriting.

I think he’s right. I need to get to that rewriting stage in my fiction. I’m good at planning — characters, plot, arrangement of scenes. It’s the actual writing I struggle with.

The interview is worth your time. And if you use Goodreads, look me up while your there.

Related: Powell’s Books also interviews Elmore Leonard.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

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