Elmore Leonard

American novelist and screenwriter

Elmore John Leonard, Jr. (October 11, 1925 - August 20, 2013) was a popular and acclaimed American novelist and screenwriter.

Elmore Leonard


  • For a long time I've been walking down life's road with my two pals, Bad Luck and Bad Choices. Fortunately I'm a big believer in new beginnings, new friends, and running from my problems. So one day I decided to head for the island. Aloha, my name is Jack.
  • If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
    • Newsweek (April 22, 1985)
  • I leave out the parts that people skip.
    • When asked about the popularity of his detective novels, quoted by William Zinsser, A Family of Readers Book-of-the-Month Club (1986)
    • Variant: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
      • "Making It Up as I Go Along", AARP Magazine 52 (4A), July/August 2009
  • What do you tell a man with two black eyes? Nothing, he's already been told twice.
    • Darryl, Be Cool (1999)
  • My grandson, Max, who is an all state lacrosse player, once gave me some lacrosse advice: A limp pass is like a limp dick; it doesn't get the job done. I think the same can be said about limp writing.
    • Elmore's Ten Rules of Writing (2007)
  • 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.
    • "Making It Up as I Go Along", AARP Magazine 52 (4A), July/August 2009

Out of Sight (1996)

  • Well, the man don't just have to die, Foley. I mean, he could accidentally hurt himself falling down on something real hard, you know? Like a shiv, or my dick?
    • Maurice "Snoopy" Miller
  • 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.
    • Jack Foley
  • I know a guy who walks into a bank with a little glass bottle. He tells everyone it's nitroglycerin. He scores some money off the teller, walks out. On his way out, the bottle breaks, he slips on it and knocks himself out. The "nitro" was Canola oil. I know more fucked-up bank robbers than ones who know what they're doing. I doubt if one in twenty could tell you where the dye pack is. Most bank robbers are fucking morons.
    • Jack Foley
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