Writing like Elmore?
Posted August 1, 2007
by Terry Carroll
I used to live right across the river from Elmore Leonard and considered dropping in to see him.
There were a couple of problems with this notion.
If he came through the door, what would I say? "Um, hello, Mr. Leonard. I really like your writing, and, uh, I'm trying to write crime fiction . . . too . . . just like you."
Also, the body of water dividing us was the Detroit River. Seeing Leonard would be a whole other country.
There are two writers much admired by younger men, and if you read them, they almost always inspire imitation . . . not necessarily a good thing.
One is Leonard and the other is the recently departed Kurt Vonnegut.
Not long ago, I read a book review that favorably linked the writer's style with Leonard's.
There was a time when I would have considered giving up body parts for such a review. Not now.
There's much to learn from writers like Leonard and Vonnegut, but at the end of the day, you want to find your own style.