Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Stuff People Skip

Date: 14 Jan 2006

Jim responded to my comments:

"I don't think you mean to imply that Leonard was laying down hard and fast rules that all others must follow, . . ."

No, I did not mean to imply that.

". . . but, just so it's clear, I think what Leonard actually said was,
"I try to leave out the parts most people skip.""

That's how he summed up his rules. However, Leonard laid down some very specific rules about what typified those "the part that readers tend to skip." -- detailed descriptions of weather, place, things, characters, etc.

"In other words, he was setting a personal rule that worked for him, not a universal rule that he insisted would work for all."

True. I don't get the impression that he was trying to tell James Lee Burke he should change his entire style.

However, given that he wrote up his rules for the New York Times, and that he called them rules, I'm sure many have followed them. And the Post's Anderson is far from the only critic I've read who invokes the rules while judging other writers. (Of course, Anderson forgets all about the rules when he likes a book, like Izzo's, that doesn't bide by them.)


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 Jan 2006 EST