Friday, March 22, 2013

4 Writerly Tips From Hemingway

Writing is a private affair. Everyone has a personal style and what inspires you might be downright distracting to another. That's why I usually take every 'how to do' list with a grain of salt. However, reading this insightful work of Hemingway's stroke a cord with me in several different ways. His personna came alive to me and I could feel him, also there were a couple of points that I think I should follow. They work with my style and would help improving my connection to my stories, therefore improving my ability (however reduced) to tell them better.

So, hoping you will find your own discoveries in his words, I share with you just a few of my favorite tips in his own words.

1. To get started, write one true sentence.

"Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, [...] I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written."

2. Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.

"The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that everyday when you are writing a novel, you will never be stuck."

3. Never think about the story when you're not working.

"That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start."

4. When it's time to work again, always start by reading what you've written so far.

"The best way is to read it all every day from the start, correcting as you go on from where you stopped the day before. When it gets so long you can't do this every day read back two or three chapters each day; then each week read it all from the start. That's how you make it all of one piece."

So there you go. There are much more words of wisdom in this book but I cut it to the four that spoke to me the most. Which has been the advise that has touch you the most? Doesn't have to be Hemingway, it could be your hubby, friend, or mom. Share it if you like, I'm always open to wisdom no matter the form.

Enjoy the first weekend of spring! However cold and frozen it may be... =)


James Everington said...

Excellent stuff; that book sounds worth a read.

My own favourite is from Strunk & White: "omit needless words". I like how it is an example of it's own advice...

Shelly said...

I definitely do number 4.

Hug and chocolate,

Julie Luek said...

He wrote a lot of this same advice in his book, A Moveable Feast. Loved that book.

Yolanda Renee said...

Excellent advice, will follow and now I'm going back to work! Took a break to surf and comment, but the muse is calling.

Thanks for sharing!

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks James! That is one of the best, yet most difficult advises to follow for a writer. Most of just love the sound of our words... I know I'm guilty of that =)

Number 4 is one of my faves, too Shelly. Thanks for stoping by!

I've heard of that one Julie! I think I'll try that one next!

It's so nice of you to come by and let your Muse hanging in there! It's such a great feeling to feel that call...

sjp said...

Very wise words, I particularly like the first tip :)