Ernest Hemingway’s 7 wrting secrets

by Michael Kinch on December 7, 2012


I’ve always admired Hemingway’s prose. No “10-words”; sparse yett startling sentences. Here is some of his advice:
1. “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof shit-detector.”

2. “The first draft of anything is shit.”

3. The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life and one is as good as the other.

4. My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.

5. That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is what is known as The Artist’s Reward.

6. Scott (Fitzgerald) took literature so solemnly. He never understood that it was just writing as well as you can and finishing what you start.

7. A writer’s problem does not change. He himself changes and the world he lives in changes but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.

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