Seven Tips for Writing Great Fiction
So when Open Culture trolled through some of the vast stores of Heminwaybelia to cobble together seven fiction-writing tips from the master, I was easy to pay attention:
Hemingway never wrote a treatise on the art of writing fiction. He did, however, leave behind a great many passages in letters, articles and books with opinions and advice on writing. Some of the best of those were assembled in 1984 by Larry W. Phillips into a book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing. We’ve selected seven of our favorite quotations from the book and placed them, along with our own commentary, on this page. We hope you will all -- writers and readers alike -- find them fascinating.Open Culture has included both quotes and comments, so you should definitely plan a visit in order to see where it all comes from. Meanwhile, here are the seven tips from Hemingway that they’ve put together:
1: To get started, write one true sentence.
2: Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.
3: Never think about the story when you’re not working.
4: When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.
5: Don’t describe an emotion -- make it.
6: Use a pencil.
7: Be brief.
Truthfully, 3, 4 and 6 are opposite of what I believe. And I’m pretty certain Hemingway didn’t believe 7 himself (I know he didn’t follow it!) but it just goes to show: one of the big secrets is that there are few secrets. This writing business is a subjective one. The most important “rule” is to get your bum in the chair.
The Open Culture piece is here.