Writing Quote

A classic quote to comfort us all!

The first draft of anything is shit.

– Ernest Hemingway

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More from Hemingway

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Here’s some more great advice from Hemingway – seven tips for writing fiction, as assembled by Open Culture.

Our favourite from the list is especially useful if you want maintain momentum on a project:

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

This is perfect for long projects. If you know what’s going to happen in the next scene, or the end of your current scene, you’ll return to the story ready to forge ahead.

If the first thing you do when you return to a piece is sit and plan, then you run the risk of a break in forward motion. Your productivity might suffer or even stall – and while there’s a time to think and plan, there’s only one way to finish a project: you have to write!

Hemingway & Short Sentences

Today, a short post on Hemingway’s four writing rules. His sparse, direct style is much-emulated and will no doubt remain so for a long time.

There are some interesting claims, especially the idea of being ‘positive’ instead of ‘negative,’ but perhaps the simplest ‘rule’ to embrace when working toward a minimalistic style is Hemingway’s first:

1. Use short sentences.

Long sentences have their place in writing. Complex ideas require complex construction, but remember, the more sub-clauses used, the more information you force your reader to store within their temporary or ‘working’ memory. Overload that memory and the reader has to re-read a sentence, and in fiction particularly, this can risk breaking ‘suspension of disbelief’ or pulling the reader out of the story.

So wherever possible, keep ‘em short.