Fiction Writing: Seven Tricks by Ernest Hemingway

Before gaining an outstanding popularity for his books, Ernest Hemingway got up every morning and wrote down his ideas and thoughts, crafting himself as a writer. And finally, after the years of hard work, his stories became the real masterpieces of the 20th century. And his writing style had the greatest impact on the literature of his era and on the minds of modern writers.

His stories and books became a must-read for people who want to start writing career. However, Hemingway never created any guide for fiction writers. Yet he left a lot of information in his letters and articles, and his advice and tricks are must know for any writer who wants to succeed. Some of these were collected by Larry W. Phillips and first published in 1984 in a book Ernest Hemingway on Writing. In this article, we have decided to analyze seven best quotes from Ernest Hemingway and create the list of tricks you can use in your writing process. Hope you will find this information handy and will be able to start a writing career you have dreamed of.

So here they are "Seven Tricks by Ernest Hemingway"

1. To start writing, write down one true sentence.

When Hemingway felt he is stuck, he set in front of a fire and watched how it is burning, or looked out at the window watching roofs of Paris or any other city he stayed at. He tried not to worry about his writing and said to himself that to start he needed to write one true sentence. This helped him to start writing. And there always had been one declarative sentence he knew or heard from somebody. You might also have such sentence in your mind, so you need to relax and find it in your imagination or memory.

2. In order not to get stuck while writing, make stops for a day when you know what will happen next.

In one of his articles in Esquire in October 1935 Hemingway shared his way of continuous writing. He never had a daily word-count quote or anything similar. This simple trick helped him never to empty his imagination and progress his novels each day. He made stops when he knew for sure what he would tell next and started writing from that point next day. If you are sure that you won't forget your ideas, make a stop and have a rest, you can continue tomorrow morning.

3. You should never think about your story when you are not writing it.

According to Hemingway, in this case, your brain and imagination will be tired. Because you are working all the time without a producing content itself. In A Moveable Fast, he goes deeper into this idea: he wrote that having a rest, exercising and spending time with the person he loves is much better than overloading a brain with the ideas and thoughts about the writing. And most importantly, it gave him a lot of extra emotions and experiences he used in his novels later. Revising things you wrote before starting working again is also a good idea. This will help you to refill your mind with details and come to another key point of your story. So as you might expect it will be the next trick from Hemingway.

4. When you are willing to start working again, revise your memory and read what you have written before.

In Esquire article, he also points out that this habit allows to correct and to add new to the copy you already have. That will save a lot of time and will help to maintain continuity. He suggests reading the story from the start so your novel will be holistic. You will keep the same style, add new and correct what you don't like at the second glance.

5. Make an emotion, don't just describe it.

Your writing should be live, that means your descriptions of feelings should be realistic and your reader must not only read them, but also feel emotions and things you are transferring. It is important for a good story and the key to the success of writing, according to Hemingway. If you don't know what the person should feel try to get this emotion in your real life and then put down your feeling on the paper. This experience will help you to transfer and reproduce the emotion in writing. Yet, if that kind of emotion is connected with danger, it is better to research it from other sources, but not to feel it or gain that kind of experience.

6. Use a pencil.

When Hemingway was composing letters or articles for newspapers and magazines he usually used a typewriter. But for serious work he preferred a pencil. In his article in Esquire, he says that a pencil gives you more freedom for corrections and improvements than a typewriter. Of course, in the modern world, you can use a computer and correct your writing as many times as you can. Though handwriting is more creative and classical approach to storytelling, and sometimes it is even better to take a pencil and a paper and start writing the story in such a way. The computers still limit you with the comfort and relax. And you are getting tired faster reading and writing on the screen, then, for example, sitting on the balcony with a tea and a piece of paper.

7. Try to be brief.

Hemingway had thought that briefness was a law of writing; it is like in natural sciences for example. In the story there can be a lot of descriptions, details which are not needed for the reader and the novel can become really boring because of such things. In modern writing, if you have read several bestsellers already, you might have noticed that the language is simple and a few details are included, but you are able to picture everything fast. So try to describe things and emotions with minimum details, but with enough components for the reader to imagine them.