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Thursday, June 30, 2011


This is from the blog (06-13-09) - see below 

Before Hemingway, it was acceptable to use lots of adverbs and adjectives in American fiction.  Not after Hemingway.  Before Hemingway, writers would not so much write dialogue for their characters as they would write speeches for their characters.  Not after Hemingway.  Before Hemingway, it took writers forever to get to the action of the story.  Not after Hemingway.  Although writers may ignore the basic parameters that Hemingway taught, only a very talented writer can succeed by ignoring the following 10 guidelines.  
  • Distrust all adverbs and adjectives
  • Use specific concrete sense details
  • The writer should use the specific concrete to illustrate the abstract universal
  • Eliminate all unnecessary words
  • Get to the action as soon as possible
  • Action is character
  • Dialogue is also action and a projection of character
  • “He said” and “She said” are the best tag lines for dialogue
  • All description should be intentional in serving a purpose larger than just description
  • A round character is flawed or has internal conflict
THIS is reprinted from
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  1. I can't wait to show this post to my husband. He adores Hemingway's style although Calvin has a tendancy to write more like Thomas Wolf ("Look Homeward Angel") with sentences of wind and thunder. Great post!

  2. Thanks, Vonnie. I love Moveable Feast - hemingway's sort of autobiography - harder for me to read his short stories, although his most famous one is "Baby shoes for sale, never worn." Love that story.

  3. This is very late but I wanted to say how much I appreciate it...words of wisdom -- something to pin to the bulletin board next to the computer!

  4. Thanks Annyostauthor - appreciate it - Moveable Feast is EH's best book!

  5. Thanks for these rules! I'm going to copy and laminate them for my writing bulletin board. Nice post Lynn, I enjoy your blog and look forward to when you put your link on KOD.


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