Writing can be a daunting task sometimes, and I am using this word in its widest possible implications. Whether it’s an essay, a short story or even a simple thank you note, more often than not it is an arduous activity to translate our thoughts into words. We all have been there, even the best of writers have faced this dilemma. The question, however, is how to write better? The answer, even though as cliché as it sounds, is to read, read and read some more. Learn from the writers who inspire you. Note how they grasp your attention and then try writing using the same techniques. These are some of the facts that I noticed while reading Hemingway’s famous novels and short stories some of which are, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, Cat in the Rain and In Another Country.
1: The shorter the better.
Hemingway was praised for his to the point, austere writing style. His readers were impressed by how quickly and easily he managed to deliver the message. His secret was to use short, simple and unadorned sentences. He learned this in his early years of journalism when he worked as a “cub reporter” in Kansas City. During his job, he mastered the art of delivering fast, to the point and crisp information which later became his permanent writing style. For example
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
The feelings of pity and fear that these words arouse within the readers are remarkable and fulfil the criteria set by Aristotle of a true tragedy.
2: One true sentence
Many aspiring writers have this problem of not knowing where to start.
3: Wait before you evaluate your work
Proofreading your own work is the most essential step towards attaining a better writing style. But Hemingway suggests waiting until the next day before you start judging your work. This makes perfect sense when you ponder upon the fact that when you finish writing something, it fills you with a sense of achievement and you are instantly happy with yourself.
4: Do not reveal everything
The iceberg theory also known as the omission theory works on the principle of deliberately omitting obvious details that both the reader and writer are aware of, making the narrative short and interesting.
Of course, it comes with its own regulations.
Leaving holes in the narrative simply because you are unable to fill these holes is a sign of lazy and poor writing. When asked, the writer should be able to give answers.