Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ernest Hemingway: Cutting back words with infinite care

An author of magnificent style
The late American author Ernest Hemingway has delighted millions of readers with his writing talent. Novels such as The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms and A Moveable Feast are all considered literary classics. His skill earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

Hemingway’s writing style had an enormous influence on 20th century literature. He was recognised for his sparse writing technique – for ‘trimming the verbal fat’ off his work. Hemingway called his style the ‘iceberg theory’: the facts floated above water; the supporting structure and symbolism operated out of sight.

Cutting back words with infinite care
Hemingway described his technique as similar to polishing gemstones.
‘I take great pains with my work, pruning and revising with a tireless hand. I have the welfare of my creations very much at heart. I cut them with infinite care, and burnish them until they become brilliants. What many another writer would be content to leave in massive proportions, I polish into a tiny gem’.
The Hemingway App
Such is the recognition for the power of Hemingway’s style that an app was recently created in his name. Hemingway analyses text and suggests ways to make writing ‘bold and clear’. It highlights complicated words and sentences. It helps to eliminate unnecessary adverbs and the use of passive voice. It’s certainly a useful tool worth consulting.

For more information about Ernest Hemingway, visit: Ernest Hemingway Wikipedia

An article about the Hemingway app: New Yorker Hemingway App

Link to the Hemingway app: Hemingwayapp

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen this story about Hemingway's 6-word story?