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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG - August 2014 and Hemingway




It's IWSG Wednesday, our friend Alex Cavanaugh's brainchild wherein writers help other writers.  It's an amazing group, and if you want to read more participants, click here.


Recently I read  Eighteen Quotes for Writers from Ernest Hemingway which appeared in Writer’s Digest,  (if you’d like to read in its entirety, you can it find here.)  Hemingway was a gifted man who said a lot of notable things.  Because I'm aware that doing enough research can be my own bugaboo, this one spoke to me:


If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.


And somehow, it’s comforting to know that even someone with Hemingway's skill and talent struggled to ferret out the right words:


There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.


But the one that really got to me was this:


All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.


When we sit down to work on our craft, sometimes it comes out in dribbles, letter by letter, word by word. Other times it comes out like big galumphing horses, pages at a time.  But if, in the revising process, we held ourselves to this standard, to make sure every sentence speaks true, wouldn’t that result in some mighty fine writing?  

What is your favorite writing quote?


14 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

As long as it's true. Can't beat that with a stick.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That first one is why I keep telling myself I spent hours researching sea kelp...

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love that last quote, although lately I'm finding my writing and creative process more like drilling through rock. Sigh.

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

Bish Denham said...

These are wonderful quotes, particularly #2, even though I'm not a Hemingway fan.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I read that article too. I doubt I could say anything as profound or helpful as Hemmingway.

Stephanie Bird said...

I really respond to the clarity with which you think and write. That is a true gift. Thanks for sharing the quotes. I can't think of a favorite off the top of my head but like mulling over the ones here. (Visiting from IWSG)

M.R. R. said...

I can't think of any writing quotes, but I like the one about there being no right way.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Oh, very true about the research!

My favorite quote right now is from Shannon Hale. Something about first drafts being nothing but shoveling sand into a box with which she will later make castles. (But she said it better.)

Gail said...

To speak the truth. That's it in a nutshell.

Great post.

I work hourly to overcome my insecurity about writing. I thank you and your group for reaching out.

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

I much prefer the days with big galumphing horses. Haha! But even one sentence is okay if it means I'm writing.

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Liza,

Some interesting quotes...

Writing a "true" sentence throughout a full story maybe TOO MUCH.

Think about it.... If they are all perfect you won't appreciate as much as have one amazing thought scattered throughout. The build up to the climax....

Robin said...

In this process of revising, I scratch my head (a lot) and think, "Oh dear. That is awful." Sometimes I circle entire sections and write "AWKWARD" beside it. And, every now and then, I read a delightful sentence. It's like finding a gem and it reminds me, "You can do this. You just have to write more like this one."

Cynthia said...

There are so many writing quotes I like, I can't think of just one. =) I suppose some of the things people have said at the conference I'd just attended have stuck with me...

Jayne Martin said...

I find his words encouraging as I struggle with my own process. Thanks for this post.