Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction


Before he was a big game hunter, before he was a deep-sea fisherman, Ernest Hemingway was a craftsman who would rise very early in the morning and write. His best stories are masterpieces of the modern era, and his prose style is one of the most influential of the 20th century.

Here are 7 pieces of his advice for writing:

1: To get started, write one true sentence.


2: Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.


3: Never think about the story when you’re not working.


4: When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.


5: Don’t describe an emotion–make it.

6: Use a pencil.

7: Be Brief.

Hemingway was contemptuous of writers who, as he put it, “never learned how to say no to a typewriter.” In a 1945 letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway writes:

It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.




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