Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tip O'Day for Writers #129

Guest blogger Pete Morin on a Hemingway tip.

I was sitting outside in the shade this morning, doing a little research to answer an assertion that Ernest Hemingway was a "hack" who didn't take the craft of writing seriously. I was trying to source the quote often attributed (wrongly, I think) to him that there is nothing to writing, "all you do is sit at the typewriter and bleed." Combing through Ernest Hemingway On Writing, a collection of his letters and writings edited by Larry Phillips, I ran across one of my favorite pieces of advice.

Hemingway recommended that the best way to write is to STOP when you're going good and know what's going to happen next, so when you come back to it, you won't be stuck. That way, he said, your subconscious will be working on it until you next sit down to write.

I've found this enormously effective, especially as an out-and-out pantser. I start a scene without knowing perfectly well where it will end, and stop in the middle of it. My mind turns it over and over, and when I come back to it, I am ready to continue.

No comments:

Post a Comment