Hemingway was one of the most notable writers of the 20th century – a fantastic reason for wanting to emulate his writing style! It is from the greats that we can follow guidelines and snatch snippets of style to model pleasing prose.
Ernest certainly did have a distinct and influential style, one that continues to imprint on writers to this day. Let’s take a closer look at some of Hemingway’s marked approaches that’ll help to pattern yourself after this master author.
- Seemingly simple. An uncomplicated technique and clean style using comprehensible language and basic grammar lead to his form appearing deceptively simple. Hemingway was obsessive at cropping all elements that were not essential to the story. A habitual reviser, he made certain his form was explicit and free of frills – a technique he dubbed the iceberg principle. He believed if a writer had sufficient knowledge of what he was writing about, the obvious could be omitted and the reader would “have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them”. Know your subject and topic well enough to cut the fluff but still get your message and point across.
- Write in the fast lane. Sentence speed means how quickly a sentence can be read. This was one of Hemingway’s most identifiable artistic traits. He achieved this stylistic form through his use of short sentences and his clever omission of commas. This technique takes diligent practice but will allow you to achieve the Hemingway hustle.
- Curt is king. Hemingway was a lover of short sentences. They provide clarity. They provide a melody. They provide dramatic impact. Short, clear sentences enable easier comprehension even when skimming over the written word. Blending short and long sentences can also lend a musical tone to writing – and reading. The use of short sentences has a swelling and cumulative effect that can lead to an explosive, ultimate idea. Fantastic for an intense moment.
Hemingway constantly sampled with style and absorbed new techniques. Always keep learning and always keep experimenting with fresh methods.
If it worked for Hemingway, do you think it could work for you?