Monday, December 7, 2009
Tips From the Field by Alissa A.
Well, no matter how much planning and preparing you do, sometimes people let you down :(
I am very sorry to report that despite my 5:30 appointment for my interview today, I was unable to get connected. Apparently, I've been stood up!
So for this week's ''Tips From Within the Field", we go to a more well-known source-Ernest Hemingway.
I found this interesting article online with some great tips on writing that can be used in any scenario.
Hope you like them!
PS...If I hear from my interviewee before midnight tonight, I will post again!
1. Use short sentences.
Hemingway was famous for a terse minimalist style of writing that dispensed with flowery adjectives and got straight to the point. In short, Hemingway wrote with simple genius.
Perhaps his finest demonstration of short sentence prowess was when he was challenged to tell an entire story in only 6 words:
For sale: baby shoes, never used.
2. Use short first paragraphs.
3. Use vigorous English.
Here’s David Garfinkel’s take on this one:
It’s muscular, forceful. Vigorous English comes from passion, focus and intention. It’s the difference between putting in a good effort and TRYING to move a boulder… and actually sweating, grunting, straining your muscles to the point of exhaustion… and MOVING the freaking thing!
4. Be positive, not negative.
Since Hemingway was not necessarily the cheeriest guy in the world, what does he mean by be positive? Basically, you should say what something is rather than what it isn’t.
This is what Michel Fortin calls using up words:
By stating what something isn’t can be counterproductive since it is still directing the mind, albeit in the opposite way. If I told you that dental work is painless for example, you’ll still focus on the word “pain” in “painless.”
• Instead of saying “inexpensive,” say “economical,”
• Instead of saying “this procedure is painless,” say “there’s little discomfort” or “it’s relatively comfortable,”
• And instead of saying “this software is error-free” or “foolproof,” say “this software is consistent” or “stable.”
5. Never have only 4 rules.
Actually, Hemingway did only have 4 rules for writing, and they were those he was given as a cub reporter at the Kansas City Star in 1917. But, as any blogger or copywriter knows, having only 4 rules will never do.
So, in order to have 5, I had to dig a little deeper to get the most important of Hemingway’s writing tips of all:
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
Posted by Alissa at 7:16 PM