Hemingway is the kind of writer who stands over modern prose writing as a colossus of technique and style. For one\u2019s writing to be considered \u2018like Hemingway's\u2019 would be the ultimate compliment; this is what I\u2019d always thought. I considered him a kind of dead-mentor - a wise writing legend to follow in my pursuit of writing knowledge. I often put his \u2018iceberg theory\u2019 to use in my own work, enjoying the understated nature of storytelling, something encapsulated in the art of minimalism.\r\n\r\nI recently read A Farewell to Arms and felt so much emotion from the simple story. I then devoured Ernest Hemingway on Writing one day on the train, and found that the author behind the prose I loved so much was not entirely the writer I thought he was.\r\n\r\nA sea of Hemingway's work - what's not to love? Kyra Bandte explores the other side of a much-loved writer.Image Credit: Robert Burdock via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\n\r\nIt was a shock to me to find that the writer that I had always looked up to, differed from my opinions in so many ways. Of course, this kind of disappointment is nothing new for any person, and of course it doesn\u2019t diminish my enjoyment of Hemingway\u2019s prose. But I had an urge to reveal this new Hemingway that I\u2019d found, and so here is a run-down of his best and worst advice as found in Ernest Hemingway on Writing.\r\nThe Best Advice\r\nBe humble:\r\nForget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it \u2013 don\u2019t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist \u2013 but don\u2019t think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you\r\nto F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1934\r\nqtd. in On Writing, p19\r\nAs writers we must channel a range of emotions into words that compel readers to feel, but we have to stay grounded and level-headed in order to focus that feeling appropriately and effectively. We are not special snowflakes.\r\n\u00a0Start truthfully:\r\n\u2026sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame\u2026and think \u201cDo not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.\u201d So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there\r\nA Moveable Feast\r\nqtd. in On Writing, p28\r\nStarting a story is usually the hardest part, but if we believe in our words and we begin with truth, we can create realistic worlds, characters, and emotions for our readers. Writing is about conviction, and truth is the most obvious place to start.\r\nDetermination is key:\r\nYou just have to go on when it is worst and most helpless \u2013 there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is go straight on through to the end of the damned thing\r\nto F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1929\r\nqtd. in On Writing, p45\r\nPerseverance is so integral to being a writer, not just with novels but with any piece. The amount of short stories that I\u2019ve got lying around in half-edited Word documents is ridiculous. But if you don\u2019t finish them, all you\u2019ve really got are half-arsed attempts at something good when your writing has the potential to be great. Laziness only lets yourself down.\r\n\r\nStep into Hemingway's study...Image Credit: Ola Christian Gundels via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\nThe Worst Advice\r\nSimiles and dictionaries:\r\nIf a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it. There are only certain words which are valid and similes (bring me my dictionary) are like defective ammunition (the lowest thing I can think of at this time)\r\nto Bernard Berenson 1953\r\nqtd. in On Writing, p38\r\nSeriously? When there\u2019s a world of books out there (and you could drop dead at any moment) who\u2019s got time to read the dictionary three times over? Also, similes are my writing\u2019s bread and butter. They make me so happy to write and to read. There\u2019s nothing low about a great simile!\r\nThe weather is everything:\r\nRemember to get the weather in your god damned book \u2013 weather is very important\r\nto John Dos Passos, 1932\r\nqtd. in On Writing, p37\r\nIs weather really that important? Most books I read, weather is just filler. Sometimes, yes, it serves a metaphorical purpose and sometimes it propels the action. But is seasonal change really a main priority when it comes to writing? I\u2019m unconvinced.\r\nDon't teach:\r\nMice: That isn\u2019t the way they teach you to write in college.\r\n\r\nY.C.: I don\u2019t know about that. I never went to college. If any sonofabitch could write he wouldn\u2019t have to teach writing in college\r\nBy Line: Ernest Hemingway\r\nqtd. in On Writing, p135\r\nWho the hell do you think you are? Get out.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWorks Cited:\r\n\r\nHemingway, E 1999, Ernest Hemingway on Writing, Larry W. Phillips (ed.), Simon & Schuster, USA.