Hemingway’s rules

I’ve tried not to use this blog to bemoan the state of journalism. But as newspapers prepare their own obituaries, I’m overwhelmed with loss. Great, probing journalism still exists, but you’d need to be an investigative reporter to find it.

The industry’s demise is a loss for readers and a blow to democracy. I’m sure many journalists thought about their roles in democracy yesterday, the day we celebrated our country’s independence.

My personal loss is tied to my career as a novelist. The glory days of newspapers provided incredible training grounds for writers. I wouldn’t be writing fiction today without my newspaper experience.

Hemingway: a newspaper man.

Hemingway: a newspaper man.

Here’s what one great fiction writer had to say about lessons he learned in journalism. Ernest Hemingway said the best rules for writing were those he received while working at the Kansas City Star. Those newspaper-inspired rules are as follows:

  1. Use short sentences.
  2. Use short first paragraphs.
  3. Use vigorous English.
  4. Be positive, not negative.

Thank you, editors at the Kansas City Star, for nurturing one of America’s greatest writers.

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One thought on “Hemingway’s rules

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