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Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn from the Master Hardcover – July 18, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way." - Ernest Hemingway"

About the Author

R. Andrew Wilson, Ph.D. (Bethlehem, PA), is currently an English professor and director of writing at a private liberal arts college. He has taught composition, creative writing, American literature, and film for the past four years. Along with publications on American writers such as Henry James, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Wilson has presented papers at conferences for the American Literature Association, the Popular Culture Association, and the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media; Original edition (July 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598698966
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598698961
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,276,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ernest Hemingway was one of those rare authors whose literary contributions where to shape and influence American literature well beyond his own life time. His writing style was direct, laconic, and as a pioneer of modern romanticism, his novels were a significant departure from the literary styles of storytelling that preceded him and became a model for a great many novelists that came after him. In "Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn From The Master", by academician R. Andrew Wilson (an expert in composition, creative writing, and American literature) provides aspiring writers with cogent insights into just what made Hemingway's writing style so effective, how he was able to make his characters distinctively memorable, his storylines so complex even when his storytelling techniques were so succinct. But "Write Like Hemingway" is much more than just another 'how-to' writing guide based on the work of an accomplished author, Professor Wilson's informed and informative text will also be of immense interest and value to scholars and students of Hemingway's work, as well as the non-specialist general reader to whom Hemingway's novels and stories have had an enduring impact.
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Format: Hardcover
The title sounds promising for everybody who wants to improve his/her writing skills, but it would help if the author actually knew how to write like Hemingway. Instead, he writes like a PhD... Wait... The author is a PhD!
The "writing tips" are rare, but you learn a lot of Hemingway's life, and you find a lot of Hemingway quotes. You get a much better value for your money, and actually learn from the master, by reading Hemingway himself. Just another fine example how to sell a book through a misleading title. Don't waste your time and money on this book.
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By Øyvind on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I may not be the right person to rate this book, because I am just a moderate fan of Hemingway. I do not consider him one of the greates writers. I bought the book simply because I do know that he has had a great impact on the litterature of our time, in the way he construed his sentences, and as this stuff is adored by the critics, I thought it would be a good idea to pick up some tips from "the master", Hemingway. In that sense though, this book is a big disappointment. I expected it to be packed with excercises in sentence construction, in stead you get a semi-biography with tons of details on where Hemingway picked up his stuff.
It's no good, don't waste your money.
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Format: Hardcover
Although the author references Hemingway's novels, the bulk of the writing advice is geared toward beginners crafting short stories. He primarily uses examples of Hemingway's, interspersed with biography and quotes.

This is more of a generic "how-to-write" book using Hemingway as a premise. There's things here you just get the sense Hemingway didn't do, and likely didn't believe in. For example, there's two full, detailed pages of "character questionnaire/survey" to 'know' your characters. Or writing 3 drafts of the same thing from different points of view. I was hoping for more on Hemingway's process and methods, and less from beginner-level writing books.

(And while Hemingway was nicknamed 'Papa', I found that familiarity very distracting in this book.)
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed parts of Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn from the Master by Dr. R. Andrew Wilson. What I didn't really learn from it was how to write like Hemingway. Not really.

The book is a study of Hemingway and his writing - from his education and early influences at the Kansas City Star newspaper, to tutelage under Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound and other notables. There are many quotes from Hemingway throughout. The analysis of Hemingway's prose is focused most on his short stories.

The things I found valuable were taken from quotes from Hemingway himself (The Papa Says sections) and I loved the analysis of Hemingway's writing from someone so knowledgeable about the man and his canon of work. There is a lot of focus on the scan0003short, succinct sentence; the less-is-more, Iceberg Theory style that makes Hemingway's work so easily identifiable.

Some of the advice absolutely flies in the face of other popular reference books for writers and at other times, it was simplistic and obvious. Write Like Hemingway reads like a book meant for those just starting out as writers and despite the title and subject matter, it is not written in Hemingway's style.

There are various exercises throughout to help you apply what you've read in the previous chapter to your own work, but I doubt Hemingway actually did any exercises like this.

Write Like Hemingway is a fine analysis of Hemingway's writing and an entertaining read. If you want to read about what Hemingway said about writing, I suggest the book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. If you really want to learn to write like Hemingway, read Hemingway.
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