August 8, 2004

In Our Time
Ernest Hemingway

The 3 Elements of Great Writing – All great writing is authentic. The voice is unmistakably real and the story is unwaveringly true and there is an organic connection between the writer and what is being written. All great writing is innovative. The writer is a pioneer, discovering clever approaches to language and structure and form and story that build upon our knowledge while expanding our current understanding of literary art. Finally, all great writing is influential, changing forever how others write (or, as Tobias Wolff has pointed out, try not to write). You find the echoes of great writing in stories told years later. All of this brings me to one of our nation’s great writers, Ernest Hemingway. Strip away the larger-than-life myths, ignore his many real-life dramas, and what you are left with are the man’s stories – authentic, innovative and influential tales. “At the lake shore there was another rowboat drawn up,” one story begins. “The two Indians stood waiting.” Generations of writers have now come and gone writing in the shadows of such lines, for better, for worse, forever.


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