for a strong, fast pick-me-up
We can all improve our writing by learning how Hemingway used repetition and the sound of words.
I’ll share one of my favourite Hemingway sentences – that can help you add flavour and sound to your writing!
I love the repetition and the sound of the words.
This sentence always makes me “taste” oysters and cold white wine.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine…
(A Moveable Feast)
I’m on a family beach vacation – and enjoying a Hemingway vibe.
It’s been a joy to be surrounded by boats and seafood and to have time to re-read some of his true sentences and accurate descriptions.
Hemingway wrote in a crisp, economical style.
Few repeated or wasted words – unless he was repeating words for an effect.
One of my favourite modern writing teachers Roy Peter Clark advises you to go back and edit your work and to omit unintentionally repeated words. He even does this to his own copy.
Intentionally repeated words are a different kettle of oysters 🙂
For me, this Hemingway sentence is full of flavour and taste and the sea-inspired sounds of eating oysters.
What repeated word stands out to you?
Yes – taste – mentioned 4 times.
And sea – written twice
And cold – written twice
And wine – twice
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine,
2. The sound of words echoing the sounds of the sea.
The sea is often associated with words with S and SH in them – to echo the waSH and SplaSH and sometimes the huSH or whiSper of the waves.
Read this sentence out loud and listen to the sounds of the sea.
As I ate the oySerS with their Strong taSte of the Sea and their faint metallic taSte that the cold white wine waSHed away, leaving only the Sea taSte and the Succulent texture, and aS I drank their cold liquid from each Shell and waSHed it down with the criSp taSte of the wine,
Hemingway often criticised critics for reading too much into his work.
There isn’t any symbolysm [sic]. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish
Maybe I am reading too much into this oyster sentence.
Maybe an oyster is just an oyster!
Still, I love this sentence and the feelings and taste memories it evokes.
Here are links to other posts in this Hemingway-inpired series.
Also, here are other tips to help you improve your writing.
If you’d like to improve your writing: Here are some quick tips.
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