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Allentown, PA (July 14, 2009)--Ernest Hemingway was one of the preeminent writers of the 20th century, so it's natural for aspiring writers to attempt to emulate the master. Now, thanks to a new book by Cedar Crest College Assistant Professor of English Robert Wilson, the blueprint--if not the talent--is readily available.


The book, published by Adams Media, is chock full of fun and educational exercises to help the reader think and write like the author of such treasured classics as "The Sun Also Rises," "Old Man and the Sea" and "A Farewell to Arms." "Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn from the Master" examines the forces that had the greatest influence in Hemingway's writing--from his early days fresh out of high school as a newspaper reporter for the Kansas City Star, to his middle years living in France among some of the most highly regarded writers of the time including F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot and James Joyce, and crafting some of the finest literature of his era, and beyond.

"Hemingway never went to college, which was much different from other accomplished writers of the day--F. Scott Fitzgerald, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound--who all had Ivy League educations," said Wilson, who lives in Bethlehem. "He took what education he had and learned to write on the street as a newspaper reporter. He further honed his craft by seeking out the guidance of many of the era's top writers, though in many cases he would later have very bad things to say about their work."

It was in his late teens that Hemingway began to hone his "less is more" writing style. "Papa," as Hemingway was often referred, believed words grouped in short, concise sentences contain more power than those intertwined with unnecessary prose, which were more apt to distract the reader. Hemingway called this his "Iceberg Theory" of writing, the thought being that if a writer is using words properly to tell the story and build suspense, many details can be kept below the surface.

"Hemingway was the master of the short sentence. By using these sentences to deliver very specific details, it makes you slow down as a reader and absorb the information," said Wilson. "Hemingway's stories are not about plot; they are about the characters and what makes them tick. He can tell you more with a sentence of dialogue than many writers can in five or six paragraphs of narration."

In addition to his efficient writing style, Hemingway was big on experiencing life, and writing about what he knew from those experiences. At age 18, he volunteered as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross during World War I, where he served in Italy until being wounded during a skirmish. Later, he would write "A Farewell to Arms," which chronicles the trials and tribulations of an American wounded while serving as an ambulance corps commander for the Italian Army.

Wilson, who among others things teaches American literature courses at Cedar Crest College, has admired Hemingway since his undergraduate college days studying and writing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The two share a love of the outdoors, in addition to first-rate literature.

"I had a professor who had a real gift for talking about the beauty of a Hemingway sentence, and I was hooked," he said. "Anyone who is interested in writing clear, concise prose in the tradition of one of America's greatest writers can certainly learn something by picking up a copy of the book."

"Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn from the Master" is currently available wherever books are sold.


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Last Updated: 8/17/09