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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for aspiring and even veteran writers
Larry Phillips' compilation of the comments Hemingway made on the process of writing contains a wealth of material for writers at every level. I had the good fortune to read the book in its original hard-cover version when it was published in the mid-1980s. At that point, I had been a newspaper and magazine writer and editor for about a decade, and I found several key...
Published on 19 Aug 1999

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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Of doubtful value to aspiring writers
This book probably won't speed you on your way to your own 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' but it does provide some insight to Hemingway's attitudes to things in general and literature in particular. This is a collection of extracts, some quite short, from letters and biographies and gathered into chapters like 'Working Habits'. However, the quotes are often isolated from their...
Published on 2 Oct 2004 by Chris Lawton


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for aspiring and even veteran writers, 19 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
Larry Phillips' compilation of the comments Hemingway made on the process of writing contains a wealth of material for writers at every level. I had the good fortune to read the book in its original hard-cover version when it was published in the mid-1980s. At that point, I had been a newspaper and magazine writer and editor for about a decade, and I found several key ideas I was able to incorporate into my own work. I'd long ago loaned out my copy of the hard-cover book when the paperback version came out this summer, so I happily purchased a copy and reread the book. It seems as fresh today as it did nearly 15 years ago. There are still lots of specific tips and techniques writers can acquire. One of my favorites is Hemingway's recommendation that a writer not continue writing until he or she runs dry, but rather stop at a point when the next sentence or paragraph or chapter is known. That way, the writer can pick up later where he or she left off, without the trauma of facing a blank page or a blank screen, wondering what's next. I've tried it over the years, and it works. Beyond those specifics, however, I find it interesting to read how Hemingway viewed his life as a writer. Regardless of how you feel about Hemingway as a person or even as a writer, you might recognize that the man spent a lot of time thinking about what it meant to be a writer and how a writer should develop his or her craft. That alone is worth the price of admission.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book...very bad paper, 18 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
Hemingway was enthusiastic about his craft. The editor of this selection chose hundreds of quotes from Hemingway's works that deal with writing. They are excellent choices. This could be a worthwhile textbook for a writer developing his own craft, or for an interested reader studying Hemingway. It is regrettable that the paper is little better, if at all, than newsprint. It is virtually impossible to annotate in pencil. I suspect this book will self-destruct in a year like an old newspaper.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book...very bad paper, 18 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
Hemingway was enthusiastic about his craft. The editor of this selection chose hundreds of quotes from Hemingway's works that deal with writing. They are excellent choices. This could be a worthwhile textbook for a writer developing his own craft, or for an interested reader studying Hemingway. It is regrettable that the paper is little better, if at all, than newsprint. It is virtually impossible to annotate in pencil. I suspect this book will self-destruct in a year like an old newspaper.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Of doubtful value to aspiring writers, 2 Oct 2004
This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
This book probably won't speed you on your way to your own 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' but it does provide some insight to Hemingway's attitudes to things in general and literature in particular. This is a collection of extracts, some quite short, from letters and biographies and gathered into chapters like 'Working Habits'. However, the quotes are often isolated from their contexts and are quite useless as advice on writing per se. An example from the chapter 'Other Writers',page 91, I quote:
"I think you should learn about writing from everybody who has ever written that has anything to teach you" to F Scott Fitzgerald 1925.Unquote.
No, I didn't understand it either and there's more of that ilk. Actually Stephen King's book 'On Writing' is a much better book as it is deliberately written for the aspiring writer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What it says on the tin, 23 May 2014
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This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
I decided to take a punt on this book, despite some of the reviews, and I'm glad I did. While it's not a "write your own novel" book, it's a collection of Hemingway's reflections on writing over the years, pulled together by theme instead of chronology. Sometimes it's provoking, sometimes poignant, sometimes you can hear the great man going twenty rounds with his own human struggle with articulation. If you take it as a personal comment on what it was like for EH to write (to the standard that won him the Nobel and sees him as one of the greatest American writers), then it is well worth the cover price. If you want a writing course, look elsewhere. This book has enough inspiration and insight into what it is to struggle alone - as every writer has to - with what it is to try to write something decent, to make it well worth making the space on the bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Advice from the master, 4 Dec 2013
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Hemingway is one of the writers I would most like to emulate. And with these pointers he has given me at least the hope of coming close. The advice is witty, to the point, and credible. Do not expect a handbook, or a well set-out guidebook, but rather a collection of thoughts and anecdotes that are, to my mind, more useful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 11 Feb 2010
This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
Perhaps the problem is that a title like "Ernest Hemingway on Writing" promises to deliver a lot more than this book does. It is a collection of quotations from a variety of sources, ranging from published work to telegrams and letters - but it doesn't add up to a coherent whole and is presented without any real context. As a result it is really quite dull after a while - just one anecdote after another - and doesn't tell you much about Hemingway as a person or much about him as a writer. It's not a book to sit down and read like some of the other "On Writing" books - it's the kind of book you can keep in the bathroom....

Personally I would suggest Carlos Baker's biography or "Hemingway The Life and Death of A Giant" by Kurt Singer, "Papa" by Gregory Hemingway or "Papa Hemingway" by AE Hotchner, or "How it Was" by Mary Welsh Hemingway if you want to know about Hemingway as a person - and read his work if you want to know what he thought about writing.

For an 'On Writing' book that is great then try Norman Mailer's "The Spooky Art" or as a previous reviewer has said Stephen King's "On Writing" is also very good.

Of course, if you're a Hemingway fan like me then you're going to buy this anyway so ignore all the above!
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10 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like the bible, only with fewer floods, 27 April 2004
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This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
So you're after some advice on writing - who do you turn to? JK Rowling?Shove it. Stephen King? Not for me, friend. John Grisham? Stop, before I hurt myself. Readers, I'll put you out of your misery - you turn to Papa.
That's about the crux of it, friends.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST FOR ANYONE WHO WRITES WITH SERIOUS INTENT, 14 Jun 2008
By 
Bill Keeth (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Paperback)
Had you to vacate your home, bags packed, return scheduled in no fewer than seven days or so, where would you stash your valuables secure against your return? In a wall safe perhaps? In a fire safe loft locker? Alternatively, you might hit upon the idea of craftily disguising the stuff as worthless, utilising one of those fake soup cans that seem such a good idea at the time of purchase. Or you might go one step further, taking your lead from Scribner's treatment of Larry W Phillips's ERNEST HEMINGWAY ON WRITING. In this instance, what you would opt to do instead, as Scribner has done, is wrap the goods in what would appear to be 144 sheets of utility mark toilet paper, ensuring that every last bit of the great man's testament is securely enclosed within; whereupon (for no good reason other than unrelenting parsimony to the nth degree) you would then bung this multi-layered parcel in an even larger (and largely-faded) sepia photograph bearing a right profile image of the author who has been so abysmally treated.

Voila, as I say, ERNEST HEMINGWAY ON WRITING, courtesy of The House of Scribner of the Avenue of the Americas. For 'tis a brave new world, indeed, where an Amazon seller who ventures to describe the condition of a book as Acceptable is party to a prouder boast than his poor competitor who must perforce admit his copy of the same book is New.

But for all that, don't miss out on this book if a writer you would be. Put Scribner's petty parsimony right out of your mind and forget it, and seek ye the gold dust within. Oh, there is fool's gold aplenty, too - with Hemingway running off at the mouth on occasion with imaginings of the "rabbit's foot for good luck variety". But we can allow him this much in recognition of his undoubted reputation, and of every observation he makes that is most definitely good, none of which I consider it proper to repeat here.

So buy the book and see: it is an absolute must for anyone who writes with serious intent. True, it's not a beginner's book. Not that a beginner might not read it. But simply through the sheer lack of words expended on his own account, a beginner might miss out on much of the wisdom inherent in Hemingway's words. Not to put too fine a point on it, a beginner might well mistake fool's gold for gold, and vice versa.
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Ernest Hemingway on Writing
Ernest Hemingway on Writing by Larry W Phillips (Paperback - 26 July 1999)
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