Most helpful positive review
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A great resource for aspiring and even veteran writers
on 19 August 1999
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.