• @DandyDog@lemmy.ml
    32 years ago

    This may be specific to online writing communities, but Hemingway is held up as a paragon of extremely simple, short sentences.

    The only thing that’s simple about his writing is his diction (word choice). He rejects words like 'bountiful, excellent, resplendent" etc and opts instead for ‘good, bad, big, small’ etc. That’s good and new writers can learn big lots of things from that.

    However, his use of sentence structure and various rhetorical devices is what gives his prose complexity. Many of his sentences are MARATHONS that can go on for half a page.

    Outside of the genuinely simply-written ‘Old Man and the Sea’, open up a random page of his and you’ll find sentences like this entirely made-up example:

    “The sun was high and the day was hot and so he drank a great deal of grappa which was good and wet and cool and the women came up sighing from the riverbed with their ankles showing and Robert waved to them and greeted them and then all of them made love with him for eighteen hours in the hot sun and the cool wet grappa replenished them and it was good.”

    Now, this sentence is technically what’s called a ‘simple compound’ in that the many phrases are linked in a straightforward way by an onslaught of 'and’s. (Technically a ‘complex’ sentence has parentheticals and dependent clauses which Hemingway seems to think are disingenuous.) Mainly, Hemingway’s sentences are longer than they are complex. To modern readers though, long sentences like the above have a strong feel of being complex.

    When the writing advice-givers are talking about Hemingway being such a simple writer who wrote clean, short sentences – they don’t know what they’re talking about. They haven’t read him. They have a false idea of him in their head, based on what other people have said about him.

    If you’ve heard of the Hemingway app, his own books get an abysmal failing grade. Every sentence is highlighted red.

    Also, the idea that ‘everyone should write like Hemingway’ (which is based on a lie) is bullshit advice anyway!

    These chuckleputzes think that the Great Gatsby would have been improved if the opening line was: “Jay Gatsby was a wealthy man with a big house and he threw a lot of parties and he loved Daisy who was beautiful.” Like, fucking come on!

    • @Octorine@lemmy.ml
      02 years ago

      Your example reads like John Sandford to me. Halfway through it I started hearing it in Richard Ferrone’s voice