Thursday, April 17, 2008

Newspaper writing: Hemingway style

So how did Ernest Hemingway develop that unique writing style? A lot of it came from his newspaper writing experience, at the Kansas City Star. The Star has put a stylesheet from around 1915 online, and they say
Hemingway later remarked to a reporter that the admonitions in this style sheet were 'the best rules I ever learned in the business of writing'.
Wonderful stuff. Much outdated, but could be adapted to current style thought:
Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be postitive, not negative.
...Never use old slang. Such words as stunt, cut out, got his goat, come across, sit up and take notice, put one over, have no place after their use becomes common. Slang to be enjoyable must be fresh.
...Say luncheon, not lunch.
There's a surprising amount of information on reporting drug use:
The Star does not use 'dope' or 'dope fiend'. Use habit forming drugs or narcotics or addicts.
It's too bad the PDF of this old document has some unreadable words, but the cover sheet says you can order a plain text copy from the paper. There's also a whole feature section on Hemingway at the Star, at

(Thanks to Dr. Web.)



  • Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

    By Anonymous Writing a Research Paper, at 7:45 AM  

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