An Exercise from Hemingway and Bruce McAllister

In the latest issue of Writers Ask, Bruce McAllister writes: “Hemingway’s favorite exercise was to take a favorite scene from another writer’s novel, try to recreate it in words as close as possible to the original, and compare the two versions. Every writer I’ve ever known who’s tried this has been blown away by it. You learn instantly, among many other things, whether you’re an underwriter or overwriter, a visual writer or an audial one, have an ear for dialogue or prefer summarizing speech.”

I think this is a great idea for evaluating your own writing, and without a critique group at the moment, I’m always looking for help in looking critically at my writing. Though I haven’t tried this yet, I plan to soon!


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