True words

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“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”  Ernest Hemingway.

This quote was posted on my FB timeline a couple of days ago. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Don’t we all try to write the truth, our own truth? Then I really started thinking about the words – and wondered what a ‘true sentence’ really is.

Perhaps it’s not about the truth of what I write, the bare facts. It’s about how I choose to write it. The truth of the sentence is in the words themselves, and if one word is wrong, the sentence will not be true.

I don’t agonise over every word I write. I see and hear things in my imagination and somehow my hand transcribes the thoughts into the written word. I don’t think in words, I think in images. And as the image emerges on the page I take the words for granted, as long as they describe what I need them to describe.

Of course, as I edit and proof read, I look at the words – grammar, syntax, how I could say things better. But I don’t think I consider every word, weigh it and ask if it is absolutely right. Perhaps this is what Hemingway advised – the weighing of every word, the position of every word in relation to others, until the written sentence is as good as it can be – until it holds its own truth in the care that has been taken in its construction, in the rightness of each element, a finely honed creation.

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About Alexa

I have just started writing again after a break of some years. I write mostly non-fiction, although I love story writing. My first Steampunk novel has been sent into the big wide world to make its fortune (or not). I hate mowing lawns, love growing flowers, and spend a fair bit of time shifting mole-hill detritus from the lawn to the flower borders. I have a degree in English Literature and Theology, and a passion for science that I wish I'd discovered when I was young enough to choose it as a career path. I have two sites on Wordpress. 'Born-again sceptic' - my personal views on the science/religion debate, and 'Writing and other stuff' an eclectic mix of things that interest me ( the title says it all).

8 responses »

  1. Well done you. Great to start again.I’ve been blogging a few years but have also just started writing fiction again. Sweating blood and all that. All the very best. I’m a new follower … just to make sure you don’t slack none!! Also .. have a look at my writers den website.
    All the very best with your writing.
    Kris
    http://awritersden.wordpress.com

  2. Read Tim O’Brien’s ‘The Things They Carried’. It’s a war book, but it has one of the most exquisite ways of writing “truth”. You’ll see what I mean if you read it. It’s excellent.

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