“What Hemingway Can Teach You About Web Writing” by Robert Bruce

Reblogged from 101 Books


William Faulkner once said, “[Hemingway] has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Hemingway responded: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

No surprise here if you’ve read my review of The Sound And The Fury, but I stand in Hemingway’s camp on this one. To me, the best writing is clear, simple, and to the point.

That’s why I think anyone who writes web copy, whether it’s a blog, an article, and especially any form of marketing content, should look long and hard at Hemingway’s writing style.

As a guy who spends all day writing for the web, I’ve probably been subconsciously using Hemingway’s style for years. With that, here’s what I think Hemingway can teach you about writing on the internet.

Short sentences are swell. This doesn’t mean you need to write like a second grader: “I like vegetables. They are nice.” The point is that a sentence riddled with 8 commas, a semicolon, and a couple of em dashes doesn’t make for a pleasant web reading experience—even if it’s grammatically sound.

Short paragraphs are even better. I’m amazed at how many websites with great content choose to format a 600ish word article into four long paragraphs. In web speak, those are “walls of text,” and they are painful to read. There’s no quicker way to lose a reader than to have giant blocks of text on your page. Your eyes need a break. Paragraph breaks are your friend. Use them!

Short dialogue is pretty cool, too. Hemingway was the master of engaging short dialogue…

To continue reading hit this link!

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