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Lessons from Ernest Hemingway’s shortest novel ever

Rumor has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write the shortest novel ever. In response, he wrote: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

Whether or not Hemingway actually wrote those six incredible words, they show the power in simplicity. One of the “rules of writing” that I’ve heard over and over is that sometimes less is more—especially when evoking strong emotions. Novelist and TV Writer/Producer Lowell Cauffiel stated in an interview on that Hemingway’s “shortest novel ever” reminds him that when he’s editing to especially look for what he can delete or pare down—long paragraphs of description or setting that don’t move the story forward, unnecessary dialogue, or large chunks of information.

There are as many ways to write and as many styles of writing as there are fingerprints but remember the beauty in simplicity and lean writing. To read some of Hemingway’s (short) writing tips, check out this post by Brian Clark: “Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well.” To learn more about six-word memoirs, read Carly’s post.

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