Hemingway's curious trick: "Stop while you're going good" - Page 2


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Thread: Hemingway's curious trick: "Stop while you're going good"

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by FleshEater View Post
    I'm more of an obsessive compulsive writer where I almost have to perfect before I can move on.
    Almost? Sometimes, those who help you Google how many years they'd get for murder . . .

    As for your question, KC, I've done that for years now and it really works. I've stopped just short of my nightly word count (and I'm anal about hitting that), just so I can slingshot myself into the next night.
    Serious writers write, inspired or not.
    Over time they discover that routine
    is a better friend than inspiration.

    --Ralph Keyes

  2. #12
    'Stop before you get there'- Is that the advice? Hmm. My story is like me, driving a car. There's a roadblock up ahead and I can see it. When I get there I won't be able to go any further. I can't figure out what happens next or what to do about it. I could pull the car over and stop before I get there but what's difference? There's no going around it. If I leave the vehicle I'll have to abandon it. I've done it before. I've left a whole junkyard of blocked roads.


    thank you Kyle
    and thank you R. Serling, for my fourth sentence

  3. #13
    Tremendous advice! I can see where this would solve a world of witing and momentum problems. I just have one question;how would you use this technique in the troubling case of character...
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

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  4. #14
    I've always wanted to do it, but haven't yet garnered the willpower required.
    Sleep is for the weak, or sleep is for a week.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    I write about anime and internet culture at Hidden Content

  5. #15
    Makes sense -- but I usually write at night -- and so I don't stay up too late, I set the timer on my phone. When it goes off, I'm done. That -- or when my human timer calls after me from the bedroom. Either way -- I generally don't have the luxury of picking and choosing when I quit. Oh well.
    Last edited by JosephB; June 15th, 2013 at 07:15 PM.

  6. #16
    There's a lot of truth in this, I'd say. The problem - as so often is the case whenever it comes to Hemingway wisdom - is that it's probably best not to be taken too literally.

    Now I don't know about everybody else, but speaking for myself I find that getting into 'the flow' is damn hard. Not least because to get there one must overcome all else and absorb oneself entirely with the story. So no, I do not stop 'when the going's good'. It's too good to stop.

    However I do absolutely agree that there is something to be said for stopping midway through something. Could be anything - chapter, a paragraph, even a sentence or a word. I do this a lot and it does help. Acts much like a catapult on an aircraft carrier. Even if you know nothing else, you at least know how to begin.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  7. #17
    Member H. Giggles's Avatar
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    Sounds like an interesting technique. I don't know if I could do it though...once I get going, I can't seem to stop until I'm literally falling asleep at the keyboard.

  8. #18
    WF Veteran FleshEater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squidtender View Post
    Almost? Sometimes, those who help you Google how many years they'd get for murder . . .
    There's at least a pay off for that method though; easier editing! Mr. Several
    “Put a gun to my head and paint the wall with my brains.”
    ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
    “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” —Neil Gaiman

  9. #19
    Once you've got a rhythm going, why ruin it? My best scenes were done all at once, because I found my stride and hit it hard. Even if I stopped them mid-scene to keep writing later, I'd have to reach the end of that scene eventually. Then what? Then I've wasted my momentum, and I'm left with a half good, half mediocre scene. If it's not broken, don't fix it.

    As for starting again once you've stopped, I've found that this is where outlines help quite nicely. I'm never at a loss as to where to begin, because everything is planned out beforehand.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  10. #20
    You have to wonder too how much of what Hemingway said was just for effect or to screw with people. Like people have been tripping all over that "the first draft of anything is crap" for 60 years.
    Last edited by JosephB; June 18th, 2013 at 07:46 PM.

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