Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One True Sentence

"A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway was the subject of discussion at this month's book club.   The book is autobiographical of his time while writing in Paris.  When referring to his writing process, Hemingway says, "All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know."  He then says to use that sentence to start your writing.  This technique cuts out fluff and gets to the meat of the topic.
As part of the discussion, we participated in a writing exercise.  We were given a few topics and we were to write one sentence about that topic.  Then we returned to the original sentence and edited it by removing the following words: that, many, there, I and thing.  We then took out any adverbs that could be replaced with a better verb choice.  The exercise was hard but fun.
 One category was to write about yourself.  "I am an L.D.S. woman."  was my best sentence.  It uses the word "I", but felt that it was needed.  It is a declaration, and I thought rearranging it to remove "I" would lessens its impact. I wanted to claim the fullness of what an LDS woman is and can be. Now that I have had more time to think about it, I realize I could have said, "My values and personal characteristics are definded by the principles established by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."  This sounds fluffy to me.
 The problem with both of these sentences is the full meaning of the statement would be lost on anyone who wasn't also an LDS woman or member of the church.  To the outsider it is too restrictive and only tells one part of my story.  I haven't found the sentence yet to tell the full story without making a very boring list of the things I do, think and believe.  
 My next true sentence is, "Work must be done."


Anonymous said...

I have to speak in church next Sunday well not fast Sunday the next sunday. I couldn't have read a better blog to help me with that! Thank you for posting!!

joni said...

Love this post!,