When looking for a fresh writing prompt for our upcoming meeting on July 7, our wonderful member S.T. made the following suggestion, “I thought perhaps sometime each of us could start a story in this manner, by writing a simple truth and going from there.  Of course, each truth will be different, but that’s what’s makes the world go ‘round.”


The idea of a simple truth comes from Ernst Hemingway, writing in A Movable Feast:

Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

Following this train of thought, and keeping with Hemingway’s wise guidance (tip number seven, as noted at OpenCulture.com), the word count is limited to 300 words.

Hemingway was contemptuous of writers who, as he put it, “never learned how to say no to a typewriter.” In a 1945 letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway writes:

It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.


Discover your own simple truth and share your work with supportive, respectful and welcoming writers at the next meeting of the

WordWrites Guild at 6:00pm,

at the North Dearborn Public Library on Thursday, July 7.