Posted by: kimberlysullivan | January 29, 2016

Will the juice come?

2016_January_HemingwayAs long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come.

-Ernest Hemingway

I love this quote from the American author Ernest Hemingway, and I find it very useful.

I was recently speaking to a friend who is mapping out all of her ideas. She seems excited about her project and endlessly revises charts and graphs. But she’s done very little actual writing.

When I suggest she concentrate her energies on putting proverbial pen to paper and actually writing in order to better understand the characters and the story, she looks at me as if I’m crazy. Perhaps next time I’ll quote Hemingway to sound more authoritative.

But his thinking does resonate with me. I’ve never been much of an outliner, but I do start my stories with a basic storyline in mind. However, the characters never really come to life until I start to write and the proverbial juices begin to flow. Seems like it worked for old Ernest, anyway.

What about you, writers? What do you think about Hemingway’s advice? Does it work for you?


  1. Oh yes, I think planning is all well and good… but I’ve always found that it takes a bit into my story before I get a real feel for my characters. What do they say? How do they say it? How do they react to what others do/say? There’s only so much predictive behavior one can get from an outline or chart – there needs to be voice.

    • Isn’t it true, Janet? So much fun to watch your characters come alive on the page. I’m the same way, I need to start writing to understand my characters.

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