Tag Archives: writing

Open News

Hemingway Strengthens Writing

This is an Open News article for technology that is making the world simpler to deal with without millions of dollar signs attached. If you’re doing something similar, contact us at [email protected].

Hemingway Strengthens Writing

Writing can be difficult. It can be hard to convey exactly the right message in a way that is simple and enjoyable enough for your audience to play with. At its’ core writing is about making a message resonate with people: for that there are some tools that can help.

One of the niftiest out there may be the Hemingway App, a single-page application that draws on the simplicity Hemingway embodied. Through a set of algorithms that evaluate readability, the Application is a constant reminder to keep things as simple as they can be.

Hemingway App with code(love)

Hemingway App with code(love)

Crafted by a pair of brothers (Ben and Adam Long), the application is something that was created by writers for writers. When the application was founded, Adam was working in marketing, and Ben was working as a copywriter in an ad agency.

They created it because they wanted some objective distance between a writer and their craft. What writers used to achieve by asking others to read their works, Ben and Adam want to make possible through the power of algorithms.

This is important because the Internet opens up countless outlets of expression to everybody, which has enabled content to be shared effortlessly. The amount of writing has exploded. Ben and Adam want to ensure that the quality of what is available matches the quantity.

They’ve made a lot of progress already, without dedicating too much effort.

They’ve made a lot of progress already, without dedicating too much effort. Traction has come from posting in a few writing-focused sub-Reddits, and seeing their app go to the top of Hacker News.

They have a hypothesis that if you solve a real pain, you won’t need to tell your story: others will tell it for you. That has been borne out, time and again, with many people using the application to simplify their story giving Hemingway the plaudits it deserves.

Time and again, the algorithms that power the application itself crank out rules that help simplify writing. The application uses the Automated Readability Index to gauge the clarity of the prose.  Using some detection rules, the application can also point out when you are using too many adverbs, when you are using words that have simpler synonyms, and when you are writing in the passive voice. It seeks to encourage reflection about writing that leads to strong, clear prose that can convey any message effectively.

What the Long brothers have built works, and it works well. They’ve seen it used by a high school special education teacher to help their students, and by somebody who was not a native English speaker to clean up their CV. Writers everywhere swear by it, and already, both Adam and Ben are working on a desktop version, driven by the demand and success they have seen.

It’s an exciting prospect: two talented writers using technology to help improve the calibre of writing online.

It’s an exciting prospect: two talented writers using technology to help improve the calibre of writing online. It’s a daunting goal, but one for which the brothers say they have big plans for. They’re excited. Judging by what they have built so far, everybody else should be as well.

Life Hacking

What makes for good writing—and what doesn’t.

Good writing

Good writing.

Good writing.

Good writing is about getting the reader to the next line in an organized and inspired fashion, imbuing them with the ideas you hold word-by-word, line-by-line, story-by-story. At the end, they should feel like they’ve encountered something profound, and they should look around to the nearest person to share that new feeling with.

Every word becomes a calculation with good writing: does its definition add to unnecessary complexity or does it tailor the exact experience you want to convey?

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack KerouacThe Dharma Bums

All good writers have their own voice, so it’s not up to me to dictate that trade-off point for you. This is your experience you are trying to convey, and not mine.

However, it is good to get back to the root of writing: a good writer tries to make an idea resonate with somebody else. Defining that experience in a way that is mutually pleasurable, and comprehensible, is something all writers should strive for.

Good writing is about good ideas. If you want to be a good writer, strive to find good ideas wherever you can. Constantly strive to read new stories, meet new people, and to dream for those special ideas that move you and others.

Express those ideas in their simplest, and most beautiful form.

Good writing is about touching the undefinable sacred, and profane. Sometimes no words are more powerful than many.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”― Albert EinsteinLiving Philosophies

Do not mistake word count for insight. Marx wrote his Manifesto in 48 pages. It was the ideas behind it that really mattered, and those 48 pages shook, and continue to shake our world.

Good writing is not about showing off how many words you can look up in the thesaurus, or how well you can spell and punctuate.

Good writing is about holding a reader’s attention so that they can coherently absorb the idea you’re trying to communicate.

Good writing evokes imagery: it makes the right words dance across the mind’s eye with the right rhythm. It makes the reader feel like they are stuck one wisp away from an engaging conversation over coffee: good writing makes them want to pay for the writer’s next coffee so they can narrate every detail, to the last, of the reader’s life and make them comprehensible and tied to something greater, in ways the reader themselves never fathomed.

Most importantly, good writing leaves readers wanting for more.