I attended a fantastic workshop presented by author Cinda Williams Chima on creating compelling characters. Something Ms. Chima mentioned that's helped her develop the intriguing characters of her YA fantasy novels is Ernest Hemingway's Iceberg Theory
|A Young Ernest Hemingway|
In 1923 Hemingway conceived of the idea of a new theory of writing after finishing his short story "Out of Season". In A Moveable Feast, his posthumously published memoirs about his years as a young writer in Paris, he explains: "I omitted the real end [of "Out of Season"] which was that the old man hanged himself. This was omitted on my new theory that you could omit anything ... and the omitted part would strengthen the story." In the opening chapter of Death in the Afternoon he compares his theory about writing to an iceberg.
Hemingway biographer Carlos Baker believed that as a writer of short stories Hemingway learned "how to get the most from the least, how to prune language and avoid waste motion, how to multiply intensities, and how to tell nothing but the truth in a way that allowed for telling more than the truth." Furthermore, Baker explains that in the writing style of the iceberg theory the hard facts float above water, while the supporting structure, complete with symbolism, operates out-of-sight.
|The Tip of the Iceberg|
Had you ever heard of Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory? If not, have you been using it without knowing there was a term for it? Thanks for visiting!