I discovered an interesting website the other day. It’s called the Hemingway Editor. It highlights sentences and words that make your writing unclear and indirect. It forces you to really consider where you want to place your indirect verbs, and where you want to place longer sentences. I wrote the following within the editor. The result was something that sounds a lot like Hemingway (big surprise).
Growing up, we had this giant, brown dog we named Sandy. I don’t know why we named her Sandy; she wouldn’t remind anybody of sand. Our parents bought her before either my sister or I was born, so that dog was a third parent to us during our first years. She was kind of like a nurse. My parents donated my crib about a month after I was born because I kept climbing out of it to use Sandy as a pillow. As I grew up and my parents crept out of parenthood and back into their jobs, Sandy became my guardian. It was Sandy that greeted me as I opened the door to my house, Sandy that gazed with sympathy when I complained about bullies and homework. She was always there for me, and she never let me down. I loved writing about her. I’d focus on the little things, like the way she’d smile just a little bit when I took her out for walks, and the way she’d nestle her nose in the crook of my arm whenever I’d had a bad day. I’d write about how she took her usual place in the bathtub to watch me shave for the first time, or about the times she’d play catch with me on lonely summer afternoons. She’s dead now. I woke up next to her one Saturday morning and her heart had been stopped by something. I was angry at first. Where did she get off, leaving me alone? But I suppose it was good the she went the way she did; if there was anything she deserved, it was to die next to something she cared about. But then I got scared. What if she hadn’t cared about me at all? What if she was just always with me because I fed her and petted her and walked he? She was just a dog, after all. What did she know? But even then I knew the answer: Sandy knew everything. She always did.