Category Archives: Sites I Love

Check your writing with the Hemingway App Website

Here's an example of some of the advice Hemingway gives you.
Here’s an example of some of the advice Hemingway gives you.

I’ve only just discovered the Hemingway App website.

Take an article you’ve written, paste it into the Hemingway App and it will tell you what needs fixing, to make it more readable.

Be careful with the output as the spelling is American English but the writing rules and advice it gives is excellent.

I assume the app was named after Ernest Hemingway because it teaches you clear and simple writing.

Ernest Hemingway learned the following four rules when he started as a reporter at the Kansas City Star in 1917.

  1. Use short sentences
  2. Use short first paragraphs
  3. Use vigorous English
  4. Be positive, not negative

Here’s some of my writing rules:

I never liked hooptedoodle

Elmore_LeonardElmore Leonard, crime writer and novelist died on Tuesday, age 87.

He wrote a great article in 2001 for The New York Times

WRITERS ON WRITING; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle

Below is a summary of his 10 rules – Full article at The New York Times

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said” . . .
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
  6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. 

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

The Tiger Oil Memos – Letters of Note

Do yourself a favour and follow Letters of Note on Twitter or just browse the site.  It is full of great letters to and from great writers like,  C.S. Lewis on Writing.  Simple and very wise advice.

One of my favourites, because it reminds me of my dad Simon are the memos of Edward Mike Davis, owner of Tiger Oil Company.

Dad used to stick very similar memos on the door of us kids’ bedrooms.  I can only imagine he sent the same memos around his office.  Find all 22 of the famous Tiger Oil Memos here but below has to be one of my favourites.  Apart from the aversion to alcohol, it is my dad in a previous life.

Tiger Oil Memos - Edward Mike Davis

The Oatmeal Comics – Grammar Pack

I love The Oatmeal.  Great comics, great wit and excellent advice on grammar from artist Matthew Inman.

Combined with fantastic illustration, Matthew Inman does a better job than just the text explanations from my site.

Simon The Oatmeal
Apostrophes How To Use An Apostrophe
Semi-colon How to use a semicolon
Spelling Ten Words You Need To Stop Misspelling
ie When to use i.e. in a sentence


You can order posters from The Oatmeal site, they are entertaining reminders that you should definitely put up in your writing room.