Writing Tips from Kurt Vonnegut

Posted: November 16, 2012 in Dark Art Cafe
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Kurt Vonnegut on “How to Write a Short Story”

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such as a way so that he or she does not feel their time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of 2 things: reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading character is, make awful things happen them so that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open the window to make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as soon as possible. The heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what’s going on – where and why – that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.


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