Vonnegut’s Rules for Writing

Ripped from the pages of Wikipedia:
In his book Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Vonnegut listed eight rules for writing a short story:
Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
Start as close to the end as possible.
Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

2 thoughts on “Vonnegut’s Rules for Writing”

  1. Some very good down to earth advise (esp 1 and 3) and and I must say I love 6 (my roots in fanfiction demand character sadism lol) though I'm not sure how I feel about 8…

    I don't know if I should thank you or curse you, but I looked at NaNoWriMo's sibling National Scrip Writing Month and I'm thinking of trying it. We'll see once April is in full swing whether you should file for protection or not, LOL ^_~


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