04 May 2007

advice from Kurt Vonnegut

As everyone knows by now, Kurt Vonnegut passed away this year on April 11. He was a truly unique person and the author of such classics as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat's Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973).

Today someone emailed me VONNEGUT'S RULES FOR WRITERS so I thought I'd pass them along:
  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the 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 two things -- reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck 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.


Wow! Excellent advice!

Rest in peace, Kurt.

1 comment:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I see these seem to count for something:

Brevity
Empathy
Longing
Words
Start
Write
Knowledge