Friday 5 September 2014

Advice on writing - Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer. His works such as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. He was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a critical pacifist intellectual. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.

Here are Kurt Vonnegut’s eight basic rules of writing:

  • 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 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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Kurt Vonnegut had so much energy and heart, and such a passionate hatred for unfairness.

He says his readers have enough information to finish the story themselves. I remember reading and reading to the bitter end, hoping against all sense that something miraculous would occur and there would be a happy ending. He certainly knew how to tug the heart strings.