Kurt Vonnegut was certainly never dull…especially when giving advice to other writers. Here are his eight essential tips for a short story that I keep in mind every time my fingers stroke the keys, or my pen hits the clean white page…
- 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 who 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.
For more great articles by Kurt visit Open Culture page. I’m heading for “How to Write with Style” next!
The day is gray, but the sky is white… I sit and watch the silky wisps of snow fall this early Monday afternoon…I experience it as a blessing, the sense of renewal the white will bring as it caresses the earth, creating a sense of a new beginning.
It is silent, comfortable, for a this moment, for a welcome change, I need not go anywhere…I can watch, type, get my work done right here, in front of my window, and let the February snow fall…
“It is never too late for a fresh start.” I read this in a little book I picked up yesterday, a book that was meant to find my hand at that moment, a blessed synchronicity on my own writing and spiritual journey that I started this year on January first. It says to be thankful for New Years, Birthdays, and Mondays, for each is the start of something new, each is potential to experience a clean slate in your life, to start a new path and to give you opportunity to search…or to be found.
stop everything…for just a moment…and consider the invitation.
Do you feel a need for a new beginning?
Know that in any small aspect of your life, a fresh, new beginning is always possible…
I still #am writing but alas
have lagged behind in NaNoWriMo word counts…
But my story still surges on, which is
ultimately, the most important thing to me.
I am thankful for taking on the challenge.
It has inspired me to write, write, and write more
instead of waiting for another day
(you know, the “tomorrow zone”)
Today = Writing
image: The Wit Continuum
Happy Halloween everyone!
The Wit is away for the weekend, pumping up or NaNoWriMo, perusing the lines of esoteric pleasure and pain and beauty in words…and pumpkin patches…
See you all in November…
Planning through the past few weeks for Na No Wri Mo, National Novel Writing Month, this November. Feels great to finally have the time to focus. For me it’s now or never with stories I have. One in particular has been begging to be written, so I’m focused, I’m ready…
So if any of you fellow readers and writers have signed up and are all-in for the challenge this year let me know.
Join me as a buddy, pen name MichelleG-83, if you’d like.