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Krut Vonnegut's 8 rules of short story writing

- Taken from

On pages 9 and 10 of his book Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Vonnegut listed eight rules for writing a short story:

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.

Creation date: Apr 13, 2007 11:48am     Last modified date: Apr 13, 2007 11:48am   Last visit date: May 19, 2024 4:51pm
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Apr 13, 2007  ( 1 comment )  
Tom Carr (penpaint)
This is inspiring! Now I want to start writing - but since you found this first I will wait till I see your short story!
Thanks - good share
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