Vonnegut's 8 rules for writing fiction
Contributor
Written by
Eugenia Kim
October 2009
Contributor
Written by
Eugenia Kim
October 2009
Eight rules for writing fiction: 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. Now 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. -- Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1999), 9-10. Courtesy the folks at A Wing and a Page blog

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Comments
  • Sharon Ferguson

    I love this - am going to print it and pasted it on my computer where I can see it every day

  • Willona S.

    This is so useful. Thanks for posting these insightful tips! - Willona