Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on Writing a Short Story

Kurt Vonnegut on 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.

Author: Ray Calabrese

I am an optimistic, can do, and never quit guy. The spirit of hope indelibly marks my DNA. My research at The Ohio State University helped people discover the best in themselves and change their personal lives, public organizations, and whole communities. I bring the same spirit and enthusiasm to my blog to help those who grieve who find themselves suddenly alone, navigate their grieving. Join my more than 24,300Twitter (@alwaysgoodstuff). I promise my tweets are always good stuff. Please feel free to email me at ray.brese@gmail.com.

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