Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Rules For Writing Fiction

First of all, I'd like to state that I got this from another awesome blog I read. "The Seekers". Check it out if you get a chance.

Kurt Vonnegut: 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.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.


  1. LOL! Dang cockroaches, you gotta watch out for them! LOL! And i'm so with him on the give the readers as much as you can and don't hold back. Because I find the more I give as I go and come across it, the more there is to reveal later--stuff I never even imagined. Weird I know. And LOVE LOVE LOVE number 7! Got me laughing right out loud! Thanks for posting this! It's awesome! Jenni

  2. I think my favorite is number six. I LOVE stories that reveal the inner strength of the mains. Those are my favoite vids, too. (For example, 'The Four Feathers'.)