April 13

KURT VONNEGUT (1922-2007)

In his book Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Kurt Vonnegut offered the following advice on writing:

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.

Goodbye, Mr. Vonnegut….



Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.

Posted April 13, 2007 by TW in category "People", "The Craft

5 COMMENTS :

  1. By Devin on

    I was saddened to hear of his passing. Though I have never read his work (which I will make a point of changing soon), I have watched him speak and heard him interviewed on various social topics over the years. He struck me as kind of a modern-day Mark Twain – using his gifts to raise the consciousness of our society. I fear with his passing (and with the inevitable passing of so many other great and talented minds from the “Greatest Generation”) this trend will continue in our nation; a great ignorance will continue to obscure the sun for many. Intellectual curiosity seems to be at an all-time-low in America at present… otherwise, why on Earth would we have the kind of ‘leadership’ we do? Enough said on that subject (as this is NOT a political blog).

    Let’s hope Kurt’s books and thoughts are kept safe and accessible to the masses for generations to come.

    Best Regards,
    Devin

  2. By Dante Kleinberg on

    This hit me a little hard. I did a bit of a teary-eyed memorial on my blog too. He was my first favorite writer and meant a lot to me…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*