More Writing 101

Kurt-Vonnegut-007I’m sitting down to read Slaughterhouse Five [1] and I got to thinking about Vonnegut’s 8 famous writing tips. They are awesome and timeless and I would do well to review them daily.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Creative Writing 101:

  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.


[1] okay, I’m actually about to watch the 1972 movie…



  1. enitsirhcmik · August 18, 2013

    Omggg awesome! And just what I need!!! Do u subscribe to brainpickings?

    Ps – I love that ur watching the movie. HILARIOUS!!!

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