Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story


There are lots of tips from great authors on how to write a story.

Well, here are some more from Kurt Vonnegut (11 November 1922 – 11 April 2007) — anarchist, Second Life dweller, imaginary interviewer of the dead, and sad soul — with eight tips on how to write a good 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 hell 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.

Some very good and interesting advice. You can apply these tips to novel writing too.


Via: https://www.brainpickings.org/kurt-vonnegut-on-writing-stories/

One thought on “Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story

  1. Good list, even though I’m not sure I agree with #8. I’ve never read any of Vonnegut’s novels, but I really liked his short story “Harrison Bergeron” when I was younger. 🙂

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