Sunday, April 15, 2007

Passing the Wisdom...

My husband found this wonderful tid bit at they must need bears. It's making the rounds since Kurt Vonnegut's death. This is from his book Bamboo Snuff Box:

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.

Good stuff, huh? Most of this is in reference to short story writing, but I think it applies well to novel length too. Number eight is the one I'm not sure I agree with though. What's your take on that one?

2 comments:

:-)Ronie said...

Oh, I absolutely love that first one. And Number 7. Robin fits right in with number 6. LOL Right, Robin?? Of course--I say that and I'm drafting a story with a very, ultra-sweet gal, and I'm just dreading writing that story, knowing what the sometimes-cad of a hero will do to her. WAH!!

Love this list, Neen. Can I put it on my blog, too? :-D

Miralee said...

I love this!!! I'm struggling with #2...giving the reader a character to root for...my herione is a bit of a snot and spoiled career woman and I'm hitting her with #6 all over the place...but I need to make the poor girl more loveable somehow, or my readers will be rooting for her quick demise, LOL!

Hey, I also wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog today and leaving a comment about my new book cover. I appreciate you! Miralee