The famous American writer, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007), published fourteen novels, five plays, three short story collections, and five works of non-fiction.
These are the eight rules of writing he crafted that can be applied to any type of writing.
I know it’s tough trying to figure out what a total stranger might want, especially one that you’ve just come up with, but you have to get to know these characters intimately. So, invite them into your home, pour them a scotch and get to know these people. Their wants, their needs, and their ambitions.
Readers need a character they can root for, someone they feel invested in. Think of any of your favorite novels, they all have a character that you can root for, a character that you’re invested in.
Everyone wants something, whether it be a new car, world peace, to find the love of their life, or just to go to sleep happy. Everyone wants something.
I absolutely hate when writers get diarrhea of the mouth and start to blab on about nothing important to the story, or they spend too much time describing the scene. Robert Jordan often did this in his great fantasy series, The Wheel of Time, too much description and not enough story.
Starting anywhere else leaves too much room for fluff, and we don’t need fluff. We want to reveal character and advance action! Leave out the extra long back story, leave out the fluff.
Readers want characters they can root for, they want characters that they can relate to. There’s no better way to do this than to put one of your characters in a shitty situation and watch them climb out of it.
Stephen King says first and foremost to write for yourself. Writing for someone in particular is good too, like a spouse, but more than that and you’re asking for trouble. You can’t please everyone.
Don’t worry about what one person has to say about your writing, you should only start to worry when multiple people start saying the same thing. At that point, there may be reason to take a step back and rethink things.
Write simply, there’s no need for extravagant words and riddle like prose. Use words your readers know and lead them in the right direction. Vonnegut wrote simply. Hemingway wrote simply. Learn from the best.
During the mid to late 1960s, after Vonnegut was already a successful novelist, he took to teaching the craft at the Iowa Writer’s workshop.
Much like his books, his advice, possessed unusual quirks. By many he’s seen as a genius who changed the writing landscape forever. Hold these eight rules to heart and try seldom to break them.
Until next time, write on!Tags: 8 rules, kurt vonnegut, kurt vonnegut's 8 rules for writing, slaughterhouse-five, wheel of time