Kurt Vonnegut had a Few Rules….

Vintg.2            I am in the middle of creating a Journal – Workbook for Creative Writing.   There are six sections, ‘How to Begin’, ‘How to Write Fiction’, How to Write a Stage Play’ and more.  I also included inspiring quotes from famous authors and playwrights as well as poets.  It’s more than a journal, although the owner of the book will have well over 260 blank pages in which to create and write.

While I do not profess to be the ‘expert’ when it comes to writing I did want to share with you, in this Journal, some tools that you can use when you sit down to write. I don’t know about you, but I am so inspired when reading the work of another author that I admire, that I also included many fascinating quotes.

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.” Ernest Hemingway

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” ~ John Steinbeck

While doing my research (for the Journal)  I stumbled across this introduction (to writing) by iconic author, Kurt Vonnegut.  Author of Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, just to name a few.

In the Introduction, Vonnegut provides his rules for “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 that they 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.

This man was a brilliant writer, with a rapier sharp wit and a view on the world that was unique.  I miss him!


In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!    Dean Koontz is my June author.

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