Creative writing 101

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Creative writing 101

Post by jenny » Sun Oct 10, 2004 10:33 pm

This is something I found that I thought I should share. It's written by Kurt Vonnegut, who's probably best known for writing the words to that Sunscreen song that was popular about five years ago. Eight handy steps to writing joy:

Creative Writing 101
Now lend me your ears. Here is 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 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.

The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.
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Re:Creative writing 101

Post by Bothead » Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:18 pm

Good enough advice. Maybe the last piece can have exceptions, since you're just giving info about the character, not his/her/it's life story. But still, it makes sense.
Before continuing, it may be in your best interest, dear reader, to stop and ponder this. Picture it in your mind's eye. An evil one-eyed midget named Cheatum swam across the Gulf of Mexico wearing a shark fin on his back and then planted a bomb on a boat. Think about that. Let that sink in. Now. Wouldn't you want to buy a wrestling show after seeing this?

Dance Epidemic tonight!

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Re:Creative writing 101

Post by hadisia » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:32 am

My friend Lauren has this quote in her livejournal bio that I find particularly truthful:

"It's bad writing to describe everything about a character at once, you flaming n00bs."
Last edited by Anonymous on Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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FRASER: The sound of a grown man squealing in a manner not becoming a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
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