Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Art Of Short Story Writing


You don't have to be an "aspiring novelist" or a working writer to have a desire to write a short story. Many people find short stories to be therapeutic, fun, relaxing, enjoyable. Short story writing can be a great creative outlet during your free time, and it can be a wonderful hobby. At the same time, however, it is not much fun to write short stories if no one will read them!

In modern American literature, few writers were as highly regarded as Kurt Vonnegut. With a vast collection of novels, short stories, and essays that stretched over 50-plus years, Vonnegut's work was highly acclaimed and well regarded. During Vonnegut's writing career, he compiled a list of "rules" that he felt writers should follow when writing short stories. The next few paragraphs capture these ideas of his.

Vonnegut's first two rules dealt with the way you should take care of the reader - first off, by making absolutely sure the reader won't feel like you wasted their time, and secondly, that you give the reader at least one character they can root for. From here, Vonnegut stuck with characters next, saying that each of your characters should want something - even if this "something" is insignificant - and then he said that every sentence should either reveal character or advance action. Vonnegut goes on to tell you that you should make awful things happen to your characters, no matter how sweet they are. This allows the reader to see what the character is made of. He advises writers to start as close to the end as they possibly can, and to write to just please one person. You can understand this last one by realizing that if you write for one person, and that one person loves it, then every other person who has the same tastes as your "one person" will certainly love it also.

Vonnegut's final piece of advice was to give the reader as much information as possible as quickly as possible. "To heck with suspense," he said. He claimed that the reader should always have a complete understanding of what is going on.

Of course, Vonnegut admitted that you can break all of these rules and still create a terrific short story. But if you are going to follow the simple, straightforward writing advice of someone, you could sure do a whole lot worse than Kurt Vonnegut.

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