Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story

I found this very helpful advice and enjoyable to read 🙂

Cristian Mihai

Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most influential writers of this century, passed down a simple list of rules for writing a short story, though I think they can be applied to longer narratives as well.

He did say that Flannery O’Connor broke all his rules except the first and that great writers tend to do that, but I believe his famous eight rules can provide a skeleton to writing fiction.

And I think that this is what’s really important in art. A foundation. Simply by reading or following rules, or by taking creative writing courses, but it’s also crucial for the artist to make his own decisions. The moment rules start feeling like a cage, you should escape. It’s like strolling through a garden and picking the flowers you like. If you absorb too much or if you simply follow rules (someone else is choosing what flowers you should pick)…

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4 Comments

  1. This is excellent advice – I followed through to the original, too. Loved every word! 🙂

    Reply
    • barn7777

       /  June 18, 2014

      Great! I’m glad you read this post–I found it very true and interesting, especially since I am writing a short story now 🙂

      Reply
      • As a writer who breaks most rules, I found these ones actually made sense! 😀 Good luck with your short story, they are sometimes trickier than full-blown novels.

  2. barn7777

     /  June 19, 2014

    Thank you A.D. Everard–you are right on that one. A short story may sound easier to write than a longer length novel, but that is not always the case, as I’m finding!

    Reply

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