Whatever you think of or want to express, there’s someone who has done it better already, right? Probably, but that doesn’t stop us from creating. Today is a ‘I need a kick in the butt to get started’ kind of day, so this is a start, Kurt Vonnegut‘s essential tips on how to write a (good) short story:
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
- Give the reader at least one character she or he can root for.
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
- Start as close to the end as possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
And finally, I would just like to add a little something to keep in mind: Make sure to break as much rules as possible, including the advice from the list above. Good luck!