Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Good advice for any aspiring writer, I’d say. But if that's not enough, check out Tim O'Brien's excellent article on how to write a successful short story, in the same issue. There isn't a magic formula. The essential element, according to O'Brien, is a vivid imagination.
And possibly having a pretend tail . . .
Thursday, 20 August 2009
I haven’t posted for a while, for a variety of reasons too dull to recount. But I happened across this advice from the late, great Kurt Vonnegut on the rules for writing short stories. According to Kurt, the way to write a good short story is to stick to the following eight points:
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.
7. Write to please just one person.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible.
‘To hell with suspense,’ he says. Not sure I agree with that last one. Listen to what he says and decide for yourself.