Again from Brainpickings, which I urge you to read and support, here are “Eight Tips on How to Write a Great Story” — guidelines from Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-5, Cat’s Cradle, and many fine short stories):
- 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 he or she 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…
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