Kurt Vonnegut’s Fourth Rule for Writing Fiction

Kurt Vonnegut’s Fourth Rule for Writing Fiction

4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action. –Kurt Vonnegut I love the simplicity Vonnegut uses when asserting his rules, but sometimes I wonder if we need a little extra, especially for beginning writers. At first, this rule just 

Vonnegut’s Third Rule for Fiction

Vonnegut’s Third Rule for Fiction

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. –Kurt Vonnegut It should go without saying that our protagonists should want something. If they don’t, then we have no story. There really are three indispensable elements of fiction: character, 

Vonnegut’s Second Rule of Writing Fiction

Vonnegut’s Second Rule of Writing Fiction

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. –Kurt Vonnegut I’m going to go ahead and say it. This is a rule that should never be broken. In fact, the simple brilliance of this line is so stunning, that 

Vonnegut’s First Rule for Writing Fiction

Vonnegut’s First Rule for Writing Fiction

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. –Kurt Vonnegut I did something this weekend (while recovering from a minor surgery) that I haven’t done in years. I put a 

Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules for Writing Fiction

Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules for Writing Fiction

My first Poetry Professor once told me something that I remember to this day. When I insisted that I wrote exclusively free form poetry, he asked me if I wrote any form poems. I told him no, I didn’t like rules. He looked me in 

Mining the Holidays

Mining the Holidays

If you’re like me, the holiday season is jam packed with festivities with multiple get-togethers with friends and family. And some sort of drama. This year, our drama consisted of engine trouble smack in the middle of a four hour trip. We were lucky enough 

Foot off the Gas: Fiction Between Point A and B

Foot off the Gas: Fiction Between Point A and B

No, this isn’t the second part of my previous post. I’ll get to that next week. Before I get to that, though, I wanted to touch on another subject that’s been on my mind lately. When an idea for a novel pops into our minds, 

Developing a Poetic Voice Part 1: The Cento

Developing a Poetic Voice Part 1: The Cento

Yes, this is still a fiction blog. Don’t panic. Everyone just take a deep breath, and calm down! (On that note—try to avoid using exclamation points whenever possible). Before we begin, I need to let you know a little bit about my background in writing. 

Saying “No” in Interesting Ways

Saying “No” in Interesting Ways

One of the greatest pieces of writing advice I’ve received came from a lecture I attended at AULA. A mentor of mine, Rob Roberge, talked about “How to Make a Scene.” The idea stems from the old saying, “Stop! Stop! You’re making a scene!” Well, 

The Value of a Good Reader

The Value of a Good Reader

Funny how some things work out. As I was thinking of a topic to write about today, I got an e-mail from a good friend of mine. He and I attended Antioch University of Los Angeles, where we got our MFAs in Fiction. While there,