Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules of Writing:
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. Now 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.
Genius. Who needs more than this?
As I said, he is the master of pith.
Some choice quotes from CC:
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists… It is knowing what your limitations are. Page 115 (iPad)
I agree with one bokoninist idea. I agree that all religions, including bokononism, are nothing but lies. Page 127
“She hated people who thought too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind.” (22)
Second one is like brain food for the agnostic. Or the nihilistic. Fitting for the rest of the narrative, actually.
Doesn’t the last one remind you of someone in your life? Co-worker, in-law, hell, even a spouse?
This guy is so kick-ass I’m going to sit down with Slaughterhouse Five. And that’s saying a lot, since war narratives make me want to puke. Spectacularly.