…should cockroaches eat the last few pages

“Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell 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.”

This is the last of Kurt Vonnegut’s eight tips on writing a short story.

And here’s No. 5:

“Start as close to the end as possible.”

And No.6, which I like partly because it’s good advice but partly because he gives Sadist a capital S, since it’s after the Marquis de Sade, who had one too.

“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.”

The missing numbers are worth knowing as well, so here they all are. Thanks to  Brain Pickings, a fantastic resource for writers. Or a resource for fantastic writers. Or both, a fantastic writers’ resource.

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About Arabella McIntyre-Brown

I'm a writer from West Sussex is southern England, but after 30 years of urban life in London and Liverpool, I now live in a remote village 1,000 metres up in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. My new book is published in November 2016: "Din Liverpool in Carpati: cum mi-am gasit fericirea în inima Transilvaniei"
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