Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for #writing a short story

When story ideas pop in my head, I jot them down in hopes of creating a wonderful novel. But as my list has grown tremendously, I realize that there’s just not enough time to devote to all in a way that would give them justice.

Enter the short story.

I’ve created a few short stories here on the blog, but for whatever reason I limited my time to only work on novels. Well that mindset changed this year.  As I review my list of ideas, I’m handpicking those that would be best served as a short story. Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story is yet another welcomed tool to help with that.

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Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most influential writers of this century, passed down a simple list of rules for writing a short story, though I think they can be applied to longer narratives as well.

He did say that Flannery O’Connor broke all his rules except the first and that great writers tend to do that, but I believe his famous eight rules can provide a skeleton to writing fiction.

And I think that this is what’s really important in art. A foundation. Simply by reading or following rules, or by taking creative writing courses, but it’s also crucial for the artist to make his own decisions. The moment rules start feeling like a cage, you should escape. It’s like strolling through a garden and picking the flowers you like. If you absorb too much or if you simply follow rules (someone else is choosing what flowers you should pick)…

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