Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Birthday

Kurt VonnegutBest-selling author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., born on this day in 1922, would have turned 92 today if he had not passed away on April 11, 2007.

Author of “Cat’s Cradle”, “Breakfast of Champions” and, of course, “Slaughterhouse Five”, published at the height of the Vietnam War. The book made Vonnegut a hero among the war protesters. Vonnegut agreed it was an anti-war book. But he also said, “Anti-war books are as likely to stop war as anti-glacier books are to stop glaciers.”

Vonnegut also came up with what he called the 8 Basics of Creative Writing:

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Here’s a review of “Slaughterhouse Five” that I wrote last November.


This entry was posted in Authors, Birthday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.