According to Kurt Vonnegut (Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five), the following are eight basics of creative writing.
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that they 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. 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.
- Write to please just on 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.
Now, I’m not saying that every single piece of writing you every create has to follow these basics…in fact, nothing you write has to follow these. Break the rules if you want.
BECOME A READER
I am a strong believer in the idea that to be a writer, you must also be a reader.
Read everything, classics, romance, children’s books, fiction & nonfiction anything you can get your hands on.
I know you’re saying something along the lines of “If I only want to write Young Adult books, then I only have to read Young Adult books, right?”
Yes, you want to ready YA, and probably 60%-70% of what you’re reading should be YA, but you want to read other things to exercise your brain and to get your writer juices flowing.
In order to write, you must also read.
For any more advice, check out my YouTube video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5BYafaKBmo&t=24s
Personally, 2016 was not an awful year.
- I finished my first year of college, on the Dean’s list, no less
- I was elected president of my building and co-president of the Creative Writers Club
- I published my very first novel, Blue Vigilante
- I work a lot
- I bought a kayak
- I was more constant on uploading videos to YouTube
- I read more
- I was, overall, way more healthy than I’ve ever been
- I finally died my hair red
- I grew into the version of myself I want to be
- I went on several dates, after only having been on one ever before
- I found an amazing boyfriend
- My cousin and I reconnected in a way we haven’t since we were very young
- I finally built a headboard for my bed that I wanted to build for years
- I got a rewards card for my local movie theater (I go to the movies so often, it was well needed)
- I started my second year of college
- I found my limits for many things, for example: how many credits I can handle a semester without losing my mind
- I met one of my favorite professors
- I made my own planner (I’m really excited about that one)
Click here for a chance to enter and win a free signed copy of Blue Vigilante!
If you deem yourself to be a part of the writing world (like me) but have not yet read Lionel Shriver’s speech on current day identity politics and the way that they have the potential to impact fiction writing (I just read it), I highly recommend reading it here. It’s very powerful and has many good points.