- 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. 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 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
via Kurt Vonnegut: 8 Basics of Creative Writing.
Alex Elyar on Slacktory has taken Emma Coat’s Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling and turned them posters illustrated with Lego for great visual results:
I’ve always heard that you can have one major co-incidence per story and the audience will generally let it pass. However, this rule is pretty good too!
I learned this one from doing Audio Drama, but it’s stuck with me while doing prose fiction as well. It’s a variant of the K.I.S.S. rule.
Good advice. As someone who is currently having a small bit of writer’s block, I plan to try this one after I post this!
Good advice for all creative people!
This is only about a third of the rules, go check out the original page for the rest of them. They’re worth taking the time to read (again!).