When I was in graduate school at Yale and I finished my last paper in my last semester, the first thing I did to celebrate was read “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut. Over the next year as I traveled around the United States, finally settling into a two year stint playing music in Aspen, Colorado, I continued to immerse myself in Vonnegut’s writing. To this day, he remains one of my favorite writers.
Five years ago today, Kurt Vonnegut died. I wanted to do a little something to remember him.
A great interview with Vonnegut’s long-time agent and friend Donald Farber.
The official site Vonnegut.com.
The Wikipedia page.
A NOW / PBS tribute to Vonnegut:
And of course, Vonnegut in Back to School:
Vonnegut’s 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.
What’s your favorite Vonnegut?