Posts Tagged ‘suspense’

How to write a Novel

I have had a successful writing attempt…so naturally people ask me how I write stories. Mostly I just follow my instincts. For instance I take care to address those issues which leave me feeling cheated in other people’s works. 

But these questions led me to wonder whether there are any rules for writing, especially mystery / suspense. By rules I mean apart from the usual stuff you get on how to build a character, how to plot a novel etc.

In this respect I came across an interesting post by a net friend:

Vonnegut gives some excellent rules of writing a short story in his book, “Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction”. Of course, the rules are unconventional, but if anyone knows a thing or two about writing it’s Vonnegut. and I thought I’d share them, so here they are:
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 hell 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.

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Shameless self promotion, I know 🙂

This appeared in The Hindu.

Metro Plus - Chennai and Bangalore

Metro Plus - Chennai and Bangalore


Ignore the th in Smitha and it’s fine :-). And as you can probably guess, the cutout is where my picture goes.

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