A Lesson for Writers From Kurt Vonnegut. Day 22 of the Total Writer Transformation

American novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007) is well known for his satirical style and the sci-fi twists he dripped into his work.

He published 14 novels, five plays, five non-fiction books, and three short story series during his 50 year career.


"If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.”

Every sentence is important. It must speak to your readers and cause them to crave the next. Your goal as a writer is to move the audience fluidly down the page and entice them to keep turning pages. Cut out the fluff, no matter how beautifully you word it! If a sentence does not carry the reader through to the next, then it's best to delete it, or at least try to reword or rephrase.

"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."

Get out of your box! I know it's comfy in there, but you are not a cat. Save the box for naptime :)

You must branch out and grow as a writer every day. Learn something new each day. Read each day. Work at improving your craft each and every day. If you don't, you risk sounding repetitive and you will grow bored of yourself. If you're bored, what do you think your audience feels?

"That is how you get to be a writer, incidentally: you feel somehow marginal, somehow slightly off-balance all the time."

If you aren't a little uncomfortable, you aren't doing it right. Growing pains are uncomfortable. So is growing as a writer. You will have unusual ideas and think thoughts that you never imagined yourself with. This is good!

Today's Challenge

Get a little uncomfortable. Read an author you've been avoiding. Write that thing you are squeamish about. If you are a story writer, learn a little about writing a memoir, and vice versa.

Do something new, challenge yourself, and never be afraid to get a little uncomfortable.

Write on my friends!




Images via Twenty20 and Creative Commons

Be a Better Writer in Just One Month! Join the 31 Day Writing Challenge to transform your writing and your life!

Day 1 The Truth About Making Time For Writing
Day 2 How to Incorporate Ideas From Life in Your Writing
Day 3 Master the Art of Captivating Your Readers
Day 4 Banishing Distractions
Day 5 Get Your Writing Noticed!
Day 6 The Importance of Morning Pages
Day 7 Why You Should Write Even if You're Not a Writer
Day 8 How to Personify an Object
Day 9 How to Use Writing Prompts to Improve Your Skills
Day 10 Why You Need an Email List
Day 11 There is a Best Time to Write!
Day 12 Your Future Path
Day 13 Do You Know How to Eat an Elephant?
Day 14 Soliloquy Speaking: Bring Depth to Your Characters
Day 15 The Red String- You and Your Readers are Connected
Day 16 Pardon Me, What Did You Say?
Day 17 Make Dialogue Work For You
Day 18 Actions Speak
Day 19 Connect the Dots
Day 20 Begin with the End
Day 21 You Don't Need the Money!



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Now this is a Way to Keep your Audience Interested @arbitrarykitten................

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Purrfect 🐈

Sort of along this general theme, writing "confessions" (maybe about something you feel insecure about) can also be a very good writing exercise.

=^..^=

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Good one! It might help you ease a bit of the insecurity, too, kind of like how writing about a trauma helps ease the effects of PTSD.

As a poet, I think this is valuable advice to all writers. I love reading novels. In poetry, the fluff is even more harmful than in a novel, I suppose. Having said that, even in novels, if I already know what the sentence is saying, my eyes will drift to see the next page and what happens next. If a book is able to engage me in each sentences without feeling like I should skip some paragraphs, then it's good writing!

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My "test" is similar: if I don't find myself daydreaming as my eyes skim the page I know it's good writing.

I agree with you in regards to poetry. Much more fluff must be removed.

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It's easy to fall in love with a sentence and not want it to be edited at all. I know the feeling, but you have to do it for the sake of the whole thing!

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Lol right! For the small shall suffer for the benefit of the whole!

Get a little uncomfortable. Read an author you've been avoiding. Write that thing you are squeamish about.

That's actually really cool advice.
It's time to get started then

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Thanks! I'm happy to bring inspiration!

Great advice! I feel like I am finally doing well at writing every day and I definitely write things that are a challenge for me quite often.

I loved this quote! It resonates so much with me!

"That is how you get to be a writer, incidentally: you feel somehow marginal, somehow slightly off-balance all the time."

I always feel that I'm stuck in a few different 'worlds' with the things that I'm writing/creating and those things that I'm reading. It's a weird balancing act!

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I used to do the same with books: if be reading several at a time, depending on mood and environment. It was a crazy balancing act! Sometimes I'd open book A after having left off halfway through two days prior, and wonder where a certain character was after reading a couple chapters. Then I'd remember he was in book c, but somehow he "fit" in book A, she could totally have lived in that world, lol.

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OMG, I've done the SAME thing with wondering where a character is and then finally realizing it was an entirely different book :)

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Lol! Yay, I'm not alone!!!

Thanks for the info, I'm going to check out some more Kurt!

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"Work at improving your craft each and every day. If you don't, you risk sounding repetitive and you will grow bored of yourself. If you're bored, what do you think your audience feels?"

Love that bit! And it is so incredibly true, I know from experience!

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That's one of the most often overlooked things about writing I believe!

Write that thing you are squeamish about.

oh, I do wish I could find something like that...

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Problems in that area?

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yeah... I can't think of anything that I'm squeamish about confronting...

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I just nominated you for @comedyopenmic ...because...........yours was the first profile I looked at, when finding two names I had to nominate.... 😂
I cannot lie.

I would appreciate your take on my new story (1 of 2!)

here are a couple of chapters...

https://steemit.com/blog/@lucyreloaded/saving-private-amy-chapter-6
https://steemit.com/blog/@lucyreloaded/saving-private-amy-chapter-7

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Thank you darling :) I will read your new chapters tonight after I clock out for the day :)

It's been too long since I've read some Vonnegut.

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He was definitely an insightful soul. It's good to re-familiarize yourself with a little Kurt every once in a while :)

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Agreed. Reading this post, it gave me the urge. But I've also got a lot on my reading list. Will definitely be trying.

Breakfast of Champions, anyone?
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Joe
@joe.nobel
good luck, Kilgore Trout, wherever you are!

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