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breezit View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote breezit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2008 at 3:34pm
Kurt Vonnegut

Eight rules for writing fiction:

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. Now 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.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.

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FinalExam View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FinalExam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2008 at 4:26am
Don't agree with everyone of them--writing is a very personal experience and no two writers work the same or follow the same "rules"--but definitely interesting. Thanks for posting.
We are not strangers to ourselves, we only try to be. --Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
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Toni View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2008 at 11:35am
This is a very brief short story that I began writing several days ago. Would like an opinion as to whether it has merit...

Thank you...

Here goes....

It was November and it was cold, windy and snow was beginning to fall. Christie Blandish was in the autumn of her life—62-and she was feeling every bit of her age that day. A boomer and living by herself, she felt particularly vulnerable that cold day. Not just because it was cold and dreary outside, but because she was remembering how it was when Ben, her husband, was alive and the fun and challenges they faced together. Married for over 40 years, they had had many good times but also some hard times—especially when overseas, and Ben was in the military.

Dead for almost a year now, Ben was still alive in all her memories. Oh, how she wished he could be with her now. Especially when her brother and sister were becoming more distant than ever.

Ben had been ill much of their married life. He always had a cold or infection and dying from prostate cancer was something he or she never expected. He always thought that he would die from something normal like pneumonia or heart disease. Nothing as insidious and painful as prostate cancer….

Then, she thought of his last words to her, “Christie, stay with me now…Don’t leave me! But, after I’m gone, please get on with your life! I don’t want you worrying or wondering about me…I’ve already asked God to make a place for you and me and to make sure that we will be together. I’m sure he can make an exception for you and me—especially knowing how close we’ve been all these years…And, Christie, stay away from……They are only after our money. You know that, don’t you?”

She remembered nodding her head, as the tears rolled down her cheeks. It seemed like yesterday but it seemed, too, so long ago!

Sometimes she wished that she could just die a quick, painless death and then be with him again—just like always…But, just as quickly, she knew that he would want her to go on—to live life and be happy. They had eternity together; so she pressed on the best that she could.

He was right about…………They pretended that they cared about her but she knew deep down it had always been about the money or possessions that they wanted from her and Ben.

And so, she did stay away from them as much as possible. But sometimes she got so lonely, that she called them over for a visit.

So, on a cold Wednesday evening she did what Ben would not want her to do and called her sister and brother.

The phone rang just twice when she called her sister, Helen.

Helen answered in a disinterested but questioning tone, “H-e-l-l-o? Anyone there? Is this you, Christie?”

Helen knew exactly who was on the other end. Like most people she had ……Yet, she always pretended not to know who was on the other end….

“Yes, Helen. It’s me, Christie. How are you doing this cold November night? Just wanted to see how you’re doing?”

She paused for what seemed like a very long time and then replied, “Oh, I’m fine…I guess. Haven’t heard from you in a long time…Got nothing else to do, eh?”

She wasn’t surprised at the response. Helen had always been caustic and cold; she just seemed to get more so, everyday…Yet, she was her sister..

“Well, yes and no. Not busy at the moment but just lonely for Ben…”

Helen’s tone changed; almost like she was waiting for her sister to show signs of weakness. All the better for her to pounce a bit on her…
“Well, Sis, you don’t have to be lonely, ya know. You can come over here or I can come see you, if you like…Brother……is over at least once a week. Maybe we could both come over and play some cards?”

Cards weren’t one of Christie’s favorite pastimes but at least she wouldn’t be lonely. But, she would have to be careful not to let them stay too long. Sometimes they would act so tired and want to stay the night..

“Well, what about coming over tomorrow and I’ll bring out the cards and some snacks? Maybe play 500?”

“Fine! I’ll talk with brother tonight and we’ll see you tomorrow….About six?”

“Sounds good. Will see you then….Night…”

After the conversation ended, immediately she felt guilty. She had gone against her husband’s wishes and she regretted the action…But, she couldn’t stand the loneliness; she had to have some company.
Toni
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