If you've read anything by Vonnegut you'll know how special he is and if you haven't then, golly gosh, you've got a treat coming if you do. Start with Cat's Cradle. And do it right away, don't bother with the rest of this blog post. You can always return to it while you're waiting for the ebook to download.
For the rest of you, I'll mention some of the things Kurt had to say about the art of writing.
First up, he offered eight rules which are:
My particular favourite is number 6. If you've read my Jenny Parker series, you'll know that I have very much taken that one to heart.
I also suggest that you read a short article he wrote on 'How to write with style,' the full text of which can be found through the link below.
How to write with style by Kurt Vonnegut
In summary, he suggests the following:
1. Find a subject you care about
2. Do not ramble, though
3. Keep it simple
4. Have the guts to cut
5. Sound like yourself
6. Say what you mean to say
7. Pity the readers
8. For really detailed advice read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
What I really love about Vonnegut is his ability to express the most complex sociological observations in a simple and engaging manner. When he urges us to keep it simple he shows us how it can work so beautifully.
I used to think that to be considered well written, a novel had to be constructed from long sentences using obscure words. Vonnegut, more than anyone else, showed me that using short, common and easily understood words is much more powerful and engaging for the reader. It also means that I can more easily sound like myself.
No matter how much I might try, I'll never be able to write like Vonnegut. That used to make me sad but now I'm happy to write like me.
I'll finish with a quote from A Man without a Country