Summary of “Kurt Vonnegut Offers 8 Tips on How to Write Good Short Stories”

You can’t talk about American literature in the second half of the 20th century without talking about Kurt Vonnegut.
He worked wonders with the short story, a form in whose heyday he began his writing career, but he also had a knack for what would become the most social media-friendly of all forms, the list.
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.
In the short lecture above Vonnegut gets more technical, sketching out the shapes that stories, short or long, can take.
In one possible story the protagonist begins slightly happier than average, gets into trouble, and then gets out of it again.
Vonnegut first explored the idea of story shapes in his master’s thesis, rejected by the University of Chicago “Because it was so simple and looked like too much fun.” Clearly that didn’t stop him from continuing to think about and experiment with those shapes all throughout his career.
He assigned term papers that can still teach you how to read like a writer, he appeared on television dispensing advice to aspirants to the craft, and he even published articles on how to write with style.
Nobody could, or should try to, write just like Kurt Vonnegut, but all of us who write at all could do well to give our craft the kind of thought he did.

The orginal article.