Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules for Writing

Kurt VonnegutI'm not the first to notice that you can apply Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Rules for Writing to improvisation. But in case you've never seen these or missed the connection, I thought I'd post them here. All you have to do is change some of the words (which I did below with brackets) to make them fit more perfectly for our world.

  1. Use the time of a total stranger [audience member] in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader [audience member] 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 [spoken or physical action] 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 [audience] may see what they are made of.
  7. Write [perform] 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 [audience members] as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers [audience members] 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.
My favorite of those is No. 5. Which one is your favorite?