Thursday Thirteen - 13 Writing Tips

We look to the minds of the masters to get you the top 13 writing tips you need (or maybe not) to know!

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. (Vonnegut)
Never use a long word where a short one will do. (Orwell)
3. Use the active voice. (Strunk & White)
4. Know where you’re going. (Billy Wilder)
5. Something that you feel will find its own form (Kerouac)
6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." (Elmore Leonard)
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. (Vonnegut)
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)
9. Keep related words together. (Strunk & White)
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. (Elmore Leonard)
11. Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end. (Strunk & White)
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you (Kerouac)
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition (Kerouac)

How does the list hold up? When you go to the source pages the numbers in my list correspond with the matching number in each individual list. Does that even make any sense? Now that everything is as clear as mud... What tip is your favorite? Which tip from the original lists would you have included?


  1. Interesting suggestions, I'll have to come back and check each link. I need to brush up on me reading between the lines

  2. These are great I am going to print this out and give it to my daughter she is a budding author.

  3. It's interesting how polarized the suggestions are with a source like Strunk on the conservative and Vonnegut, whose books I enjoy, is more of a maverick. My initial thought is to apply them as the style of the work dictates.


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