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vonnegut’s eight short story rules

16 May

Wikipedia lists Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story:

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. No 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.

and notes that “Vonnegut qualifies the list by adding that the greatest American short story writer, Flannery O’Connor, broke all these rules except the first, and that great writers tend to do that.”

pop surrealism

5 Dec

I’ve gotten obsessed with Pop Surrealism over the past year, and just realized that most of the coolest artists have websites, so I figured I might as well do a compilation of some great ones for those wandering souls who are trying to find such a list on the internet. Here she be:

As this is not at all a comprehensive list, feel free to add your own favorites.

There are also quite a few really interesting and weird artists on the Beinart International Surreal Art Collective site, but it’s not strictly pop surrealism by any means.

if guy maddin were a photographer…

5 Dec

Stephen Berkman: Memory Series
I am fascinated by Guy Maddin’s films which look like they were made in the dawn of the silent film period, but which have modern and bizarrely surreal themes. My favorite is his short film called “The Heart of the World“.

Today I discovered a photographer whose style is reminiscent of Maddin’s: Stephen Berkman. Just gotta love those anachronistic mash ups!

beetles in love

3 Dec

At Okay Mountain during the East Austin Studio Tour a few weeks back, I saw the works of Peat Duggins for the first time and fell in love with his illustration style. Fortunately, they had a work of his in my price range that I can’t wait to hang up. This adorable artwork from his website ( is similar in theme and style to the smaller one that I bought: 
bugs in loveSo cute!