Put your characters through hell – reblogged


– Richard Beynon

Kurt Vonnegut was a hero of my youth(as you will know from a previous blog post ). His science fiction particularly thrilled and delighted me. The stories themselves were apparently light-weight, many of them built around what amounted to little more than jokes. And yet they seemed also to point to much deeper truths about the meaning (or perhaps lack of meaning) of existence itself. Indeed, some of his laconic, throw-away phrases seemed to carry the weight of entire philosophies. “So it goes,” was the catch-phrase of his great anti-war book, Slaughterhouse Five.

The same is true of his advice to aspiring writers. It seems so simple, so obvious – and yet it conceals a depth of experience and wisdom that is not at first apparent.

Take this little aphorism: “Be a Sadist,” says Vonnegut. “No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things…

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8 thoughts on “Put your characters through hell – reblogged

  1. Thanks for reblogging Richard’s post – it is always nice to know that someone somewhere is reading and appreciating what we do!

  2. laurie27wsmith says:

    I like to think that my characters are challenged, taken to hell and pitchforked. I read slaughterhouse five over forty years ago and had to google it to get an update. Yup, Vonnegut certainly sent his characters to hell.

  3. thank you for reblogging – very helpful!

  4. Ed says:

    One of my favorite books, I had to get it at the public library since my high school refused to have it in their library along with a few other so called controversial books..:-)

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