Eight Rules for Writing fiction by Kurt Vonnegut

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.  Now 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.

— Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box:  Uncollected Short Fiction (New York:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1999), 9-10.

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The Traveler ~ a short story

emereMe, I laugh at you.

“Why?” You ask.

Tonight, one minute to the eve of my 33rd birthday, I’ll die. Jesus died at 33, why not me?

“You’re Jesus now,” you scoff.

How dare you laugh at me? We shall see who laughs last.

I won’t die on a cross -no, nothing dramatic like that, though I do wish I could beat that. Your Jesus takes the crown for that one, you see. But it’ll be my cross, and my pleasure, which I’ve carried from birth until now that’ll kill me.

You don’t believe me. You’re still laughing. Watch!

My death will shock you. I’ll stun you by the method I choose to leave this world. You’ll wonder why I left my sleeping husband on the bed we’ve shared as man and wife for two years, walked to the kitchen, and after drinking a full glass of water, plunged one of the knives -the very set you gifted me on my wedding day, so deep in my chest, you’d think I wanted to excavate my heart. You’ll wonder why I didn’t write a note to explain the darkness that haunted my soul the days, maybe years, leading up to now. You’ll hate me; you’ll wish you could somehow drag me back from the land of the dead so you could box me in the ears for leaving my three month old twins – a boy and a girl- whom I claimed were the light and the joy of my life.

Are you still laughing? I didn’t think so.

By the time I’m done with you, your nostrils would flare in anger amidst your tears. Your bitterness will move you to anger at God. Yes, your God with whom you say there’s no grey. Why didn’t he prevent me, you’d ask? You’d quickly realize your wayward thoughts and ask for forgiveness for blaming him. After all, he could smite you in anger like your preacher says. But you need a punching bag, so you’ll point accusing fingers at the devil. He is a lesser threat than your God. My death will leave you so confused that your silent rage at God would feel like fire in your bones until you’re burnt out and numb. But I’ll be gone… gone faraway. Maybe heaven, maybe hell. Who cares? Not I. Does such even exist?  I laugh at the theory. But you can’t touch me where I go. Not you. Not your anger.

“Who are you?” You ask in wonder.

Who am I? The question is, what am I? Haven’t you heard of me? I am only a traveler, a child-woman who must have the best of heaven and earth. I journey between the spiritual and physical world at will. My will. That’s my purpose – the destiny my whole heart embraces.

It hits you. “Emere!” You scream.

I laugh. Tell me, who is laughing now?

Note to the Reader:   For non-Yorubas, Emere is a mythical creature who comes to earth as a human but leaves the world on a day of joy so she can bring grief to her loved ones.

Buy my book Lessons in Love ,  out now at Amazon. And if you’re in Nigeria, get your copy at Takada Books….the link is to the upper right. Get your copy and spread the word.

Categories: Blog, My Stories, Reflections | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Unveiling Lessons in Love

Upcoming book, Lessons In Love

Upcoming book, Lessons In Love

My new book, Lessons in Love is now available on Amazon UK and Amazon. Get your copy and please spread the word. Next up, Omo-mummy which is currently undergoing ‘surgery’ otherwise known as editing :), so stay tuned.

About Lessons in Love
Fourteen months ago, Tara Olu-Browne quit her well paying job to follow her heart: Become a full time romance writer. Her decision is paying off, until she agrees to write for Black Desire, a new romance publisher set to turn out books that will appeal to a West African audience. Black Desire is headed by business mogul, Jimi Akintaylor and while he says he enjoys Tara’s previous works, he is critical of her current manuscript calling the love scenes improbable. Tara is left with two choices: quit writing for Black Desire or suck up her pride and request pointers from Jimi on how she can improve on the love scenes. She chooses the latter, and realizes too late that she just signed up for some very practical lessons in love.

Categories: Blog, Books, My Stories, News, Novels, Romance | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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