"A few years ago, Open Culture readers listed Slaughterhouse Five as one of your top life-changing books. But Kurt Vonnegut was not only a great author. He was also an inspiration for anyone who aspires to write fiction - see for example his 8 rules for writing fiction, which starts with the so-obvious-it's-often-forgotten reminder never to waste your reader's time.
In this video, Vonnegut follows his own advice and sketches some brilliant blueprints for envisioning the 'shape' of a story, all in less than 4 minutes and 37 seconds."
(Open Culture, 4 April 2011)
1). Kurt Vonnegut 'The Shape of A Story'
2). 'The Emotional Graph'
3). 'Eight rules for writing fiction'
On the title page of Slaughterhouse Five Vonnegut invites the reader to see the book as 'a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore.' With its short chapters and paragraphs, its short sets of sentences or paragraphs with spaces between them, the novel has a physical resemblance to the Tralfamadorian model. Many of the juxtaposed segments do not relate sequentially or thematically but together build a total impression like a montage. Events from two periods (1944-1945 and 1968) and from other points in the life of the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, are intermixed. His life is not revealed chronologically, by beginning in medias res, or by flashback; rather, the reader knows its end from the start, and the parts are filled in, from all segments of his life, as the oval progresses. Pilgrim's life follows in a 'causal' rather than chronological manner.