August 4, 2020
by Chuck Palahlniuk
- Set a timer: “When you don’t want to write, set an egg timer for one hour (or half hour) and sit down to write until the timer rings. If you still hate writing, you’re free in an hour. But usually, by the time that alarm rings, you’ll be so involved in your work, enjoying it so much, you’ll keep going.”
- Don’t be afraid to experiment: “Your audience is smarter than you imagine. Don’t be afraid to experiment with story forms and time shifts.”
- Mull it over: “Before you sit down to write a scene, mull it over in your mind and know the purpose of that scene. What earlier set-ups will this scene pay off? What will it set up for later scenes? How will this scene further your plot?”
- Be surprised: “Surprise yourself. If you can bring the story – or let it bring you – to a place that amazes you, then you can surprise your reader.”
- Go back: “When you get stuck, go back and read your earlier scenes, looking for dropped characters or details that you can resurrect as ‘buried guns’.”
- Spend time with people: “Use writing as your excuse to throw a party each week – even if you call that party a “workshop.” Any time you can spend time among other people who value and support writing, that will balance those hours you spend alone, writing.”
- Not knowing is okay: “The longer you can allow a story to take shape, the better that final shape will be. Don’t rush or force the ending of a story or book.”
- You’re in charge: “If you need more freedom around the story, draft to draft, change the character names…Or worse, delete a character, if that’s what the story really needs.”
- Use different types of speech: “The three types are: Descriptive, Instructive, and Expressive. Descriptive: “The sun rose high…” Instructive: “Walk, don’t run…” Expressive: “Ouch!” Most fiction writers will only use one – at most, two – of these forms. So use all three. Mix them up. It’s how people talk.”
- Like what you write: “Write the book you want to read.”
- Get photographed when you’re young: “Get author book jacket photos taken now, while you’re young.”
- Write about upsetting things: “Write about the issues that really upset you. Those are the only things worth writing about.”
- Don’t give up.
Chuck Palahniuk is an American novelist. He was born 21 February 1962.
He is best known as the author of the award-winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film. His other novels include Diary, Lullaby, and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, was his first New York Times bestseller.
His memoir, Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different, takes us behind the scenes of his writing life.
His non-fiction work has been published by Gear, Black Book, The Stranger, and the Los Angeles Times.
In his ‘About Chuck’ section on his website, titled A Short Biography of Chuck Plahniuk, we found out the following:
He is known for writing every chapter in a book as a short story, and he believes that novels should be able to be condensed into a short story and still work.
Research is his favourite part of the writing process. In fact, it is the driving force behind his novels. He can read an entire book and turn that information into a single line.
He likes to people watch as he writes in public. In fact, he uses passing conversation on the street in his books.
We found this useful essay full of writing advice on the author’s website and we wanted to share some of it with you. We have taken snippets from the essay and included them in this post.
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