Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Chuck Palahniuk’s 13 Writing Tips

Here are 13 Tips from Chuck Palahniuk
  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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?”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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’.”
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.”
  10. Like what you write: “Write the book you want to read.”
  11. Get photographed when you’re young: “Get author book jacket photos taken now, while you’re young.”
  12. Write about upsetting things: “Write about the issues that really upset you. Those are the only things worth writing about.”
  13. Don’t give up.
--I Love number Six.

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