Practical Writing Advice from Chuck Palahniuk


I stumbled upon this fine piece of advice from Chuck Palahniuk this past weekend and I just can’t resist sharing it. It’s nice to balance out the “Just do it!” kind of fluffy advice with something as concrete and specific as he offers.

“In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
 But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not 
use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands,
Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred
 others you love to use.

The list should also include: Loves and Hates.
And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.

Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”

Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The
 mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus…

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2 thoughts on “Practical Writing Advice from Chuck Palahniuk

  1. This is probably one of the only things I like about his writing. His ability to make it feel so in-your-face real. I don’t think it’s a style choice, I think that it is good writing. I think it would be interesting to see how it would work in different perspectives. First person, stream of conscience, etc. That would be fun.

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