Chuck Palahniuk

Talking Shapes: The ‘Thumbnail’

In: Plot
In this second "talking shapes" essay, Chuck explores a basic paradox of storytelling, while revealing what you can do about it. The Thumbnail opening foreshadows major plot points in advance and creates authority, without giving too much away.
Chuck Palahniuk

Talking Shapes: The ‘Cycle’

In: Plot
An excellent plot for horror and dark fantasy, the Cycle enlists and seduces the reader even as it enlists and seduces the protagonist. Learn what to look for from a few of Chuck's favorites, while putting this plot shape to work for yourself.
Chuck Palahniuk

Talking Shapes: The Rebel, the Follower, and the Witness

Take a look at your work. Are you writing a classic rebel-follower-witness story? If not, what kind of myth are you creating? This essay takes up the mythic patterns prominent in our culture and provides great examples.
Chuck Palahniuk

Nuts and Bolts: Plot Points

In: Plot
In this return to "nuts & bolts" basics, Chuck emphasizes the importance of determining your plot points in advance. The homework portion entails listening for themes and issues that go perpetually unresolved.
Chuck Palahniuk

A Story from Scratch, Act One

Here, Chuck presents the rough draft of Act One in his short story "Fetch," complete with notes and commentary. See his process in action as he begins to apply all the techniques and strategies of previous essays.