Review: Consider This

Hello readers!

Like Bigfoot, the ultimate how-to-write-fiction guide (probably) doesn’t exist, but Chuck Palahniuk’s Consider This (Moments In My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different) most certainly does. I’ve read it, and if you are interested in writing fiction, you probably should, too.

Palahniuk has witnessed some weird stuff and invented quite a bit more in his own novels and stories; he dispenses advice like a skeptic turned believer. His visceral and bizarre plots and characters have conferred upon him best-seller status, lending that advice a hard-to-refute credibility. Some examples (picked at random):

  • Among the easiest ways to gain the reader’s trust is to get something wrong.
  • Use first person viewpoints, but minimize actual “I’s” in the prose and ‘submerge’ those that appear.
  • Establish your authority and you can do anything.

Explications of these and other aphoristic-like statements is the real reward, but you’ll have to read the book to get those.

Palahniuk sometimes offers summaries of his points in the form of miniature writing assignments, prefacing each with “If you were my student, I would tell you to…”, a trope I enjoyed at first but came to regard as slightly tiresome. I mean, that is the relationship represented here, ostensibly the reason a reader picked up the book in the first place, or I am misunderstanding something fundamental about the book. The conditional seems unnecessary to me, is all I am saying, a quibble that does not change my overall opinion of the material. Palahniuk’s stories from book tours are entertaining and occasionally disturbing and might make aspiring writers think twice about envying the life of a best-selling author. Okay, probably not, but some are worth at least a quarter of the cover price alone.

Palahniuk’s adds depth and diversity to the ever-growing body of writing-advice books. Like the best Bigfoot stories, this one is entertaining and compelling enough to challenge and possibly change some opinions. It may not be the ultimate advice guide on fiction writing, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but if you’ve read others and feel you have the basics already firmly in mind and then read Consider This, I can’t imagine you’ll need many more.

–Kelvin

You can purchase Consider This online or call the store to reserve a copy!

Happy reading (and writing)!

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