New Essay by Craig Clevenger - 'Cave Men, Sharks, and the Doors of Perception'

New Essay by Craig Clevenger - 'Cave Men, Sharks, and the Doors of Perception'

Since I first interviewed him for way back in 2003, Craig Clevenger has become a staple among readers who know what great modern literature is.  Craig's debut book The Contortionist's Handbook caught on like a California brush fire when Chuck Palahniuk read a copy, flipped for it, and then brought it on tour with him that year and pimped it to anyone who would listen. Chuck would later go on to offer this praise for the front of the hardcover's dust jacket:

I swear to God this is the best book I have read in easily five years. Easily. Maybe ten years. - Chuck Palahniuk

In the years that followed, Craig released his follow-up novel Dermaphoria, which I personally think topped The Handbook.  Then, while pumping out short stories on his official site, The Velvet, and various anthologies, Craig found a new role as a mentor for up-and-coming writers.  Through a series of over seven classes on the workshop, he led some of our most popular courses.  Students were amazed with how available Craig was to give expert advice.  Craft essays were soon born out of these classes and generated to support future classes.  Many of these are housed over at The Cult right now, while one, The Devil In The Details, has already migrated over here and is free to all. 

Today we bring you the first new essay from Craig in over a year.  It's called Cave Men, Sharks, and the Doors of Perception, and it's available to all of our Workshop Members.  This is one of the perks of signing up for our site and taking your registration that one step further.  Not only do you get access to the best writers workshop online and honest feedback from your peers, but you also get exclusive craft essays from people like Craig Clevenger and yes, Chuck Palahniuk (who has 36 writing essays here).

If you are already a Workshop Member, then check out Cave Men, Sharks, and the Doors of Perception.

If you're not sure you're ready to take the plunge just yet, here's a sample from Craig's new essay:

Do any of these look familiar?

And then it happened...

Suddenly, out of nowhere...

When all of a sudden...

Before we knew it...

There are numerous other variants of the above. I call phrases like this shark music (or sometimes refer to them as drum rolls) and it should be pretty clear why. And then it happened... precedes whatever’s happening which, if cleared of driftwood, speaks nicely enough for itself.

Convinced this is worth it? Ready to improve your writing and get honest feedback on your work?

Join Our Writers Workshop

Dennis Widmyer

News by Dennis Widmyer

Dennis Widmyer is the founder of, best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk's (Fight Club, Choke) official website.  His passion in life is making movies.  With partner Kevin Kölsch, he founded Parallactic Pictures, a banner for all of their independent film projects.  To date, the duo have directed two features, a number of shorts, and have penned over a dozen screenplays.  He recently co-directed a feature horror film called STARRY EYES for Snowfort Pictures and Dark Sky Films that had its world premiere at the 2014 SXSW film festival.  You can see more of his work at When he's not making movies and working on websites, he enjoys going to the movies, writing, reading, photography, hiking, cats and hanging out with friends.

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