New Craft Essay From Chuck Palahniuk — 'Consider This: Undecidability'

New Craft Essay From Chuck Palahniuk - 'Consider This: Undecidability'

Last month we announced some good news for you LitReactors: Starting this year, Chuck Palahniuk has decided to launch a new series of craft essays. Chuck kicked off this series with a wonderful essay on how to make your characters cope with dramatic situations. Up until today, this essay was available for Premium Members only. But today we've made it available to all.

And even better, Chuck has a new essay ready for you all!

Read: "Consider This: Undecidability"

Here's a teaser of the essay. If you want to read the full essay, simply go Premium. If you're already a member, follow the link above for the complete essay.

Whether you’re making music or films or painting pictures… play to the strengths of your medium.

One of the aspects of written narrative I appreciate most is the ambiguity that’s possible and sustainable before the true nature of a fictional situation is confirmed.  Like the roadster in The Great Gatsby which is green or yellow, depending on the moment, I love to keep the details of a story in flux.  One thing morphs into becoming another, sometimes even a third thing.

My classic example comes from the story "Guts."  Whatever is holding the narrator underwater, first it’s a snake, then a sea serpent, then it’s a prolapsed colon, finally it’s a “thick rope of veins and twisted guts.”  This gradual evolution from the fantastic to the horribly real is something films have less success depicting.  There are good examples.  In A Portrait of Jennie Joseph Cotton gradually realizes his girlfriend is dead.  A ghost.  In Jacob’s Ladder Tim Robbins slowly comes to terms with the fact that he is, himself, dead.  But too often the ambiguous thing must be made real in order to be filmed, and that robs it of the power of being debatable, undecidable.  So often, once we see the monster, it’s no longer scary.

These essays will have no certain timeline or schedule. We don't know for sure when Chuck will submit them, nor how many there will be. But here's what we can tell you: the essays will only be available here. For the first month after they post, they will just be available to Premium Members. But one month later, they will be "unlocked" and made available to all, for free. So if you want them right when they post, simply upgrade to a premium membership today. This membership not only grants you full access to all 36 of Chuck's previous craft essays, but also allows you to submit your own writing to our ground-breaking writers workshop.

Read: "Consider This: Undecidability"

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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polisella's picture
polisella November 22, 2021 - 3:13am