New Essay by Joshua Mohr - 'An Unreliably Narrated Essay'

Joshua Mohr - 'An Unreliably Narrated Essay'

Back in February, we had the pleasure of hosting our first class with Joshua Mohr, the critically acclaimed author of Damascus. The class, Plotlines with Joshua Mohr, sold out and was a complete success, so we hope to have Josh return again soon. Till then, he has graciously donated an essay he used during the class that his students greatly benefited from.

This essay is 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 An Unreliably Narrated Essay here.

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

When I teach characterization, I always emphasize that authors should employ “useful schizophrenia.”  It’s a fiction writer’s job to construct a heart, mind, and soul sovereign, idiosyncratic.  If our characters are to be convincing body-doubles for real people, they must walk and talk and feel a range of emotion; they must giggle and have allergies and chew with their mouths open and grieve and play the harmonica (or whatever your particular story has them doing).  The point is that they occupy an ecosystem in such a way that a reader recognizes the authenticity of life experience, even in a life that only exists on the page.

Of course, this idea of “useful schizophrenia” is an artifice, a dupe, a way for writers to dole more autonomy to the players.  For if certain attitudes, biases, and crimes are assigned to the protagonists—rather than the writer—there’s a liberty to let the characters characterize themselves: they can stalk their habitats behaving however it is that they behave.  The author is pardoned from the antics and can simply watch, channel, and document as the action unfurls.

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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polisella's picture
polisella October 27, 2021 - 10:29am

Have you considered using an essay writing service? I'm a frequent user of such services, and lately I've been using just one person since they have the only normal pricing for the task, while the previous ones either upped it or went bad.