‘Consider This: Moments In My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different‘ (which from this moment on will be referred to as Consider This) is not just a book it is an investment. Chuck Palahniuk has produced a fabulous book about writing craft, which as a fan of Palahniuk I’m thrilled with, but as a writer – I’m flipping having kittens about it!
Consider This is a new slice of brilliance – not only does the book journal some of Palahniuk’s times on book tours with some fabulous tales from meeting his fans and the crazy shizzle that happens when the world of a writer collides with the world of the reader – it also contains intimate details about his writing practices and his writing group. There are also easy to implement ideas; with pretty much every chapter and sub-chapters having some form of writing prompt in them – so the reader (which I’d assume would most probably will be a writer) can enjoy and put what you’ve just read into practice.
‘When you meet a reader it’s your turn to listen’
There are many books out there about writing craft, but some of my favourite and those that are seen as the best include ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King and ‘On Writers and Writing’ by Margaret Atwood. In my opinion Consider This could be spoken about in the same breath – such is its teaching and insight into the craft, giving birth to new ideas and skills which are put across in easy to digest chunks with advice on how to make it work and examples of the text with and without Palahniuk’s offerings.
Not only will Consider This make you a better writer, it’ll also help you produce some great work too, if you follow Chuck’s advice… I’ve already written two stories following his recommendations and can already see it paying off – this book can also help build a portfolio of work, trust it, trust him and enjoy the ride! It’s easy to read but is also a book that can be used as a referral text, can be picked up and put down when needed.
‘So were I your teacher, I’d tell you to write in the first person, but to weed out almost all of your pesky “I”s.’
‘So if you were my student, I’d tell you to listen to your body as you write. Take note how your hand knows how much coffee is left by the weight of the cup. Tell your stories not simply through your readers’ eyes and minds, but through their skin, their noses, their guts, the bottoms of their feet.’
Chuck Palahniuk also gives us a comprehensive fiction and non-fiction reading list detailing some very brilliant books, including many which I’ve not encountered before – so lets just say I’ve a load more books to read to help develop my craft even further and some new writers to discover.
There is also a very handy section called Troubleshooting Your Fiction where you can consider the problems or issues you are having with your work, and then take a look at what you might need to consider in rectifying the issue – Consider This is a great reference tool and I’ve used it a bunch already when planning my fiction (both short stories and longer form) but also using the troubleshooting section to reflect on work I’ve already written which was missing something I couldn’t quite put my finger on – but Chuck has his finger on the pulse and I was easily able to locate my stories flaws. It’s also great reading about Palahniuk’s learning experiences as a writer too, the amazing people he’s gleaned information from and how they taught him, and in turn how they are teaching us… it’s also great to have an insight into the whole process of a writer, from original concept, through to having it out in the world – the pitfalls and the successes!
Consider This should be in every home of a writer, it’s a book that not only shows you but teaches you how to writer better fiction – and anything Palahniuk can offer I’m more than happy to take on board… you should too – this book will change your writing life!
Consider This is published by Corsair and is available here.
Reviewed by Ross Jeffery
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