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The popularity of "unboxing" videos supports my love for packages. The entire gradual reveal process is so erotic -- market research for McDonald's in the 60s suggested wrapping all food items separately so that the meal would evoke Christmas presents for young diners. And in this world of instant messaging and little sensory stimulation, a package of aromas and flavors and sounds strikes me as archaic but joyous. All in all, I want each package to be a lesson in plotting.

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Paisley!

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Paisley!

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It's Paisley but I'm like the 7th person!

Edit: 5th actually

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Paisley!

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Hey Chuck, long time fan on your work and aesthetic. After seeing the quotes that won I was reminded of a quote from a song I stole "I am waiting for life to start", or "My kerosene dress and flint eyes". Thought you might dig the album, so check it out if you want to. Or dont.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bSPNboKCzM

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Trick question—It’s War Dog.

No, I’m not saying it’s the nickname of a character that has dog in it because I’m a few Paisleys behind; why do you ask?

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Nice try.

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Thanks!

You mentioned that you might answer posted questions, so I thought this might be an opportunity.

Is there a forum or is one being considered where folks could share work they would like to receive comment on? I'm not in the publishing field so I have no special expertise but would be glad to read excerpts here and there and give constructive criticism from an average reader's perspective.

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This would be perfect use for a discord server. ... Is there one already?

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This past week I've been discussing this with Substack Dan. One quick-and-dirty option would be to create occasional posts wherein people could use the Comments to post samples of their work and check back for feedback. Substack is trying to design an in-house "chuck-adjacent" feature that would be linked to this newsletter but useful as a forum. I've also reached out to LitReactor, but the progress has been slow in that direction.

That said, if we do go with the doable-now idea of posts in Comments, I'd urge people to begin with short pieces. In Tom's workshop our limit was seven pages, double-spaced, in 12-pt type. Originally it was ten pages, but seven allowed for more students to present. And if you could pull off a good story in seven pages, it was amazing.

Rest assured the idea of a forum is in the works. Thanks for asking.

P.s. There's also the legal liability issue. People submitting will have to waive the right to hold me or Substack liable if work is plagiarized. So you see we're trying to address every aspect of this feature. A benefit of presenting shorter work is that it can be enjoyed for the voice, without giving away plot premise or plot points that would be tempting to steal. I just don't want you to post your great idea, then see it launched as a hit series on streaming in a couple months.

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“Adjacent Day” cometh.

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Oh man, I would love being able to share something and have the amazing Chuck notice it!

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Be careful what you wish for. Chelsea Cain would sometimes excuse herself from workshop and go cry in the bathroom.

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I just assumed she was doing a bump of coke.

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Oh god, what kind of feedback were you giving that delightful woman? Did you ever find out why she cried?

But hey, if it comes to that, and I end up having my soul obliterated, at least I won't have to excuse myself.

I can just cry at my desk lol

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Yeah, but it’s not every day you get Chuck Palahniuk to help you improve your writing. Well worth the tears in my book. Better to find out what truly isn’t working and try to fix it than have family, friends, and weak writing groups not give honest feedback or not know how to give feedback. I say mentally prepare, and take the lashing!

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Agreed. I still love the possibility of having Chuck just tear into something I've written. It's all for the sake of better storytelling, so any pain during the critique is worth it in the end.

And yeah, family and friends don't always make the best critics.

Also...what's up with your profile bio, Maegan? Getting people to pee and poop and build decks? I read that thing like 7 times lol

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Haha must have been tired when I wrote that. The pee, poop, eat, and sleep part is the chasing my little boys (ages 3 and 6 months) around part of my life. The deck building part is chasing around my big boys (employees). My husband and I contractors; we specialize in decks and outdoor structures. I’m typically pretty lame at bios, so I take what I can get. Probably time to get my head out of my ass and write a new one. :)

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Those could have been tears of joy

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I love an optimist!

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Oh my. Critiques from Mr. Palahniuk would be tough for me to choke down. Still, the feedback would be burned into my brain forever so there's the up side.

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Slack or Discord? Id be happy to set it up but collecting emails in this forum is very clunky, and not everyone is going to want to share that publicly. Not the most streamlined system. Especially how it automatically turns off email notifications. There needs to be a notification center within the site. Direct messaging would help too.

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What is the usual word count for those seven pages? 2000 words? 3000?

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Discord is a really great tool! We use it for our TTRPG productions.

You can also put an agreement and rules up that has to checked off with an emoji before opening up the rest of the channels.

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So it looks like Maegan Heil got here first. Am I seeing that right?

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I was hoping my eyes weren't deceiving me!!

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Please let Dennis know. Congratulations.

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Thank you!!! I'm all smiley inside!

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Oh, you're going to be smiley on the outside, too!

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These are all so great, as were the other winners’. Thanks for this contest!

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Paisley

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Son of a....

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