55 Comments

Thanks, Chuck, for everything. You've lifted all of our spirits countless times.

I'll resume writing jokes no one reads in due course ;)

Hugs

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PS It is glorious weather here on Planet Canada. Not even a long holiday weekend. What a parallel universe we live in.

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founding

Thankfully the weather is nice here. Airing out my apartment while the neighbors boil vats of spam in their apartment all weekend.

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I always read your stuff, Karen. A pun never goes unnoticed with me!

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I know, Joseph, and I really appreciate that! It's very easy to get lost in the weeds here because there are so many people who are committed to participating and getting the most out of Chuck's generosity.

More "pun times" will be had by all. Have a great rest of the long weekend!

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Thanks for your comment from the "pun nut" gallery haha

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AND THEY HAVE FREE HOTDOGS ALL DAY ON MONDAY!!

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Don't think I can make it there in time, "dog gone"....

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Homelessness in Portland just keeps sounding better.

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And 'furter more, I think those Study Hall events are free too!

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My childhood record was 5 in day camp (in buns). Felt a little full afterward haha Couldn't bunned over for the rest of the day

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Because my Beautiful Me is endangered when junk food is around, I think I "dogged" that bullet by being on the other side of the continent. Thanks for the invite though. Enjoy!

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I was trying to figure out how to share this news and figured you were probably well-informed. I’m heading there tomorrow for sure. 😁

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You had me at free hot dogs... I will check this place out tomorrow. Yesterday my wife, daughter and I went to Oaks Park for the Multnomah County Fair in the rain and it was grand. Like all fairs are.

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Sounds like fun. It's mothers day here today.

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Wow I'm sad to miss this one. Didn't your Survivor narrator steal flowers off of the crypt at the Mausoleum to put at his boss' garden and spray painted them regularly to keep the color? That one stuck with me because I wanted to do that at the houses I garden for.

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founding

Getting to know the places that inspired you to write some of you books, is one of the reasons why I plunge myself into every new post here.

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If I was there, I'd love to take a trip. But what if I get lost in the maze of death and goth sex??

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Sorry for asking kind of a morbid question. But, Chuck, would you want to be put in that mausoleum?

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Hmmmmm... I'd rather be in a more natural setting. The camera forever broadcasting from Any Warhol's grave is my new favorite, the cans of soup on the tombstone.

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You'll get bars of soap on yours maybe

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Huh. Looks like people are dying to get in there.

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I live a few hundred feet from 2 different cemeteries. One is old and filled with a crumbling mausoleum that smells like death and the other a federal cemetery overrun with people this weekend. I go to both often to write and it’s a strange juxtaposition. I always feel more at home at the older one since not a lot of people gather there and it’s filled with wild bunnies.

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Reading the Oregon live article, maybe my first time ever that I saw a Mausoleum worth visiting. The ones we have here give these a bad name. They tore down one last week, the carrers were scamming people for money for years.

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I live spitting distance from there! Weekend saved!

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You will love it. But dress warmly, it's always very cold inside.

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It made me think of the catacombes in Paris. Mostly human skulls there though.

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Have a writing question if you’re up for it... Have you ever removed characters from a story? Any reason you came to that conclusion?

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Instead of removing a character, I tend to consolidate them. The fewer the better. If one character can serve several purposes, that character gets all those jobs. That's probably how Tyler and the narrator came to be the same character.

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Can I get a free ticket to the Castle in the backyard? Lol

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founding

This looks like a fun place to explore. I wonder if we have something similar here?

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Hey, Chuck. Slightly off-topic, but I was curious how you deal with people breathing down your neck to add "Trigger Warnings" to your work? I ran into that with my last piece and some people are obnoxiously persistent. I confess, I finally caved and added one. But I wasn't happy about it, not at all. It's like saying, "Hey, here's my story—but don't you dare read it!" Do you have any canned lines to keep these spoiled brats off your ass? Can't people make a decision based off the initial summary of the MS? It's not like I lied in the synopsis.

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This question is actually for everyone that has a reasonable answer. I apologize for only addressing Chuck. I know there's many seasoned novelists here that can give me a good lead on how to handle this. Please, anyone, weigh in. This really is an issue in my life that gives me anxiety. I feel like I'm gonna swim down the cancel culture waterslide if I don't do as people say.

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Personally, trigger warnings piss me off. Sorry, but there it is. Partly because writing can go to some really high/low places and I love that possibility and would hate to see a book censoring itself. The other reason is because if I don't feel triggered, I'll feel like the book oversold itself, perhaps because I build up really horrible expectations. Just my opinion as I love that books don't come with age ratings and anyone can read any story.

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That's an excellent take on it. Thanks, Katy. I didn't let it change the story, but I added the warning to appease the mob.

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May 31, 2022·edited May 31, 2022

Chuck summed it up perfectly in Non-Fiction, that the luxury of books is you can create characters an actor would never dare play.

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I'm kinda with you on this. Personally, I don't really care for trigger warnings. In fact, I'd rather just not be told upfront. They feel like spoilers. And I've read bits of some articles that say trigger warnings aren't really that effective. I been meaning to ask Chuck about trigger warnings for months actually. Glad you brought it up.

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Thanks for replying, Joe. I knew I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Do you ever have people doxxing you about it? Man, my last story must've earned me a whole new reputation. It's almost like these folks were waiting for a mule to smuggle their message in, or something. Maybe me giving in gave them more power than I should've?

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I personally would just ignore them – and I actually feel discouraged to read anything that has a trigger warning on it.

To me it boils down to: who do you want to read your stuff? Those are the only ones I feel like worrying about; anybody else can kiss my ass and go read something else. I might be wrong in this approach, but it feels great not to carry the weight of stranger's feelings about my work.

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You're 100% right. I feel that way too. Thanks for backing me on this, Cris.

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author

Can you tell me more about the context? Is this work going out to editors and agents who ask for the warning? Or is it published online, where readers ask for the warning? That said, you'll never appease everyone so keep in mind that reading requires the ongoing consent of the reader. If you use a phrase like "You're free to stop reading this at any point" you might generate more interest. Don't itemize the possible threat, but remind the reader that no one's holding a gun to his head.

Frankly, I can't imagine Flannery O'Connor putting a warning on 'A Good Man is Hard to Find.' In effect, "The Misfit kills the whole family."

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I created Ella Minnow last year and sold it to an anthology. It might be worth mentioning the anthology was "invite only" for established names in the horror-lit industry. My story was supposed to be filler content. Either way, I didn't mind. Then he started getting Twitter emails and comments left in the reviews about my story. Some were pissed, some were shocked. So not all bad. The rights reverted back to me and I self-pubbed it on KDP. That's when they got a hold of my Twitter and a few found my email. It wasn't all hate mail. It was more of a suggestion. Although one lady threatened to call the sheriff on me because it sounded real. So I took it off KU and posted it on Substack, now with a "Trigger Warning." I did this at the advice of my lawyer friend. She's practices estate law, so it was her best judgement. I never send my work to agents or editors, except my proofreader. Even she thought it needed a disclaimer. I doubt the story was so effective it put me on the FBI's radar, I'm just not that good. It irks me that I caved just to post my work. It also irks that I haven't torn it down, yet. For context, it involves a man's two decade search for his daughter and what he did to various sex traffickers once he found them. Keep in mind, he tracked them down by the snuff films they made, on children. The content of the films were only alluded to, not detailed. The scenes of "vigilante justice" against adult criminals were much more raw. I thought it was cathartic, maybe in a sick way. Some thought it crossed the line. It makes me wonder why someone would buy a "life-horror" anthology in the first place. Scott, the editor, never cared. Quite the opposite. He thinks the open review criticism of Ella Minnow helped drive the anthology's success, although moderate compared to NYT lists. Over time, some people removed their review from Amazon, even the ones I liked (goddamnit!). I'm a nobody, a no-name who likes to tickle people in uncomfortable ways with my work. I give people what I'd want to read. If you were in my position, would you have caved? Am I a sell-out, and how bad? Like Metallica bad or Milli Vanilli bad? Gosh, I hope you see this. The query's loaded and I'm on fire. Help me put it out?

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founding

Goth Sex and Suicides. Sounds like a fantastic weekend.

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I know. I spent mine at the car races but I'm so jealous.

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founding

Yeah I went to the anime convention with my cousin. We had a fantastic time. I found a water bottle with bunny ears. Whats not to love!? lol

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