Before I even read this one, I just wanna say one thing...


You spoil us too much.

Expand full comment

Love the title. Here are some bats filmed upside down while theyre upside down, dancing to Bauhaus. https://youtu.be/G9A8PFlqM4U

Expand full comment

This is great stuff. Thank you for sharing this lesson. Hopefully part of this group will use it to make something to excite the imagination.

Expand full comment

Question about the ‘IS gerrund construction’: Which other words fall into that category? I follow on the ‘was wearing’ comment, but I have a hard time knowing what terms fall into that box?

Expand full comment

Another question for Chuck. It's not about writing this time. I just wanna know...how have you been? Anything new in the Chuck world? Start any new projects? Write down any ideas in your notebook? Building anything with stone? What's up?

Also, do you have any upcoming interviews planned? I don't even care if you talk about the same topics, I just wanna see you in another form other than text haha

Expand full comment

Wow, this has made my day!

Chuck, thank you so much – I'm lacking the words to accurately express my appreciation! I'm printing the notes and will start working on this right now.

I love how much clearer it is to me now what I needed to do in order to sound like Bela – and I am so excited! Of course this is just an opening scene, but my idea is to explore this clash between a male who primed in his 30s in the Hollywood of the 30s, known to be a womanizer, married five times, and a woman who's struggling with her own femininity in the current days.

Not to make an excuse, but I also speak English as a second language and am an immigrant myself, which is probably one of the reasons why I pulled Bela literally out of a random YouTube rabbit hole. So I was scared to do the burning you've suggested and sound like I was having a stroke while writing – but now I feel very much encouraged and with some tools to get started.

I guess before I started to invest my time in this project, I needed some external validation – but I couldn't have asked for THIS thoughtful, honest and extremely clear analysis of what I was trying to do. I didn't know if the idea was just silly. But it came to me in such a mysterious and magical way (just like Hyde described in his book, The gift), that I even thought I was just going bonkers. haha!

Again, thank you!

Expand full comment

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

It was one of the first one i read when i joined substack, the title made me wanna read it. Bringing Bella Lugosi from the dead is a really cool idea and i think a good idea beats a good plot anyday, maybe that's just me.

I also love to struggle with an idea that is complicated to turn into a story, it's such a great feeling when you finally find a way to write it and make it interesting.

Chuck's comments about unpacking, like when Bella is in front of the mirror makes so much sense and when i read it i was kind of frustrated that it went so fast and felt that you missed a great scene.

It makes me wonder how come the unpacking missing in somebody's story feels kind of obvious for the reader but as a writer you don't see it.

It happens to me all the time.

I don't know much about Bella Lugosi apart from what i've Seen in the Ed Wood movie.

You got a really cool thing to play with here, i really hope you'll work on it and share it with us.

And once again, both the story and the comments are inspiring, i'm off to my pad and pen now.

Expand full comment

Chuck, i have a question.

I'm working on a story and i had an idea for a future scene.

I'm thinking about writing that scene now because i know it's going to be great fun to write it.

But It feels like my characters have to go through the all story so they react properly then.

Basicaly, can i jump some parts and write it afterward or is it a bad idea? keeping a linear timeline i mean.

does it make sense ?

Expand full comment

Random thought but I’m curious to see how a writers workshop would work if it had the relationship Gordon Ramsay has with the contestants on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.

“Oi! Oi you! Look at it... five thought verbs in one paragraph. Come on... You bring me this story like this again and I’ll shove the pencil you used to write it with up your arse sideways. Now fuck off, you.”

Expand full comment

Hi Cris! Thank you for sharing "Bela Lugosi’s Not Dead" with us.

Such a cool concept!!!

-I really enjoyed the way you conveyed Lugosi's experience with the "black brick." Haha! That was so neat to have the perspective of not knowing what a cell phone is. And I liked Chuck's suggestions about how to rephrase with the different tenses Lugosi's pondering of "is it a bomb?" Like maybe Lugosi lived in a time where people were always worried about bombs, so this is what first comes to mind?

-I love the end, when the man comes to the door and recognizes him as "Eva." Here I was really biting my fingernails.

-I'm curious about what happened to Hope.

-Amp up Lugosi's voice and bringing out things Lugosi would notice because of who he is, and I think this story will go out with a bang!

Chuck--thank you for discussing tension/breaking of tension. For me, this is a concept I'm going to need you to stuff into my ears several thousand more times. I also love how you've pointed to burning the voice in a way that is appropriate to the narrator, and the example of the German sentence structure. And the example showing how switching between first, second, and third person tenses would work really nicely.

Expand full comment

Dear Chuck, I'm a pretty new subscriber, but I must say everything you're doing here has been incredibly helpful and inspiring. I'm quickly internalizing your lessons (as best I can) and incorporating them into my writing. The idea of eliminating "abstractions" has been revelatory. I write about Wall Street/Corporate America so tend to use a lot of numbers in my fiction. Leveraging your feedback has already greatly improved the clarity of my work. Thanks so much. I'm very happy to be a member of this community.

Expand full comment