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Thanks Brandon for reading and the kind comment. Such rich feedback. I'm sure I'll remeber the lessons learnt for a long time

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That was a solid piece of advice. Gotta watch out for all those "ing" words.

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Well, Jesus did talk a lot, so he probably used a ton of gerunds lol

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Imagine if Chuck did a Gloves Off for a bible story? "If you want to write from a third person, God, consider making his voice more voicey. Also don't start at the very beginning, consider in medias res. The creation of the whole universe is kinda boring. And don't summarize!"

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This was a fun read, Mustafa. The comments here were great to read, as well, Chuck! Thank you both.

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Thanks Jeffrey for reading. Yes, I loved the feedback and the discussion.

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Thank you for the story and the lesson. I feel like a learned something this time.

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Thanks for reading!

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I will say this, being as someone who has worked in medicine for almost 30 years and has spent plenty of time in Asian buy-me-drinky girl bars, strip clubs, and etc. I expected you to take me to flavortown. Those places are full of vivid textures and smells. Also plenty of life changing STDs. Each of those ping pong balls should be like a biohazard weapon of life destruction.if this place is anything like Pattaya Beach you going to hear ladies asking tourist to buy them dishwashers and the like while he is weaving in and out of bodies. The thick smell of cheap booze and perfume to cover up the sweat and body odor is just one layer. It felt more like I was in a sterile operating room than a seedy sex club. Just my 2 cents from a snowflake in Seattle.

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I think Chuck gets a certain feeling a glee whenever something can be improved. With your stripper section of the story, you fell right into his stripper analogy haha

Don't take off all the clothes and say "Here it is, end of story, any questions?"

We all want that slow build up. Painfully slow until we ache for more.

Also...Magic Mike? Where did he come from? Do you have a crush on Channing Tatum now?

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I always feel piggish if I make the stripper analogy with a female. And it seems funnier with a male stripper because the culture never wants to see male junk swinging out in the open.

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Gosh, that's what I would call a good start of the day. When your favourite writer of all time reads your story and gives feedback. Chuck, I can't thank you enough for your time and advice. You are one of the reasons I started to write.

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The feedback is eye-opening, to say the least.

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Just don't rush a good story. It's really about revealing the back story gradually.

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I wish/don't wish I could show you my early writing. You're already miles ahead of where I started. But once you nail the voice of this narrator, this will write itself.

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Agree with Brandon. Let us see for educational purposes lol

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You have no idea how this means to me! I really appreciate your time and experience.

Speaking of which, I've been trying to reach you for a while to translate more of your works to Arabic. You have massive crowd there and only two of your books are translated. I want to support translating more. Let me know if you ar interested, Chuck.

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I love these Gloves Off lessons! What I find most interesting, is how much the critique changes parts of the story for me. And once you read the critique, you can't unread it.

As always, great story, great critique.

I hope there's a load more still to come.

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Happy you liked it Matt. Yes indeed, great critique.

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Thanks, Mustafa and Chuck!

The ping pong ball is a great object, you come back to it a few times, but I’d love to see you really step on it (as well as continue shooting it from genitals). And I think coming to it from the point of view of a doctor as Chuck mentioned will really help make it land.

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I love Seattle's idea of the ping-pong ball as a vector for disease. Like launching plague victims over the walls of Constantinople.

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Intriguing! I'll give it a thought. Not to the extent of a plague though :)

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Feb 16, 2023·edited Feb 17, 2023Author

It can simply be your comic relief. An object that shows up in food or drink any time you need to cut tension.

Do you recall the "Tommy Hawk" post about Grace Kelly? How she and Alec Guinness would sneak an axe into each other's beds over the years? The ping-pong ball would function like that tomahawk.

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Copy. It could be also something like the chorus you use between sections in many of your works

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I agree. Thanks for reading Matt.

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founding

This was great to read, super informative! Unrelated question: Does anyone know what happened to Chuck's 36 Essays On Writing posted to Litreactor? I found them helpful, but now get an access denied message when I try to find them.

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could you please upload it to mediafire or somewhere public? i am interested

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Funny. I've covered all of that material in Consider This and here on Substack.

The last I saw of those essays an acquaintance was studying writing at Columbia. On his first day of class the professor handed out a printed/bound copy of those essays. Titled "Chuck Palahniuk's Advice on Writing." Pirate much?

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It's my ignorance as well. Think I've just realised that finding something on the internet is not the same as public domain (is it?) as it was originally behind a paywall. Again, my apologies.

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Definitely piracy. Would you prefer they weren't circulated? Apologies, I should have checked in first.

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Those essays were originally written for Dennis, to offer him content about writing craft on the Cult site. They really are the property of Dennis and LitReactor. I would love to teach at Columbia, live in NYC, have group health insurance and benefits. So I do a slow boil when professors who have such security poach copyrighted materiel from people who do not have security.

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founding

That makes sense! I became a paid member on Litreactor for those essays specifically, and was confused when they suddenly became unavailable. I tried reaching out to their support staff but have not gotten a response.

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Again, I am very sorry for sending on to Graham as I didn't fully understand. I haven't sent them anywhere else or uploaded anywhere.

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founding

I've found Consider This, and your Substack to be invaluable for my writing! I specifically wanted to read the first draft of your story "Fetch". Apologizes for asking for the PDF, I should've checked first. They were the only reason I paid for Litreactor so I was confused when I was suddenly locked out of them.

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That's not a gerund. Not every verbal ending in "ing" is. That's just the present continuous form of the verb to sit.

A gerund is a verbal that ends in "ing" but acts as a noun.

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founding

Hey Mustafa! I'm a little late to the game here, but thanks for sharing Bangkok Blues with us!

Right away, I want to follow this ping pong ball throughout your story. You set us in Bangkok, but you give us a universal object--a ping pong ball, something we can easily follow, yet can take us many different places. And I wonder if sprinkling it throughout the story will help to keep the reader "grounded" so to speak as you move the action forward.

I agree with Seattle Snowflake that this story should have some smells. I mean, ugh--I don't really want to know what it smells like, and that's exactly why you should put it in. Because when you do, it's going to give me an uncomfortable reader reaction.

I was curious as to what a kinder egg was. That would be another object I wouldn't mind seeing more of throughout.

The line, "She giggles and I almost believe she is genuine" made me think the model could have been a robot, and that would be a cool sci-fi story for a different day...

I tripped a little bit as to what exactly happened with the bullets.

It's good advice from Chuck to filter the language/knowledge of the narrator through a doctor's lens, so that the reader will infer that he is a doctor rather than you having to tell it through exposition. I have read that too much exposition can rob a scene of its tension, and readers want tension! :) On that same note, I would agree that you can save the backstory about how the narrator knows the other characters for later chapters.

Also Chuck says, "It’s tough to build tension when the narrator is so inside his own head. Can you turn the camera elsewhere and just show us the events and scene taking place?" This is something I'm practicing in my own stories, and I think is very good advice to carry in the back pocket.

Thanks again for sharing, and keep writing!

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Thanks Maegan. I read your post more than once. There is a lot to think about here. Thanks for your feedback and welcome to the game!

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Ah good topic material here. I used to teach ESL in Korea and so many of the foreigners would come back from vacations to Thailand or Vietnam and talk about seeing a ping pong show or a donkey show. I heard about carrot shows too -- in one case the carrot got cut up and served and someone actually ate it. They weren’t paying attention to where it had been.

I went on vacation to the Philippines with four friends. Before going there one of the guys in the group was pretty concerned with being “tricked” by a transgender woman as it’s a pretty common part of the culture there.

He had searched the internet for different ways to recognize if a woman was born as a man. One trick, supposedly, was to check if her ring finger was longer than her index finger. If it was, then it was said to mean there was a higher level of testosterone and to therefore proceed with caution. It ended up that guy got tricked anyway when he was out too late.

Also, there are tons of women whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers. So, I’m pretty sure it is just an old wives tale. Thanks for sharing this story. I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing more!

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Thanks Elliott. Hapy you liked the story and appreciate the anecdotes.

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