Discover more from Chuck Palahniuk's Plot Spoiler
The Winners Are ...
A drumroll, please.
A Note: Regarding the flowers. They’re actually very fancy 3D origami sculpted bouquets. You open them, and they take shape like a pop-up book. So they should clear Customs. Enjoy!
Tomorrow I will count my candy to see if I can name some additional winners, but for now here are the twenty-one I’ve chosen. If I’ve over-bought my boxes of candy I’ll pick another couple people. For now, Congratulations go to:
Brandon — “She built it up in her brain.”
Rat — “Does that grab you?”
Karen S — “I see your point.”
Jim Woods — “I pull myself together.”
Anthony C — “He struggled to hold the idea.”
Nic — “Chewed the insult.”
Jose De Sousa — “I had to show him what time it was.”
Wil Dalton — “It squeezed his heart.”
Bethany — “I’ve mulled it over.”
Sinistersmudge — “It had been baked into me.”
Helena Wallace — “Everything clicked into place.”
Kimberly — “Does it ring a bell?”
Ann Price — “thoughts settling”
Tyle Durden — “Drew a blank.”
Andie Johnson — “That really stuck with me.”
IP Robinson — “He chalked it up in his head.”
Atticus Blake — “I gathered.”
Sky — “He was itching to leave.”
Shaun Carr — “On the same page.”
Dan Frazier — “He jogged his brain.”
EBS — “The news gutted him.”
This was a tough contest. But I wanted people to take their best shot in whatever manner drew them. My overall point is that these thinking/surmising/understanding bits of a story shouldn’t draw too much attention. If you’ve depicted events effectively the reader already knows what the character is about to confirm in a “realization.” The reader, ideally, should feel smarter than the character.
The point of an “epiphany” is to confirm the reader’s suspicions and give her a dopamine rush. So—to my mind—there’s no benefit in using showy, clever (writerly) language to do this basic job.
Again, the biggest rule in Minimalism is to not sound “writerly.” Instead, allow the events of the story to create the tension, humor, tragedy.1 That’s why I’ve chosen bland, classic phrases. No offense. I chose phrases that won’t draw too much of the spotlight, yet will give the reader a slight sympathetic physical response.
This was fun. It’s shocking how Karen S kept rattling off the best, classic bits. It’s clear who’s read Reader’s Digest.
Also, many people posted physical gestures: thumbs up, nodding, cocked heads, rolling eyes … These are all perfect for underscoring or undercutting or simply pacing dialog, but they weren’t what I was looking for here. Nearer Easter, when batches of Easter candy are out for sale, I’ll have a similar post-a-thon about physical gestures, and you might win a massive chocolate rabbit or whatever. So, keep those gestures in mind.
For now, will the chosen please send Dennis your snail mail address. Include a phone number if you’re outside the United States. My weekend will be spent (passive voice!) packing boxes, and the first will ship out on Monday.
P.S. If you’d like your copy of Beautiful You to be inscribed to someone other than yourself, please mention that in your message to Dennis.
This is what Nami Mun, Denis Johnson, Monica Drake, and Junot Diaz do.