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My first inclination was to write a series of shorts. But then a novel and a novella came pouring out. Both started as shorts. I was just saying that I need to go back to that. Once Im exhausted from revising this beast, or finished, or both, I will.

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Thank you! How many words is a 20 minute story? 2.000?

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Yesssss. So happy to read this.

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This is really helpful to hear. I’ve had a novel idea in my head and the thought of writing a whole book is daunting, but it makes sense to start with one story and get that hit of accomplishment.

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“If someone likes a book or film, they really only like about ten percent of it.”

Something I’ve always felt, but never translated into words. Great read, Chuck. Thank you so much.

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Ohh this was just the fuel that I needed today. Thanks Chuck!

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Thank you for diving deeper into this! It’s so refreshing to think of it like I already have 9 parts of a whole instead of a collection of short stories. I love this so much.

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Nov 4, 2022Liked by Chuck Palahniuk

After reading Fight Club, I trekked to the bookstore in search of more of your work. I walked out with Haunted. I had no idea where it fell on the sales list - it just intrigued me. Plus, it has a glow-in-the-dark cover.

Also, I am very much a fan of short stories.

And your puzzle analogy is brilliant.

😊

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I'm writing a bio lololol and the hardest thing is describing me. And I want advice but who do you ask I mean when there isn't one person that really knows you....

So far I got

Karie Anne is the most prolific serial killer

or

If you say Karie Anne in a mirror 3 times fast the OG Karen appears!

I had to Google wtf it was tho so that's progress

Procrastithunking may take a lifetime on this

Wait also got, Karie Anne is the thought child of Margaret Mitchell and Stephen King.

Unless I make writing a bio a contest and I give away a dog or something.......

Back to writing the story though cuz I gotta be ready for the 14th!

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You once said that your favorite part of the novel writing process is printing out all the chapters and laying them out in stacks on your kitchen table then shuffling the order around to see which arrangement would be most impactful. When I first heard that, I couldn't fathom how that could happen. How a story could get chopped up and rearranged and still make sense. I've written four novels (that sit in a drawer) and couldn't imagine them holding together under that paper film editing process. So that's why I threw aside all 40k words I'd written for my current book. My process needed reprocessed.

And my writing hasn't been the same in the best way possible.

Now, if it's a short story or a chapter, I find myself writing more nonlinearly. Jumping forward, backward whenever my brain clicks to something. Rinse repeat until I've filled in all the blanks. And I love writing all over again. Anyway, this is a long-winded comment to say, when I switched to writing short stories instead of solely focusing on novels, when I stopped writing in a straight line, my writer brain thanked me. And now I'm thanking you.

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Maybe I'm totally off-base, but I think the market for short stories is very different for established and novice writers.

Also, I feel like if you write something like YA, it's almost impossible to gain traction with short stories. Almost all of the "A-list" journals are MFA-oriented and tend to publish more literary-fiction-ish stories. And even a long list of publications in literary journals doesn't seem to reliably translate into success landing an agent or selling a manuscript.

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Currently working on a collection; aim to have it completed by next year. Did some math a while ago to see where I am and where I want to be in terms of page length. I’m about 1/6th of the way there -- slow but steady I guess.

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If I send you a worn copy of Haunted, would you sign it and send it back? It would instantly become a family heirloom to be read fire side on holidays. Also read my substack...

Love Josh

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Ah I love short stories, the best can be such a short sharp gut punch.

Also my head is telling me that Chuck's short story Phoenix was released as a kindle single, but I could be wrong.

And yes, that's exactly how I do jigsaws! Good to hear its technique applied to novel writing.

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On a side note, a few weeks ago I was running this half-marathon. And maybe it was the lack of oxygen, maybe my mind wandering away to avoid leg cramps, but by the 9th mile the idea for a novel hit me. Working on it right now. And yup, following the short story approach you suggested, Chuck.

Just because, like you said, the burden of plotting something in an original way upfront, hiding hints and references without knowing what they are yet, planning everything on a graph, well, it can be quite unbearable.

So yeah, pivotal short story approach it is. For the fun of it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Really a great post here, Chuck.

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