Warning: This is more a self-congratulatory announcement than a musing on writing, though I’ll smuggle a wee-bit of advice into the post.
I was pleased to wake this morning to find one of my stories critiqued by Chuck Palahniuk. I am a member of a Palahniuk site that offers an active, supportive, and constructive writing workshop: The Cult. This site, though dedicated to all things Palahniuk-related, also maintains a strong focus on developing and encouraging writers. Over the course of 2009, The Cult asked workshop members to submit stories for possible inclusion in a Palahniuk-edited anthology.
Well, this is the sort of thing an unpublished writer can’t say no to. So I submitted a few stories and engaged in the workshops. One of those stories, a mid-development form of “Relics,” was chosen for review. Mr. Palahniuk posted his commentary. Although I would have loved him to say something like, “budding genius,” the critique was mostly aimed at how I might increase suspense in the story. That wasn’t what I was really going for, but some of Palahniuk’s points were good ones — ones that I’ll consider in my next revision.
I encourage all writers to be involved in a writing community, and The Cult is a shining example of one done right. You can see the dozens of reviews Palahniuk’s already written for nobodies like me on the site (and I’ve attached my story and review with this post). Consider joining The Cult — even if you’re not a big fan of Palahniuk’s writing or content — and share notes with other writers. I’m saying this to myself more than anyone: I need to get back into this.
Also, if you’d like to read the most recent version of “Relics,” you should be able to find it on The Cult workshops (you must be a member) or it’s available as part of my collection of short stories, People Live Here: Stories from Yakima.