Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different
Palahniuk (Adjustment Day
) delivers a fine book on writing, full of advice and anecdotes garnered from his career as a novelist, that will help both those aspiring to write bestsellers and those hoping to write from the heart. His practical tips range from the importance of surprising one’s readers to the need to torment one’s characters. He concludes the book’s nuts-and-bolts component with a troubleshooting chart (he asks those whose beginnings don’t hook readers, “Do you begin with a thesis sentence that summarizes, or do you begin by raising a compelling question or possibility?”). Palahniuk also writes about his own life, in recurrent “Postcards from the Tour” sections on the joys and trials of being a famous author (the latter including an incident when a book-signing attendee, angered that Palahniuk refused to sign a Don DeLillo novel, attacked him with a tube full of mice). The book finally rises to a moving emotional crescendo, in a final chapter that shares moments of serendipity from Palahniuk’s time on the road. Reminiscent of Stephen King’s On Writing
in never failing to entertain while imparting wisdom, this is an indispensable resource for writers. Agent: Dan Kirschen, Sloan Harris, ICM Partners. (Jan.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly noted that at one point Palahniuk was attacked by a fan bearing a tube full of dead mice. The mice, in fact, were not dead.