Skip to main content
Posted by Dennis

Free Writer's Workshop Essay - 'Developing a Theme'

 Photograph by Todd Williamson for NY MagazineAs part of a new push to create more awareness of all the wonderful things we have going on in our Writer's Workshop, each month we are going to 'unlock' one of Chuck's exclusive craft essays. 

As you may or may not know, back in 2004, Chuck Palahniuk and I decided to unveil a new feature on this website whereby up and coming writers could hone their craft with review and thorough feedback by their peers.  But Chuck decided to up the ante by offering to pen an original craft essay on writing... every month.  At the close of each essay, Chuck would issue a "homework assignment" to the reader that would involve applying the lesson he just taught into their next piece of writing. 

This process continued for a total of three years, resulting in 36 original craft essays on writing that you won't find anywhere else online.  Mind you: these are lessons you'd normally have to pay $20,000+ in an MFA writing program to attain, being offered to you by a best-selling writer on this very site.  The essays soon graduated into Chuck actually reading and reviewing 6 original submissions by up and coming writers every month, with plans to choose the best selection at the end of the year for inclusion into a Writing Anthology... that he will be editing himself

Through it all, the core essense of this movement was the Workshop itself and the work that was being submitted there.  Today, we have writers who are being published for work they honed and crafted in our very workshop.  You can usually tell what the good stories are and who the authors are who are going to go far, by the level to which they learn and apply Chuck's writing tenants... tenants which were taught to him by Tom Spanbauer in his Dangerous Writing program and in turn, were handed down by their mentor, Gordon Lisch.

So to convince you all of just how much of a vital resource these essays are to writers hoping to finish that novel, submit that short story, or even brush up that poem, we are chosing a different essay every month, and making it free to the public.  This is a feature that you would normally need a Premium Membership to access. 

This month we are unlocking Chuck's second essay,

Read 'Developing a Theme'

This essay will remain open to the public for approximately 30 days.  If you don't want to wait, and prefer to read all 36 essays, as well as 14 thorough Q&As with fans and of course, access to our groundbreaking Workshop where you can submit your own writing samples, stories, novel chapters, poems and even screenplays, for peer review... then go ahead and:

Join Our Writer's Workshop