“Chuck Palahniuk is 'pathetic' when he rewrites.”

OK, I hope I don’t have to tell you who Chuck Palahniuk is. Those who have seen the movie, “Fight Club,” already know this giant of literature. For those who don’t, just Google the name Chuck Palahniuk and you’ll soon find out. That’s because, there are literally tens of thousands of Culties (me included) who could tell you that the first rule of Fight Club is, you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is, you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.

So, let’s talk about something else. With his latest movie project, “Choke,” titled after his best-selling novel, in theaters now, Chuck P. had the chance to open up to an audience who has yet to discover this Portland based writing maniac. He has gained wide praise, as well as criticism, with his gore filled scenes and graphical natured dialogue readers tend to look forward to in his books.

Palahniuk’s newest novel, “Snuff,” tells the tale of porn star, Cassie Wright, attempting to set the record for the most guys fucked in a single sitting (or laying). Told from the perspective of three guys in line waiting to have sex with this porno legend, the novel ends remarkably with a twist.

I had the pleasure of briefly speaking to Palahniuk (and I mean briefly), not so about his novels or movies, but rather his venture to getting to those points and why he is the way he is. When I first contacted him, his novel “Haunted” had just been released. He was knee deep into writing a new book, so he was “sidestepping everything else.” “Next spring, I'll be free for a little while,” Palahniuk said, “and doing promo for the paperback of “Haunted.” That would be the best time to do an interview. Okay? Chuck.”

That time, like Cassie Wright in the book, “Snuff,” finally came.

Q - What’s your rewriting process like?

A - It’s pathetic how much I rewrite. I’ll rework every scene a hundred times before my agent sees it. Then rework it a dozen times before my editor sees it. Then rework it all - almost beyond recognition - before it goes to the copy editor.

My first draft is almost a bare-bones outline, fleshed out with every subsequent pass through. I’ll “test” the scenes in workshop and with friends, then revise them based on audience reaction and feedback.

The only time a book is “done” is when the type is set. By then I’m in love with a new idea, so the old one is officially finished.

Q - Some novels seem to shift gears with every chapter, instead of the continual storyline used at the beginning. I noticed a few of your books are like this. In your opinion, is there a right way to write a novel?

A - There’s no right way to write novel. Some chapters are short stories with the book as common thread. It indicates time lapses.

Q - People often hide their true selves by projecting a certain behavior or persona. You don’t. And by not doing so, some people probably consider you a freak. Are you?

A - A freak? Hmmmm. Not really. I think I’m less likely to be “shocked” by human behavior. It’s more likely I’ll laugh and feel warm fuzzies, finding more proof that people are mostly sick fucks who spend a huge amount of time/energy hiding that fact. The irony seems to be that the more honest you can be about your “mistakes,” even by presenting them as “fiction” or a “performance,” the more you’re acclaimed. (Can you say Marilyn Manson?) In a way, the web is a Rorschach test of humans: penis enlargement, porno, easy drugs, eBay, quick dating, fast money, more money scams, and occasional moments of huge charity (tsunami). Once you’re honest about being “sick,” you can have some fun with the big “secret” other folks try to hide. Can I say fuck?

Q - Sure.

A - Fuck.

Q - Thank you.

A - Fuck.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."

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Michael said...

Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Fuckin nice man. Rock on.

Anonymous said...

His books have gotten stale. I still read them because I'm a fan. But I want another Fight Club original book.


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