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I learned the secret of writing this weekend.

Chuck Palahnuik blew my mind away this weekend. He managed to diagnose a huge writing issue that I have with one blog entry. Magic, huh? And I didn’t even get to it on my own. I was attending a zoom lecture by Shaunta Grimes and it was a simple link in the notes.


In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.
From this point forward – at least for the next half year – you may not use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use.
The list should also include: Loves and Hates.

Chuck Palahnuik, Nuts and Bolts, Thought Verbs

Six months without using thought verbs? Who could do such a thing? Especially since my beta readers tell my they want more emotion. Could one thing lead to another???

Further down in the article, he writes that the writer should stop anytime there is a thought verb and unpack it. Show the actions that make the character have those thoughts and feelings rather than tell what the character thinks.

Un-pack. Don’t take short cuts.

I am going to take up the challenge to not use thought words for six months. My sucky Sunday stories are about to get even worse, right? (Side note, I have a story I was going to publish on January 16th, but it ended up getting long, and I had to stop and write a story for the NYC Midnight Short Story contest. So I have completed three stories in four weeks. Hopefully this will be catch up week, right?)

Photo by author. Let’s do this!