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Time to Get Spoopy!

October 31, 2014 by Kiersi

Time to Get Spoopy!

Some Halloween-themed Writing Advice


Work doesn't stop on Halloween

Sione made me wear my bear pajamas to our co-working date

Why, hello there, my spectral visitor. I hope you’re enjoying your All Hallow’s Eve, whether your activities include watching Kate & Leopold at home alone, romping around town in a bear costume, or trying to make it to three different parties in one night and still make it home at the end.

In other SCARY NEWS, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.


Actually, I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve decided what I’m working on, hashed out a plan of attack, and properly psyched myself out for Abandoning My Social Obligations and Spending A Lot Of Time At Home Alone Writing.

Sorry in advance if I don’t make it to your birthday party.

So I read this really rad piece of writing advice by Chuck Palahniuk yesterday. It’s all about making your writing stronger, sharper, and more emotionally intense by eliminating “thought” verbs.

To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything that frightens me more.

But I was lured by my friend Paul Krueger into making a pact: a pact to obey Palahniuk’s fascist rules and try to cut all verbs that place distance between reader and character, including:





And so on.

As if that wasn’t enough! As if that wouldn’t make writing 50,00o words in a single month more difficult! Pffft. WE ARE WORD VIKINGS HERE.

So in an optimistic bout of masochism, I’m also obeying Palahniuk’s second group of rules: hunting out my laziest writing and eliminating dreary, useless verbs like “is” and “was.” This includes slashing every use of:

“It is…”

“There was…”

“She was…”

“Her eyes were…”

No more stopping the action to describe a relevant detail. No more stepping back to set the scene. The game becomes weaving it in naturally, making it an active participant in whatever’s unfolding.

Get writing! Get spoopy!



  1. Good luck with NaNo! I’m booked with edits this month so no NaNo for me, but I did just finish a draft, so I’m okay with it.

  2. Fi Phillips says:

    Good luck with your month’s torture. I’m NaNo-ing too this year, well, today, in fact, now. Why am I chatting?

  3. I am so jealous you are participating in NaNo! I wish I could but with my author visits, book reviews and basic blogging, I’m swamped. I’m sending you some positive vibes to keep your creative juices flowing.
    Those rules are so important to our writing. I am going to have a hell of time editing my WIP and making sure I don’t make those mistakes!

    • Kiersi says:

      Hey, those are great things to be swamped with. Thanks for the vibes, Gina! I could use it. I know, they’re really tyrannical, aren’t they? I don’t think one has to ALWAYS obey them, but they are good things to think about.

  4. I’m reading this list and feel like hiding under the covers. Sometimes when I’m editing I want to beat my head against the wall. I’m like, “Who snuck in here in the middle of the night and replaced my brilliant stuff with crap???” Anyhoo, kudos to you for giving this a go. And good luck with NaNoWriMo. I don’t even have a good reason for not participating. I just know I won’t get a novel done this month. Le sigh. And happy (late!) Halloween.

    • Kiersi says:

      I know!! It’s really scary! That happens to me a lot, too. We’ll see how well I fare—I’m holding to it okay so far. That’s okay! You don’t need a reason 🙂 You write a ton without it. I just like the community encouragement and support, and the challenge! Happy Belated Halloween!

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