Sunday, September 9, 2012

Master Storyteller: Chuck Palahniuk's Story Intros

Starting a story can be one of the most difficult aspects of the entire writing process. To establish the narrative voice, set the tone of the story, and successfully intrigue your reader, it takes creativity and intuition. Being the master storyteller that he is, Chuck Palahniuk is quite impressive at kicking a story off in a way that you don't dream of stopping at the 1st page. Here are 5 great examples of how Chuck P starts a story, enjoy!

'If you're going to read this, don't bother. After a couple pages, you won't want to be here. So forget it. Go away. Get out while you're still in one piece. Save yourself. There has to be something better on television. Or since you have so much time on your hands, maybe you could take a night course. Become a doctor. You could make something out of yourself. Treat yourself to a dinner out. Color your hair. You're not getting any younger. What happens here is first going to piss you off. After that, it just gets worse and worse.'

-Victor Mancini, Choke, 2001

'One dude stood all afternoon at the buffet wearing just his boxers, licking the orange dust off barbecued potato chips. Next to him, a dude was scooping into the onion dip and licking the dip off the chip. The same soggy chip, scoop after scoop. Dudes have a million ways of peeing on what they claim as just their own.'

-Branch Bacardi (Mr. 600), Snuff, 2008

'Where you're supposed to be in some big West Hills wedding reception in a big manor house with flower arrangements and stuffed mushrooms all over the house. This is called scene setting: where everybody is, who's alive, who's dead. This is Evie Cottrell's big wedding reception moment. Evie is standing halfway down the big staircase in the manor house foyer, naked inside what's left of her wedding dress, still holding her rifle.'

-Shannon McFarland, Invisible Monsters, 1999

'Testing, testing. One, two, three. Testing, testing. One, two, three. Maybe this is working. I don't know. If you can even hear me, I don't know. But if you can hear me, listen. And if you're listening, then what you've found is the story of everything that went wrong. This is what you'd call the flight recorder of Flight 2039. The black box, people call it, even though it's orange, and on the inside is a loop of permanent record of all that's left. What you've found is the story of what happened. And go ahead. You can heat this wire to white-hot, and it will still tell you the exact same story.'

-Tender Branson, Survivor, 1999

'Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die. For a long time though, Tyler and I were best friends. People are always asking, did I know about Tyler Durden.'

-The Narrator, Fight Club, 1996

All passages written by Chuck Palahniuk.

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