What I Learned from the Terrible Mind of Chuck Wendig

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing

Chuck is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Under the Empyrean Sky, Blue Blazes, Double Dead, Bait Dog, Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse and Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits.

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is an alum of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, showed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey. Together they co-wrote the digital transmedia drama Collapsus, which was nominated for an International Digital Emmy and a Games 4 Change award.

Much of his writing advice has been collected in various writing- and storytelling-related e-books.He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, two dogs, and tiny human. You can find out more about Chuck on his website, Terrible Minds, and follow @ChuckWendig on Twitter.

I am pretty sure that there is no site on earth quite like Chuck Wendig’s. His writing craft advice is an absurd mash up of geek humor, clever wordplay, and solid craft advice. One thing is for sure: Chuck is a unique character on the writing scene.

In a recent article on world building he responded to the ol’ chestnut “write what you know” as it relates to speculative fiction. I laughed, cried, and learned something new about world building. Chuck’s humor is off-beat, but that’s part of the allure of his website (appropriately named Terrible Minds). Here’s a snippet from that article:

“Well, how can I write about murder scenes, alien apocalypses, or humping a sexy elf? I’VE ONLY DONE TWO OUT OF THE THREE. And the third, I was really drunk on monkey schnapps.”

Chuck doesn’t limit his humor just to his site, either. His books keep me up late reading and laughing hysterically. Every night I read for about an hour under the covers with a flashlight (it’s a habit I picked up as a child and never could shake). Right now I I’m reading Chuck’s Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey and lawyer-hubby has threatened to take away my kindle because I burst out laughing so much that he can’t get any sleep. Can’t help it; Chuck’s writing is just that funny.

Besides off-beat advice and tons of humor, Chuck also shares his views on more complicated aspects of the writing life. For instance, he’s talked about book review, both receiving negative reviews (and when and how to give them), and exactly what he thinks about authors who buy their positive reviews. Some of these nittier and grittier topics in the hands of a less skilled blogger would come off as boring or preachy. Chuck does neither, nimbly addressing the issues with his own brand of humor and providing a balanced look at these issues.

So, what can we learn from Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Mind? Aside from the obvious writing and publishing industry advice, Chuck also shows us the benefits of being your own unique self in the industry. So many writers censor who they really are because they’re afraid of how it might reflect on their careers or reputations. Chuck is a great example of how an authentic voice–with all its quirks and warped humor–will always trump a perfectly polished persona.

I’m so excited that Chuck will be speaking at Lit Loft. He’s taught me so much about the value of individuality, of embracing your weird quirky humor, and using it to connect with your readers in a powerful way. A character himself, Chuck will be speaking on crafting compelling characters.




Chuck Wendig will be speaking at LitLoft 2013.
Registration closes Thursday so sign up today!



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