Palahniuk has stated that the book was inspired by an actual fight he had while on a camping trip. He returned to work with bruises, but his co-workers never asked what had happened. This seeming reluctance to know the details of his private life inspired him to write the novel.
Palahniuk originally conceived of Fight Club as a short story. This short story would go on to become what is now the sixth chapter of the novel. Following the publication of the short story in the compilation The Pursuit Of Happiness in 1995, Palahniuk approached the same publisher which initially rejected a draft of Invisible Monsters. Though he was not expecting the publisher to accept Fight Club, he was surprised to find that there was interest. The novel was published in 1996 and Palahniuk was soon approached by Twentieth Century Fox to adapt the book for film.
In 1999, a film adaptation of the book, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton and directed by David Fincher, was released. The film's cult following would in turn propel Palahniuk's writing career.