WRITING GUIDANCE material on website including full text novels (fantasy, SF and military SF), short stories (horror, fantasy and SF), writing advice, autobiographical material and blog entries on eg Islam. Site also includes full text of medical memoir CANCER PATIENT. This website by professional author Hugh Cook, aka Hugh Walter Gilbert Cook, author of the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS etc. Site also includes poetry and flash fiction.
Advice on elements of writing, including plot, some mechanical issues and the business of proofreading and editing. A compact guide to the art of writing fiction.
This section on writing guidance is incorporated in the literary miscellany THIS IS A PICTURE OF YOUR GOD: A HUGH COOK READER.
WRITING GUIDANCE section
("How to Write")
A FICTION TEMPLATE
Simple instructions for constructing a plot. A recipe, like a recipe for baking cookies. Some assembly required. Life experience is helpful: getting married, working on fishing trawlers, going to war, joining an organized crime gang, entering politics, living in a cardboard box for a couple of years, whatever. That said, this lean passage pretty much communicates what is teachable regarding plot construction. Read it and believe it. An expert writes.
BOY HAS ALREADY MET GIRL
A simple solution to handling the boy meets girl business.
PRACTICAL WRITING MECHANICS
Work habits, keeping track of work done, plot and promise. how many characters should there be? Managing transitions. Being satisfied with a simple straightforward workable sentence.
THE PLANET OR THE SHOE
A set of writing exercise. If you have total facility then you will learn nothing from this. If some things turn out to be easier than others then you may be able to extract a lesson from the experiment. If you cannot, then you cannot: the experiment is offered, but is not explained. Hint: to the extent that there is a message, the message can be extracted from the title, The Planet or the Shoe’.
PROOFREADING AND EDITING
A long and deeply serious look at proofreading and editing, over seven thousand words going into details of how to hunt for typos, how to edit so things make sense and how to tweak the text for style. Warning: your sense of good style is, ultimately, your own, and my stylistic notions may not be yours.