Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Writing Insights Part One: Becoming a Writer

I started writing my first novel when I was twelve years old. I was thirty-three when I completed my first rough draft. That’s twenty years of wanting to do something and not knowing how. Twenty years of failure and frustrations and giving up. A big part of the problem is that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know which questions to ask, much less who might have the answers. These days, people write to me as if I know what I’m doing. Or like I have a…

A Thread of Hope

Getting published is a wild ordeal. Let’s forget, for just a moment, the wacky adventure that writing a book can be… once you’re done with that, you’ll find yourself at the beginning of a path, not at the end. And where you want to go is over the horizon and out of sight. What you can see is hoards of people heading in that direction, many of them crawling, some of them prone–unmoving. Joining you at the beginning of that journey are a few happy travelers not yet broken by…

Post hoc learning

Over the past 20 years, I’ve begun and abandoned at least seven or eight books. Usually after a single day of writing. And these repeated failures had me convinced that writing a book is a mystical art practiced only by the lucky few. Either that, or I just didn’t have the correct tools. With a dream of publishing a book before I kick the bucket, I was always on the look-out for some tricky program to learn that might give me a boost. There are tons of them out there,…

Books aren’t written, they’re edited.

Looking back and forth between my original draft and my current manuscript seems to bear this out. The former was a story, fit to be heard, but not read. If we still lived in the age of Oral Tradition, I’d have released the bugger unchanged and relied on future bards to tweak the nonsense into perfection. However, the legacy of Gutenberg means that there will be ONE copy that goes to print. The thing has to be golden. And that requires a team. The first person to join me in…

Approaching limits, and not asymptotically.

There’s a lot of satisfaction in studying Molly Fyde. The more I read about her, her companions, and their exploits… the better I feel I know them. Every fact, diary entry, battle report, psychological review, transcribed log, map, photograph and schematic snaps perfectly together, gradually revealing a vista that is breathtaking in parts, heartbreaking in others, and inspirational all over. I’m taking a fractured reality and making it a perfect whole again. As I study up on how best to present the fruits of my labors, I experience a different…