English: Instruction manual of the Nirvana Sut...

English: Instruction manual of the Nirvana Sutra (大般涅槃経集解, daihatsunehankyōshūge) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi dear readers. I’ve been talking to one of my friends (and fellow author) about this and that and the other, and we got to talking about SELF-HELP books. As many of you know, understanding Amazon algorithms is beyond mere-mortals powers. Their categories are also puzzlement to me. I guess it might work out OK if you start writing with them in mind, but trying to fit in something already in existence to these categories, other than the more general ones, is interesting to say the least. You could always try with one of your favourite books and see how far you get.

I digress, as usual. My friend and I got looking at categories in self-help world and it’s as full of the weird and the wonderful as anywhere else there.

It made me think about one of my “issues”. Yes, I have many of them. You buy a camera; it comes with an instruction manual. Your phone, the same. Even pretty basic things. Life, that’s quite complicated by most people’s standards…nothing. No manual, no video, CD, DVD, no book of instructions. Not even a leaflet. Swim or sink approach.

In one of my short stories, ‘The Novel’ one of the characters, Denver, decides that life would be much easier if we lived it as a genre novel, because we’d know where we stood, understand conventions, characters, etc, and she has a good go at it. As you might suspect things don’t go according to plan. But it was worth a try, I think.

If suddenly you were given the task of creating an instruction manual for life (it would have to be pretty general, just the basics), what would you include? What would be in your table of contents?

And if you were sent one, what would you check first? Keeping healthy? Family relationships? Love? Income and finances? Gaining perspective? Surviving?

I’m curious. Let me know what you think, please.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoy or it makes you think, please, please, please, comment and share!