Everything you should know about this fiction masterclass + a 5% discount!

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Hey Sparkle Writers! If you’ve wondered how to write the perfect dialogue or create scenes and characters that keep your readers spell bound, we’ve got the right answer. 

Abimbola Dare, an author of two bestselling books, The Accidental Wife and The Small Print, will be hosting a one-day fiction masterclass on how to: 

  • Write dialogue that sizzles 
  • Build scenes and characters
  • Create suspense and infuse mind blowing plot twist

There will also be a question and answer segment on how to get your books published. Isn’t that great? 

As if that’s not enough, everyone who registers from The Sparkle Writer’s Hub will get a 5% discount! 

HERE ARE THE DETAILS OF THE MASTER CLASS

DATE: Saturday, May 27th 2018

FEE : N 15, 000  (with a 5% discount if you register from us) 

VENUE : Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja Lagos. 

To register, click here 

#WriterSpotlight – ‘The story might have been told but has never been told from your own perspective.’ – Caleb Ihuarulam

 

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Thursdays on The Sparkle Writers Hub are for meeting amazing writers and authors. Today we have Caleb who started writing when he was eleven years old and has grown his skill consciously. There’s so much to learn from him. 

Hello please introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m Caleb Ihuarulam, but I write under the pseudonym Chuks Kelly Casper, preferably abbreviated as Chuks C.K. Reasons being that my surname is hard to pronounce and I wanted to create a brand for my more artistic and expressive inclinations. Ihuarulam Caleb is for the scientific since I was originally a science student.

When and why did you start wiring?

I started writing when I was eleven years old. As a matter of fact, writing was the first real thing I remember doing as a young person, apart from reading of course.  I wrote two plays, both of which got missing somehow. I still regret that. I have thought for like forever to remember what a tender me would have written about. I didn’t start out with anything in mind at that young age. However, as I grew, I discovered that I had this knack for being brutally blunt when I wrote what I wanted to say instead of actually saying it. I was an introvert and I wanted people to hear what I was saying but not necessarily seeing me.  Then it progressed to this tool I used to relieve depression and anger to what I used to enjoy my happy moments.

As I grew further, I discovered that people were willing to listen to what I had to say. I loved to guide, to teach, to inform and empathize with people even if I was still learning emotional expression.  Today, I write because I want to inform, I want to guide. I write because I want to paint real life pictures with words, not just the way I see it, but the way they really are. I want to show people the hidden perspective that they are not really seeing; whether it is humorous or serious.  In one word, I write to inform.

Writing one book is already a huge task but to have published four is a feat. Take us through the process of writing and publishing as you’ve experienced it.

As a young person in Nigeria who wants to write full time, depending on your family, you are everything your parents are praying against. Even if they see it as a noble act, they do not just want to deal with the fact that one of their own wants to take such risk with their lives. I guess that the whole picture and perception changes when an issue hits you personally. They have more stories of failed writers than successful ones. The journey has been exhilarating. I have enjoyed every bit of my development as a writer and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Of course, it isn’t short of its challenges. I’ve been discouraged and have considered given up. Sometimes when I see very illustrious works, I ask myself if what I am so anxious to say has any meaning. Sometimes, I fall into the danger of trying to compare myself to my role models. I want to use expressions like they are using them but eventually I give up because I can’t maintain it.  The biggest challenge I have faced and am still facing is trying to get a paperback edition of my own book.

The message that publishers send to you after reviewing your work is so demoralising that you begin to ask yourself why you started writing in the first place. The rejection is carefully crafted in literary beauty. It’s like putting a needle in a cake icing. In the end, a rejection is still a rejection, especially when you don’t have the means to self publish.

Thank God for platforms like Okada books, but who markets your books? How does it get out there? At some point, you need your skill to bring in some financial remuneration. You need encouragement to continue. You can’t write when you are hungry no matter how purpose driven you are. You will be stuck.

In all, it is a mixed feeling but every success story has a difficult period. That is one thing that has kept me going. When the time is right, success will come. Outside that, you can’t stop trying.

Actually, “Social Wahala” is a short story as well as “Tasty Tom”. “In Defence of the weak man” is my assault on gender roles. Writing was enjoyable and I published using the Okada books platform. Those were relatively straight forward. However, I have completed two novels “Teenage Induction” and “Beyond the Shadows” which I want to publish in paperback. I also have a play/drama titled ‘Walking Mouths’. It is a work in progress and I intend to update it every week.

Walking Mouth

“Teenage induction” is the first novel I started out to write. In Teenage Induction, I carefully wrote about the experiences of a teenage boy and I had to take great effort to make sure that the ideas I portrayed there were empirically correct. It took me about eighteen months to write with a six months period of barrenness or writer’s block as you referred to it in your blog. I actually finished my second book before returning to complete the first one.

I wrote ‘Beyond the shadows’ in 35 days, nearly four hours of writing everyday because I wanted to avoid the writer’s block I experienced in ‘Teenage Induction’. I try to take people on a journey of what goes inside the mind of a rape victim. The emotions and motives that drive her activities. I looked at actions and consequences for most of the characters in the book.

‘Walking Mouths’ is a play talking about gossips in its different forms. From the market rumour, to the barbing saloon gist. It will cover everything and everywhere gossiping or ‘aproko’ takes place.

The publishing journey is nearly as hard as writing the book in itself. I have submitted to about five publishers with a few rejections. However I am hoping that I will launch both books in June/July through self publishing.

In defence of The Weak man

Which book was the easiest to write and why?

The easiest was Social Wahala. It was easier because it was short and straight to the point. I didn’t have to think too far to craft the story. The hardest was Teenage Induction. At some point, I thought I was never going to complete it.

Aside from writing what else would you want to be known for?

Aside from writing, I want to be known as an entrepreneur and a mentor.

As a writer, where do you see yourself in years to come?

As a writer, in years to come, I see myself winning awards and being recognised for being a writer. Most importantly though, I want to be a household name because of how my works has helped to uplift people. I want to be seen as a writer who touches people with words.

You started writing at a young age, how have you been able to grow your skill since that time?

Starting at a very young age, there really was no official method for learning how to write so I just read and wrote. Whenever I come across an expression that I love, I pause and underline, or write it out. Even if I don’t return to view them; which I do all the time, the important things stick with me.

Also, I have this scientific approach to learning how to write. I spend hours getting to the root of various expressions, contexts, colloquial expressions and words. I give myself the opportunity to be creative with words and expressions when I write. The most important one is that when I write, I am not afraid to get feedbacks. I show people who are proven readers and take their feedbacks sincerely. That has helped me grow. Recently, I started taking writing courses, addressing my recognized areas of deficiency. That has helped me immensely too.

What advice would you give to a budding writer?

To budding writers, the most important advices are 1. Keep writing, never stop. 2. Find the purpose why you are writing and stick to it. It will keep you when nearly everything fails. The story might have been told but has never been told from your own perspective. If you don’t tell it, who will?

What do you love about the Sparkle Writers Hub?

Sparkle writers hub is amazing. Looking at the work they have done and are doing, I can’t help but be in awe of them. I love that they are there, encouraging and training writers. For me, that training is the most important thing we need in Nigerian literary space at the moment. Kudos Sparkle Writers hub; you rock! 

#WordOfTheDay – Newfangled is one word

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Today’s word sounds very attractive right? What could it mean? Before we tell you the meaning, let’s go back into history. 

Newfangled is actually a pretty old word. It dates all the way back to the 15th century, and likely developed from a combination of the Middle English newe, meaning new, and the Old English fangol, from a verb meaning “to take.

Now can you guess what it means? 

Newfangled means attracted to novelty or the newest style or kind of a thing. Don’t make a mistake of writing new fangled. It is Newfangled

Here are a few synonyms of this word; Ultra modern, new, contemporary, fashionable

Look at this word in a few examples and be sure to form your own sentences

  1. My grandson owns all of the latest newfangled electronics.

  2. I don’t understand the newfangled speech used by teenagers

#WritingQuote – Figure out what you have to say. That’s what you have to offer.

 

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.Barbara Kingsolver

Do you constantly feel the need to conform to people’s opinion of what you should write? Do you feel intimidated when someone says, “That character is too controversial” or “This chapter should be more dramatic.” If you do then this is for you.

Say for example, you love to write poetry but you are thinking of switching to prose or drama because you think it’s more popular. This move may seem logical but could be very detrimental. Strength lies in differences, not similarities and success stems from your passion and patience to see your dreams through.  

Everyone has a story, a source of inspiration, a writing style. So, never feel the need to conform or be like someone else because you are unique. You are different.

Trusting your individual uniqueness challenges you to lay yourself open and write as your heart truly speaks. Many of the accomplished and widely celebrated writers in the world are known for their distinct writing styles.

Taking correction is a very healthy thing to do. But you must ensure you do not water down the value of your essence as a writer. You do not need to be like anyone else.

Stay true to yourself. Only then can you be peculiar. Only then can you be YOU!

 

#GrammarSeries – Do you say a myriad of or just myriad?

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There are a few words we still need to learn to use properly. These words are what cause arguments among grammarians and writers.

For example, is it correct to say, “The forest contains myriad species” or “The forest contains a myriad of species.” The argument is usually that myraid is an adjective equivalent to a number and since you cannot say “there are a ten thousand of species,”  you shouldn’t say, “There are a myriad of species.”

Would you be surprised if we told you that most language experts believe both ways are fine?  

Myriad was actually used as a noun in English long before it was used as an adjective, and today it’s considered both a noun and an adjective, which means it can be used with an ‘a’ before it (as a noun) or without an ‘a’ before it (as an adjective).

 

 

#PickOfTheWeek – What do imperfections and beauty have in common?

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If you are new to the hub then it is important that we welcome you to one of our favorite segments, the #PickOfTheWeek . Here we feature four amazing writers from instagram and talk about why we loved their piece.

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This piece by Folajin Temitope is wisdom. Many times we are allow our faults and flaws restrict us from greatness. We remind ourselves of our imperfections and give them the power to cripple us. Not anymore. 

 

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Trust us when we say we were tempted to smile on this one. Be careful what you wish for though, you just may realize that you couldn’t handle it. ‘

 

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First, we’d like to say thank you @rockcalvary for lending your voice to this cause and raising awareness about it. This post reveals one of the major reasons why rape happens in the society. Trusting the wrong people. 

 

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When the writer of this particular piece sent us a message on instagram, we knew we had to feature her work. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for capturing some of the amazing qualities of the black person. 

3 Ways to overcome writing challenges

Being a writer is a wonderful experience, but there are some challenges which I face on a daily basis. Here are three writing challenges which I often experience, and how I overcome them:

CHALLENGE 1: Poor internet connectivity.

SOLUTION: Schedule/plan posts in advance.

Being a writer in Nigeria who uses social media to share my work means that I am always at the mercy of the internet service providers that I use, whose quality of services are at best, average. If you want to make me happy, just whisper the words ‘free Wi-Fi’ to me! I suspect that my wedding vows would include ‘for better, for worse, for free Wi-Fi connectivity…’

I deal with this issue by planning my posts at least a few weeks in advance, and I have learned that for a lot of providers, the internet quality is better in the early hours of the morning. So please, don’t judge me too harshly if there are bags under my eyes; blame the internet quality by my service providers.

Dealing with this issue gives me more time to focus on writing, and reduces the time I spend frowning at my phone when the internet service is too slow for my liking.

 

CHALLENGE 2: Writer’s block.

SOLUTION: Don’t stop writing.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re complaining that you have writer’s block, and I’m saying that the solution to this problem is to keep writing? Please don’t close this page out of annoyance; just keep reading to get my point.

If there is something which I have learned from writing for almost two and a half years, it is that no piece of writing is useless. I have turned half-written stories into poems, and I have turned a poem into one of the first essays which I wrote for another website.

If you’re stuck in one part of a story that you are writing, move on to another part of the story. What happens after that scene? Describe what the main character had for breakfast. What subjects did the character write in his or her WAEC exams? Eventually, the story will get unstuck and you can get on with writing your prize-winning novel, or at least a story that gets a lot of likes on your blog.

 

CHALLENGE 3: Negative feedback.

SOLUTION: Analyse the feedback, and remember the purpose for your writing.

On my blog, someone once commented that the way I wrote a poem was not how a poem should be written. The poem however got a lot of likes, which meant that for me, the poem had resonated with people, so it had achieved its intended purpose.

Corrections about grammatical errors aren’t bad; however, rude comments which personally attack you and your writing are the worst.

So what can you do about this?

First of all, if people are giving you feedback, it means that they are reading your work, which is awesome! Next, if you are getting constructive criticism about your writing (for instance, being told to use more paragraphs so that your work is easier to read), you can take it on board since it helps your work to be easier to read and therefore attract more readers.

When submitting a story for a contest, for publication on a platform with a wide audience or before publishing a book, I always get one or two people to read my work first so I can get feedback which I can choose to accept or dismiss, depending on if I believe such feedback improves my work.

I have grown as a writer since I first started this journey, so I know that as I navigate through the above challenges, my writing will keep improving and more people will enjoy reading my work.

I hope this has been helpful to writers out there!

About the writer:

Ivie Eke is a writer who daydreams about constant electricity in Nigeria and mangoes. She writes poetry, stories and essays on her blog, http://www.classicallyivy.com and is the author of two books, ‘Looking for myself and my phone charger’ and ‘Walking On Eggshells’, both available on Okada Books and Amazon.

 

 

 

3 questions to ask before reviving your blog

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If you follow our blogging series then you’d know how we advocate for writers to have their own blog. Blogging is fun and when done the right way, it can yield amazing results. However, if your blog has been dormant for a while there are a few questions you may need to ask yourself. 

Do I still enjoy blogging?

Why devote time and energy trying to revive a blog when you do not enjoy blogging? Maybe you did it because you liked what other bloggers were doing but you need to be honest with yourself. 

Patiently allow your true motives to arise. If you genuinely love blogging then you can consider reviving it. 

What commitment can you make?

Depending on your schedule, you have to ask yourself the kind of attention and energy you can devote to your blog.

Some bloggers run successful businesses currently and simply cannot take on new projects. Other bloggers work full time and cannot give the proper attention and energy to blogging in order to grow a thriving, full time venture.

Be honest. There’s no need resurrecting a blog you cannot commit to 100%.

Does the niche still exist?

Assess it, is your niche still relevant or do you need to evaluate things? 

Imagine trying to resurrect a blog focused on typewriting for businesses. There’s no way that blog can succeed Niches like personal development, writing, and travel pretty much work now, and forever, as long as human beings exist. People want help improving their lives by improving themselves.

#WriterSpotlight – “Your followers won’t come overnight. Originality will bring them to you, but consistency will keep them with you.” Abiola Adebola

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Hey Sparkle Writers! It’s Thursday and you know what that means. It’s time to meet another amazing writer! Today, we have Abiola Adebola as our guest and we really enjoyed our chat with him. There are lots of useful nuggets to gain from today’s Writer Spotlight on The Sparkle Writer’s Hub. Enjoy!

Hello Abiola, kindly introduce yourself.

My name is Abiola Abdullateef Adebola (Abiola AA). I am a Dramatic Arts graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University. I am a freelance writer, a PR strategist, an actor and a director.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I fell in love with writing as a kid. I was always alone, so writing just kind of became my way of handling my emotions. I think I pretty much made up my mind to be a writer back then.

How has the journey been so far?

Good, mostly rough but that’s why it’s been good. I have enjoyed the challenges, the setbacks, but then I have had very good friends who have encouraged me to go all the way. God really blessed me with amazing friends.

You studied dramatic arts in school, how did that help your writing skill?

It helped in a way I guess, though I majored in Directing in my final year, but I have always paid more attention to the playwrights who were my lecturers. They had a great impact on my writing career.

You mentioned that you are also a script writer. Can you tell us how that different from regular writing?

I enjoy both. I enjoy creating lines for characters, and I also enjoy the freedom that comes with writing prose, not having to create discussions between actors. At the end of the day, you are telling a story in both cases, just different techniques being used.

Congratulations on the launch of your book ‘Catharsis‘. Why did you decide to write a book that bares it all?

I was going through a lot of things when I started writing Catharsis. I had just lost a movie deal that was going to change my life, my brother’s health was deteriorating, my mum was very sad and I was very sad. I wrote the book in less than a month. I was that down at that moment and it was the only thing I could think of doing. I just had to purge it all. I had too much pain in my system, and too much ‘nature’ too. If I didn’t bare it all out, who knows what I would have done to myself.

In one of your Instagram posts you talked about how stressful the process of writing this book was. Could you tell us some of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them?

It was more of an emotional stress. I was scared that people may judge me for the things I wrote in Chapter 3, that my mum may see it and she may be disappointed in me, you know how African parents are. I was also worried about the literary critics, those who may say the book is too short to be a book, those who may not understand that I have no interest in the rules. Lastly, I didn’t think I was big enough to write an autobiography, like who am I to write about myself? So how did I overcome these fears? I decided to damn the consequences and put my story out there. Thank God I did.

abiola aa chataris BOOK COVER

What major lessons have you learnt since you published your book?

Take risks, take a lot of risks, do things your own way, the world will adjust. Donald Trump is President of the United States of America. Anything is possible.

What has the response been since you launched Catharsis?

It’s been amazing. I expected judgment and criticism, considering the kind of society we live in, but people concentrated on my story, and not my mistakes. Even my mum ended up reading the whole book. Despite the fact that I tore the pages of Chapter 3 from the copy I gave her, she still found a way to read the whole thing, and she didn’t judge me. She didn’t scold me. She understood, and she chose to encourage me. That has to be the best thing that’s happened to me all my life.

What impact will the book have on readers?

Owning your truth, and harnessing it. You don’t have to look like where you are from or what you have been through. The sun will rise again if you keep fighting.

Many writers struggle to get a good following but you have managed to overcome that. Can you tell us a few things every budding writer needs in order to build a strong presence online?

I think a lot of writers stopped writing because of the size of their audience, that’s sad. Your followers won’t come overnight. Originality will bring them to you, but consistency will keep them with you. I took a lot of online social media courses which helped me capture my target audience. I am a PR strategist like I mentioned earlier, so it’s my job to build brands.

As a writer, where do you see yourself in years to come?

I want to make Catharsis a movie, a timeless one. I want to write more books, non-fiction mostly. I want to help a lot of people write their stories. I also want to help writers gain more respect here in Nigeria. In years to come, I want to look back and see that these dreams have come true.

Where can readers get a copy of your book?

You can purchase a hard copy directly from me. You can also go on Okadabooks to get a soft copy. If you are in the US, UK, Canada, you can order from Amazon.com.

#WordOfTheDay – Learn what canorous means

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Hello Sparkle Writers! We are back with another word for you to learn. Ever heard of canorous before? We stumbled on it on Oxford’s weird word list and we are still not sure why they consider it a weird word. 

Canorous /kəˈnɔːrəs/ is an adjective that can be used to describe a song or speech as melodious or resonant. For example:

Nightingales are canorous birds.

Belting out a canorous tune, the singer’s beautiful voice seemed to entrance everyone around.

Giving a canorous speech to the attentive crowd, the speaker’s voice carried beautifully throughout the arena.

Here are a few words that are similar in meaning to canorous: melodious, pleasant, harmonious, clear, soft.

Now make your own sentences with this word.