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 

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#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.

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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.

#GrammarSeries – Here’s how to improve your grammar

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Learning to write good English can be a slow process. Every time you think you have written a word-perfect piece, someone points out a mistake or mistakes you just didn’t see anything wrong with. 

Not anymore, here are a few ways to improve your grammar. 

Read as much as you can

In today’s world, many people prefer reading blogs, posts on social media and chats to good books. If you want to write better, read newspapers, magazines, reports and materials in your niche area. This will give you a better understanding of grammar and how not to write. 

Avoid those slangs

We know you want to look and sound cool but those slangs will not help your written or spoken English. Be careful not to allow slangs to creep into your written work. Words such as ‘innit’ and ‘dunno’ are not considered proper English grammar, and should not find their way into formal written communications.

Find a personal/ online tutor

If your written English is pretty bad, you may need to employ the services of a teacher to help you brush up your skills or learn online. Learn about sentence structure, punctuation, proper spelling and much more.  

For online assistance you can check SpellCheckOnline.com ,  WordReference.com  or OxfordDictionaries.com 

#PickOfTheWeek – Is this love?

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Hey Sparkle Writers and welcome to another amazing #PickOfTheWeek segment on the blog today. 

We are super excited to show you what we’ve got partly because we are featuring new writers! The other reason will be revealed later. 

Here they are. 

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The first is by Anita and you can tell that it was one of the posts that inspired today’s title. What do you call this, love? 

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This one is everything and should be the reply you give if you’re being taken for granted on the account of love. Love should not make you loose your mind. You should know when you’re not being treated right. 

farmto table (1) We love, love love this one. Many times, whether in love or everyday life some of us miss some great things because we have a fixated mindset of how things are supposed to play out. It doesn’t always happen that way.

farmto table Thank you scribbling introvert for this. Sometimes love is so deep that you look for different ways to express it. 

 

Social media myths every blogger should get rid of

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Every blogger knows that social media cannot be avoided especially if you want to be successful as a  blogger. There are however a few myths about social media that you need to take note of. We shared four of such myths in this post. 

Social media is cheap or free. 

Now this is quite tricky because it is true that so many social media sites are free. The same applies to a number of social media management tools but you must know that although they don’t cost money, they cost time (time is money). One way or the other, you’d have to pay for it. Think about the money you spend buying data in the first place. 

You can make a big splash really quickly. 

No you can’t. There are a few people who seem to ‘make it big’ quickly but it does not work that way for everyone. Don’t expect your blog or social media page to become a sensation from one minute to the next. It takes a lot of time and dedication to keeping your content fresh which is one of the things that attracts growth. 

You can’t build quality relationships online. 

This is not true. Many people have built quality relationships online. The Sparkle Writers Hub is a testament of this. Through our writing blog, we have successfully built relationships with writers, authors, book publishers amongst others. As long as you are ready to groom the relationship offline, then it is worth it. Business relationships can be built on social media; let no one tell you otherwise.

It gives away content and ideas you should be charging for. 

Simply put: The more you give, the more you receive on social media. You need to let go of the idea that all the content you produce is proprietary. Engage with your audience, and encourage them to share what you’ve created.

 

#WordOfTheDay – This is what Parlous means

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Hey Sparkle Writers, we have another word that would sure interest you. We bet your new story will come alive if you use it. 

The word is Parlous and is pronounced as /pär-ləs \.

Parlous is an adverb and could mean full of danger or uncertainty. It could also mean greatly or excessively.

Here are a few words that are similar in meaning to parlous: Bad, dreadful, frightful, grave, uncertain

 Let’s use this word in a few sentences. 
The company is in a parlous financial situation. 
He talked about the parlous state of the country
Now make your own sentences and share them with us in the comment section.