Writing quote: “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”

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 “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” – Doris Lessing 

If anyone ever ever told you that you can only write in a certain way they are not speaking the truth. 

Writing novels should never look like a chore or bore you because you do not have to follow a particular pattern or write like another novelist to get your own audience.

That’s the thing about them; the more creative your novel is the better for all of us. You set the laws for your novel – how you want it to start, progress and how you want it to end. As long as it makes sense to your readers the rest of the world has no choice but to go with it. Novelist write stories that they wish they could find on the shelf, stories that keep circling in their head, the ones that make them smile in the midst of a large audience. 

Writing novels and following ‘rules’ will restrict you. As long as you are a writer you must commit to giving your best to your readers every time you pick up a pen. No excuses, no going back. 

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#WritingQuote – “To write is human to edit is divine.”

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“To write is human, to edit is divine.”-  Stephen King 

Everybody can write. That’s the absolute truth but your level of editing skills will make or mar your writing. 

When we pour out our hearts on paper we must always remember that it is a first draft and no matter how good it looks, it can be re-written to become much better. 

It is only amateur writers that would write and not bother to check for typos, punctuation and clarity of ideas in any piece. Failure to do so will affect the quality of your work and how you are perceived as a writer. 

Writers are detailed and diligent people. Don’t give your readers a wrong impression about you because of the quality of your work. When next you write, take out time to look carefully and edit where necessary!

#PickOfTheWeek – A little bit of everything

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Hey Sparkle Writers! It’s Tuesday and as you know on the hub time to feature amazing peices  from writers who tag us on instagram. 

Today’s posts are from a little bit of everything.  Ceejay Eze speaks on anger. We are not sure we agree with what he says here but then it’s his view and we want to know what you think. farmto table (1)

We love this one by Maryann Okoli. It doesn’t make sense to give up on who you want to be because some people can’t understand what you are doing or who you are trying to become. 

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Thank you Sensei Fawx for speaking the truth. Before we talk about our colour, race, tribe or religious affinity we are first human. If we remember that, we’d treat the next person to us much better. farmto table (3)    Muhamad Solati speaks the truth with this one! Until we connect our pen to heart our voice will just be an echo. farmto table (4).png 

If you would like to be featured on Pick of the Week, don’t forget to tag @thesparklewritershub on Instagram.

The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare or J.K Rowling, it needs you!

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Shakespeare, J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Jeff Goins, Ernest Hemingway – we admire their work, we marvel at their creativity and definitely want to read more from them. What we don’t want is to read another person who is failing at trying to sound or write like they do! Nope we are not interested. 

Writing is simple; it is about looking at the world and saying what you see. If you are trying to say what someone else sees you will struggle for the most part of it. 

One sure way to ruin all your chances of becoming a good writer is by trying to be someone you’re not. The reason that you’re intimidated by other writers is probably because you think you need to become like them to be a good writer. Absolutely not. 

You might be thinking that the best way to get to the top of the writing ladder is to read about the daily routines of Dickens and the like and to follow their every step. You might be thinking that you need to read all the classical literature you can find and follow every single element of their writing styles. At best that will only get you to a wear a mask. No matter how accurately you can copy the writing styles of the great wordsmiths, you still won’t be as good as the original. People will see through the fraud that you’ll become. You won’t become a trendsetting phenomenon in the writing world.

The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare. The world needs something new, original, and authentic. And the only way you can bring in something new into the world is if you show the unique way in which you see your world.

The world is waiting for the manifestation of your talent! 

Your book cover design will be splendid if you read this!

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Many more writers are considering the idea of documenting their ideas in form of books which is great. The problem, however, is the rise in substandard book cover designs. You do not have to dig a hole in your pocket before you get a design that will make you stand out. 

A poorly-designed cover tells the book reading public that you didn’t care enough about your work to make a good first impression. That’s not the kind of impression you want to give.

Here are a few things to take note of;

Use Eye-Catching Original Design

The last thing you should do is go to the internet and pick get the first picture that looks like what your book talks about. Apart from you running the risk of being sued for piracy you will come off to your readers as lazy and make the cover page look like an afterthought. 

First impression matters. 

Hire the best book designer you can afford. Talk to people who have experience in designing book covers. A general graphic designer won’t know how to place text and photos or illustrations for maximum impact. Make sure the image used conveys the message in the book and while you are at it make sure it is appealing.

Find the right typography

You may not know this but the text used for your book cover also affects the general look and feel. Don’t be quick to use Times New Roman or Arial as your book cover text. 

A designer will experiment with fonts sizes to see what looks right to the wandering eye; more specifically, your target market. You don’t want to use a font and colour that won’t blend in with the background visuals, rendering the title illegible.

The font style you use should be a mix of sharp, professional, and eye-catching styles.

 

 

#WriterSpotlight – “I hope that through my work, the world will understand love, practice kindness and experience peace.” Ibe Blessing

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With every writer, there is fresh insight, undiluted truth and wisdom for ages. Blessing’s interview is not any different. This is #WriterSpotlight. Enjoy! 

Hello Blessing, please introduce yourself.

I am Ibe Blessing Chiamaka, a medical student of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state. I hail from Imo State.

How long have you been writing for and what have you learnt in these years?

I have always been writing since secondary school days although it was neither consistent nor fantastic. However, I actively picked up writing sometime last year and it peaked during the African Writers’ February steps. Before now, my major excuses for not writing were lack of time and things to write about. So far, I have come to an understanding that I have all the time I need only if I can spend less time on frivolities. Again and more importantly, I have learnt to see everything around me as a potential subject for my write-ups. Indeed, what to write about is everywhere around.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

While growing up, my mom bought us books pertaining to assorted areas of life. As the days rolled by, I discovered that my thoughts and ideologies formed on the basis of things I read about. Those words spurred in me desires, passions and hopes. The power in those words left me with no option than to propel myself towards who and what I  wanted to be.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I really can’t say my inspiration comes from anything specifically because most times any object, person or situation can quicken my emotions and intellect enough to make me write.

You seem to love sharing your work on Instagram, what inspired it?

My love for sharing my work on Instagram started during the February steps organised by African Writers. Prior to that time, I was not active on Instagram since I didn’t take lots of pictures but posting my work on Instagram exposed me to a novel idea of combining pictures with write ups. I loved the creativity and the audience it attracted.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

I am greatly skilled in the act of procrastination and I am abysmally willing to give it up in order to be a better writer.

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Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I enjoy crafts, cooking and reading.

Have you ever been rejected as a writer, if yes please tell us about it.

I  have not experienced much of rejections especially because I’ve not been submitting my write-up for publications but one experience that I can remember happened during my secondary school days. I was selected to participate in an essay competition. Truthfully, I gave my time and energy to writing it. I met several superiors to proofread it, I made corrections over and over again and I was certain to at least come out successful after all I had come out tops in more challenging ones that I least prepared for. But then, not only did I not come out tops, I got a ridiculous score that made me have an utmost dislike for those figures for a while. I could not fathom what mistake(s) I made that warranted such a sad score. I decided never to participate in other competitions and immediately concluded that I wasn’t just good enough for the whole ‘writing thing’. Fortunately, I did not wear the sad demeanour for as long  as I thought I would. The reason is simple. I was stuffed with encouragement from everyone and everything. Every word seemed to replace a unit of sadness with the extra words floating on the new happiness I had acquired.

What is your ultimate dream as a writer?

I hope that through my work, the world will understand love, practice kindness and experience peace.

How has your writing evolved over the years, did you do anything specific to make improvements? If yes, please share with us.

I think my writing has increased in dimensions, originality and creativity because I wrote more often, learnt from works of other writers and availed myself opportunities of joining groups where I could learn more about writing.

Do you Google yourself? Please tell us why?

Yes, I do that sometimes chiefly out of curiosity about what information the world has  about me.

If you could be anything in the world, what would that be?

I honestly would still love to be me.

If you know any writer who you feel should be featured on our #WriterSpotlight segment or you are that writer, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. 

 

 

What’s the big deal about creativity?

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Today, we are going to talk about something very crucial; something you cannot do without as a writer and that is creativity. Ever been to an art exhibition or a book reading? What is it that you appreciate about these events – yeah, the CREATIVITY. You appreciate the creativity in each of the paintings or the creativity in the way the writer of the book has crafted the words in such a manner as to convey his message in a succinct and striking way. Creativity has an uncanny ability to pull the reader into your world has a writer. Creativity is a transformational skill that writers should not leave behind in their writing. Make conscious efforts to be creative.

Creativity has an uncanny ability to pull the reader into your world has a writer. Creativity is a transformational skill that writers should not leave behind in their writing. Make conscious efforts to be creative.

For a moment here, we would like to define what it means to be creative. Creativity is not necessarily writing words that have never been written before. Rather, it is saying the same thing in a novel way such that your readers can see the same picture they have always seen from a different perspective.

One way in which writers can be creative is in the infusion of metaphors in their writing. Well, for those who are not very familiar with literature and what figures of speech are all about, metaphors are ways of making strong comparisons between two often unrelated concepts. So, for example, if you want to describe the concept of Love, for instance, you might say that LOVE IS A BATTLE. Here, you are comparing the abstract concept of love with the physical concept of a battle so that your audience will immediately get your ideological point of view of what Love is to you in particular.

Creativity could also occur in diverse ways such as the manner of ordering or the arranging your words in your narrative or in any piece of writing; it is using the same words in such a way that it causes your audience to see things from another perspective and if possible have an epiphany.

We do hope that this article will help you get your creative juices flowing.

#WriterSpotlight – “I’m putting in more time and more effort so my work will not be taken for granted.” Igbor Clement

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Welcome to another interview series with The Sparkle Writers Hub. Our guest writer is doing so much with arts and we can’t wait to learn from him. 

Hello Clement. Can you please describe yourself in a few words?

I’m Igbor Clement, popularly known by my stage name Clemency Green and online alias ThatPoetClem. I’m a writer, poet, lyricist, event compere, fashion model and a medical student.

You are a poet and spoken word artist. How did you develop a passion for these two things?

Poetry and spoken word are one and the same. Poetry has a wide variety of forms. Spoken word poetry is simply a kind of poetry that is said out loud. I started writing poetry from my early childhood. I still have poems from my junior secondary school days. I grew up a voracious reader thanks to my parents. My dad has this mighty bookshelf and endless stacks of vintage magazines. My mum teaches literature and I took interest in it as a child (I still read her books). I write prose too. I used to run a number of blogs when I had more time. I still contribute to and serve as an editor for some print and online publications.

I took up spoken word as a profession sometime in 2013. In 2014, I contested in a War Of Words National Poetry Slam and finished 3rd. Since then, I’ve gone on to grace countless stages and feature on several radio and TV shows. I released my “official” debut track this year titled “Scars”, and I’m currently working on my E. P. alongside a poetry chapbook.

It is one thing to write poems, it is another to perform it for others to enjoy. What skills have you learnt because of spoken word?

I agree, writing is one thing and performance is another. However, it starts with the writing. My content has to be very good so I’m constantly editing and re-editing and exploring more and more literary devices. As a performer, I have to bring the words to life before the audience and a lot of work goes into that as well.  I have to rehearse regularly; movement, expressions, voice projection, modulation etc. My meagre background in Theatre helps a lot. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of event hosting and MC-ing and it helps to boost my crowd appeal and confidence.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My emotions. Anything that can make me feel, can make me write. Since there are countless things I can feel, there’s almost no limit to what I can write about. However, most of the work I share are about things that affect not just me but others as well.

Did you face any challenges in your journey and how were you able to overcome them?

A lot. Combining writing, performing and my other interests with pursuing a Medical Degree hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to learn how to my manage my time very well because sometimes, it’s a luxury.

Challenges like funding. The spoken word “industry” is still growing so artists are not paid much if they are paid at all. And we need the money. Planning shows, attending shows, recording audio, shooting videos and other media takes a lot of money.

Promoting poetry and spoken word has also not been easy but we’ve been pushing, putting the word out there as much as we can.

What do you love most about what you do?

Like I say in one of my pieces, “…the ills that come undone when I drop the mic (pen) and say ‘I’m done'”.

As a creative person, what are some of your frustrations with the way art is viewed in Nigeria?

It’s not encouraged as much as it should. That’s why no one tells their parents they want to be writers, poets or artists. There would be serious worries about your future. Nigerians do not appreciate art and literature as much as they should, especially financially. Also, the government and corporate bodies hardly give support because it’s not popular enough.

Creative people are more often than not taken for granted because people do not understand the amount of time and effort they put in their work. What do you think can be done to change this?

I’m thinking too, what can be done? You can’t take everybody through the creative process to see how hard it is. The work just has to speak for itself. I’m putting in more time and more effort so my work will not be taken for granted. Also, you have to value your art for it to be valued too. A lot has to go into branding and promoting as well.

What is the most important lesson writing has taught you?

Never underestimate the power of words. A writer is a very powerful person and that power should be well utilized. I’ve had feedback and testimonies that I never expected.

What advice do you have for people who know that they have a message to share but fear keeps holding them back?

Inertia. I never understood that term in Basic Physics, but it makes sense now. You just have to start. Anyhow, anywhere, just start. Put that pen to paper, grab your keypads, climb that stage, grab that mic, just start! It keeps getting better after you’ve crossed the Rubicon.

 

If you know any writer who you feel should be featured on our #WriterSpotlight segment or you are that writer, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. 

#Writing Quote – “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper”

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“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper” – E.B White, Author of Stuart Little

The harsh truth is that there will never be “ideal conditions” to write the way you have fantasized about writing. There will always be challenges you have to face. These challenges are what makes your story as a writer interesting.

There will never be perfect conditions for writing that book you have always wanted to write. Ask writers who have successfully published a book. Yeah, we know you want to develop yourself and hone your writing skills so you can put words together perfectly, we know you want to wait till you get that brand new laptop you have been waiting for, we know you want to wait till you own a website before writing. And all of these things are good. However, do not make them your excuses for not writing.

Seriously dear writer, time is ticking. And even if you get all of these things you so crave for, something else will come up and it will be an endless cycle of waiting until you realize that you and time are no longer buddies.

Today’s quote is spot on. Stop waiting for ideal conditions. That is a mirage. Start with what you have right now (yes, even if it is just a pen and a paper); start where you are, and let the words flow out of your heart.

Against all odds, this is how to keep writing

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We are here with a million dollar question to ask and it goes thus: Why do you write what you write?

Knowing the purpose behind everything you do matters a great deal because purpose keeps you going even when the tides are against you in the vast ocean of life. It is often said that if the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. As cliché as this may sound, there is a whole lot of wisdom we can glean from this as writers.

Knowing the reason you are on earth sets you off in the right direction. If you know, for example, that you were born to be a singer, you will find yourself going to voice coaching classes or a music school to hone your skill and no matter how many times you may have been rejected in one of those singing-related programmes, your purpose will drive you towards being a great singer even if the entire world does not believe in it.

That is our point exactly. Knowing why you write is magical. It will propel you to write even when the odds are against you. Dear Writer, never lose sight of the reason why you write. It is essential that you remind yourself of the reason for writing. The truth is this: understanding purpose when it comes to your writing will keep you standing even in the midst of the storms of rejection, lack of encouragement, lack of huge sales and even the lack of inspiration.

So, we ask again, why do you write what you write? Think slowly and carefully about it because it makes all the difference.