Monday, September 20, 2010


Practice makes perfect, someone said and it rings very true for writing too. A good writer, leave alone a great one can never let a day pass without writing a few sentences at least. Writing every day of the week makes it more of a routine and definitely kills that writers' enemy of old - The writer's block.
What did you write today? It might be an online article, a blog entry, a page of a novel, an awesome poem or short story or even a comment on this blog. You have written! It doesn't matter how little you write, the idea is to get yourself moving, the trick is to hang on and never give up, and the best way of hanging on is writing!
I do not deny that times may be tough, that you may be very busy, but honestly, finding time to write a few sentences can not be an issue. All you need to post a sentence or two is a whopping....did I say whopping? Well you need less than five minutes every day, and that is more than what we spend on the facebook, isn't it?
Visit The Writers' Facebook and network with fellow writers
Publish your e-book and earn 60% of the total book sales

Friday, September 3, 2010


A good writer knows how to balance his or her scenes so as not have long stretches of boredom and short fast paced scenes. Readers do not want to read action packed scene that goes for a page or two and then descend into a lengthy slumber that bore them to death.
To avoid such, a writer should try to balance scene intensity and or pace. Divide your scenes into short spurts of fast paced action mixed with those slow moving sections.
This doesn't have to be the order with which you write. You can write the slow moving scenes for as long as you can and do the same for fast paced action but later go back and try to cut them into shorter pieces and mix them for greater effect.
Even the best of all thriller writers have boring or slow moving scenes. They write paragraphs that move slowly than the average pace of the entire story but they use the trick I just explained to keep their readers hooked and or interested in the story.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Are you one of those writers who have slow winding starts to a novel or short story? There is only one word to describe your writing: Boring!
No matter how well a book is written, however good a story is, writers who can not capture their readers within the first few paragraphs will lose them almost immediately. When you lose a reader at that most opportune moment, chances that he or she will ever want to read your work are very slim.
Writers need to start their long stories with a big bang. Remember this is how the earth began and that is probably how it will end. Start your story in the thick of things, with everyone running helter-skelter, with a lot happening at a fast pace, only then, only then can you go back in time and start those slow winding descriptions to build the readers suspense and hook him or her to the entire novel or story.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Many writers, especially the young ones often think they can walk around unkempt and get away with it, they think being creative means being dirty, almost uncouth. How stupid. Walking around without a sense of organization presents mental turmoil that contributes to your writer's block.
If you have not been able to write much of late, if you are one of those people that strangely believe that genius should walk around wrapped in junk, it may be time to grow up.
Take your time and groom yourself, take your timer and arrange everything on your desk. That dust, those hanging cobwebs in your study, and the multiple yet to be shelved files that you keep around you all the time are not required.
All you need are concrete writing plans and schedules. Decide on the projects you want to work on in the next few days or weeks and get down to business. Forget how everyone else with genius behaves and just be yourself for a single day, stop finding influence in the wrong company by thinking that only by drinking alcohol like fish would water can you get your act together.
you can write pretty good stuff if you put your mind to it. But part of the discipline required in becoming a great writer is organizing yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Most writers grapple with this issue almost on a daily basis. The issue surrounds whether to use tough sounding words or go for simpler words that are well understood by majority of readers. To answer the question I will try to go back to the sole purpose of writing. Why do we write? Who are we writing for?
Writers write in order to communicate. This communication may inform, educate or entertain but the chief aspect is to pass a message across. If you use a language that will not be understood by majority of readers, then you end up failing in your sole responsibility as a writer and that is why writers need to always go for words that can be easily understood.
Wrongly using or misusing high sounding words that may mean nothing in the end present a writer as stupid instead of helping him or her to appear academic.
Closely knit with the issue of vocabulary is the audience you are writing for. Tough may mean a different thing to kindergarten students compared to university professors! Good luck!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Look at books and book-men. Is the world producing great writers like it used to? Is the world producing serious authors like it used to churn out before the rise of the internet. Maybe and again maybe not but it is important to note that the internet has somehow destabilized the whole profession of writing.
The ability to publish almost anything from literature to sensitive medical information seems to have eroded the very creativity that was the hallmark of great writing. No longer do we have value for truly great information, no longer do we have any time left for what is hidden in the books for we can read and write anything online and a lot more people are too lazy to appreciate any serious stuff coming out of a few writers, very few readers have the patience to delve into truly great information, they want an easy way out, and online writing seems to offer just that. Has it killed creativity?
Has online writing had an effect on the truly great writing of the past or have we stopped literary appreciation in search of gossip?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Many writers loath the idea of planning their writing projects. My challenge has always been the same. If you are a writer, you should write, and that means setting writing goals and accomplishing them.
If you know what you want, then you must go for it by developing a feasible plan or writing schedule. If you decide on writing at least 300 words a day, make it some kind of routine and write the 300 words. If you fail for any reason to write 300 words, make it an obligation to write 600 words on the following day.
It is only be developing such a routine like schedule that writers can jump from being amateurs to professionals who are proud of their work as writers, its only by sticking to such professionalism that writers can build their portfolio and earn from their writing.
You should ask yourself how some people were able to write 500 novels and didn't die of exhaustion - Strategy and nothing else. Those writers had a well developed writing schedule that they stuck to until they succeeded.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Writers grapple with very many things, the leading of course being where to publish. Traditional publishers are making lots of money from book sales and only pay 8 - 12% of the total book sales. If your book sells for 10 dollars a copy, the publisher gives you less than a dollar, i.e. 80cts and keeps $ 9.20. Isn't that impressive?
The advantage of publishing the traditional way is the fact that most reputable publishers have full time editors that will assess your work and make suggestions that will make it better in the long run. They also stock your book and market it directly to distributors such as bookshops for which you do not pay.
The disadvantage is the time taken for them to release your book. For most, textbooks have the highest priority and it may take two years before seeing your published product even after being accepted.
If you have no money but lots of patience and believe in the quality of what you have written, traditional book publishing may be the best way to do it even though it benefits the publisher much more than it benefits the writer.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Forget your experiences for a while and just write in third person. Sticking to first person narration has a way of limiting your point of view and that of the reader when you should be able to cover much more ground by playing God.
When you write in third person, you have everything that is happening before you. you have the freedom to manipulate everybody and everything that is happening. Sometimes the way the story turns surprises you the writer just like it would your reader and its this surprise, its these twists and turns that help to glue the reader along.
The element of surprise and therefore suspense disappears once you put yourself at the center of the story and may actually build some negativity in the mind of the reader before he or she completes the story.
When the lead character in your story or novel does not have the best of behavior or is an outright crook that you created, telling his story in first narration may actually crucify you the writer instead since readers have a problem divorcing the writer from the narrator in first person.
I don't deny the fact that some great stories have been written in the first person but as a caution, they are very few and limited as well in scope. To avoid much problems, write in the third person until your experience is bold enough to warrant a shift to the first person.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Writing without a role model or set of role models is like captaining a radar-less ship. A writer needs to have some great writers whether contemporary or past legends unto whom he or she looks towards for inspiration.
Who is your favorite writer? Who do you look at when in need of inspiration? Even the greatest writers of all time had their inspiring legends and those writing legends too had their favorites. You need to keep in touch with the best in writing for you to write better each passing day.
My favorite author still remains Leo Tolstoy, even though a few other great writers aren't far behind either. When I feel lost, when words are not coming, when I can't find inspiration elsewhere, one look at a Tolstoyan text is all I need to start writing again.
Who is your favorite? Think about it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


You heard me. However lazy you feel today, never ever submit any piece of writing be it an article or a novel without reading it one more time. While I have always advised that the writer is the first reader, the same writer should also double up as the number one critic as well.
Do not pass over to the editors or publishers any writing that is still unpolished or one which would do with some proofreading. Kindly save yourself the pain of rejection by going through your work word for word, comma after comma until you are satisfied that it is the best you can achieve.
When editors return any writing project and request for specified or unspecified changes, kindly agree to making the changes requested. The editors may not be fright, the editors may be out-rightly wrong, but they still have the last word on whether you are published or not.
What should you do? Whether it takes one hundred years or more for you to finish writing your present writing, take fifty more years to go through your work one more time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Did you know that almost everyone can write? Well forget the fact that writers are born. It may just be a notion to dissuade you from trying your hand at writing. Writing may be tough, writing can be hard, writing can be difficult, but it doesn't mean that great writing can not be accomplished.
All you have to do is learn so language. It doesn't have to be English, it doesn't have to be french or Spanish but you will surely need some working knowledge of Punjabi, Swahili or whatever language you decide to write in.
If you feel the compulsion to write, if the ability to communicate via writing comes naturally to you, then you are a born writer. But then, being born a writer is not enough. Of the millions of men and women who are born writers, 75% give up before graduating from high school. Of the remaining 25%, another half will give up when they find something easier or better to. The remaining half toil on and on, trying to put their thoughts into writing.
But even of this number, about another half are just comfortable calling themselves writers. only a small percentage end up doing the actual writing and doing it well for they never give up. Are you one of them?

Monday, August 23, 2010


A novel should have at least one major storyline known as the plot. The plot can be simple and liner or more complex and intertwined with other smaller stories known as sub plots. Complexity of the plot depends on the readership a writer expects to gain, or his or her target market.
Writers who target children or the youth must have very simple and therefore linear plots woven around a main character, the protagonist and another main character, the antagonist who stands in the way of the antagonist’s success. Such story lines targeted at younger readers must have a limited number of supporting characters.
Writers targeting advanced readers have greater control over their storyline and can afford more complex non linear plots, sub plots and a large number of characters. Novels such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and The Brothers Karamazov by Feodor Dostoevsky have hundreds of characters almost competing with real life town life.
How then should the writer go about this? Identify your target readers, pick on your main characters, and plot your story outline, first in a linear manner before introducing any twists and turns.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


What is the need of writing if you wont be read? Being read has very many advantages, one being the ability to market yourself even more. If you are in the business of writing anything from children's bedtime stories, novels and even article, belonging to a writers circle or some form of association or social networking forum may be the best way to gain a footing and improve your writing. Are you a member of a writers' group? If not, join here.
Writers groups help with writing tips, writing ideas, editing and marketing and they all come free of charge. Writers groups do not come with stringent rules like those offered by professional editors that work for publishing firms but if you are lucky to be part of a very good group, all the services that a writer may need will be at your door step. Are a member of a writers forum or group? Join Triond or The Writers' Facebook for a start and enjoy the fun!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Just how many times should you read through your writing before submitting? I have always argued that as much as it may appear a very hard task, proofreading can not be done away with. Imagine Leo Tolstoy rewriting War and Peace, the close to 1500 pages almost 8 times! Why not read through your 300 pages, why not write and rewrite such a short novel? There is no short cut to proofreading but however careful we are, however good we are at editing our own work, we sometimes need a third party, a fresh pair of eyes to go through the stuff that we have written and see what we didn't see.
If you have written a story book, a novel or a play and have done everything to perfect it, its time you gave it out to a trusted friend, a critic who will see the faults that you the creator didn't. Do not run away from this reality. None of us is perfect, none of us can write so beautifully and without the slightest of mistakes and that is why editors exist. Minimize their work and your chances of getting another rejection slip will be slim.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Most writers not only write for money but also work towards improving their earnings time and again. Earning from your writing, however little you earn, means you are a professional and need to behave like one. A professional writer is paid for writing. Start by treating your writing seriously if you really want to earn from it.
A professional teacher teaches everyday, a professional salesman/woman sales everyday, and when he or she isn't selling, he or she is planning his or her next sale. Why not so for a professional writer.
Read and write everyday however little, thoroughly proofread your work before submitting it to the editors, and remember, make efforts to market your work. That is how professionals behave in other fields, and writers are no different.Respect the noble profession that writing is. It educates, it entertains and it informs. What else can do that?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Many young writers think they can do away with the basic rules of writing after enjoying some form of success. They struggle with their writing till they make a mark on the writing scene, they stick to the rules of writing, always reading, researching their writing projects, proof reading before submission and trying hard to market their work after publishing.
Do not stop following these rules when you finally enjoy some form of success. Success is always hard earned; success is always a product of very hard work and determination on the work of the writer. The greatest writers you read about, the great men and women who have succeeded in the world of writing never ever, they never take these basic rules of writing for granted.
a) Read for inspiration
b) Research into what is unknown to you
c) Never let a day pass without writing
d) Proof read as many times as possible before submission
e) Market your work after publishing!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Do you ever struggle with finding themes for your articles? Well article writing need not be stressful. Unlike novels and dramas that shouldn’t be over autobiographical, article ideas can come from everything and everyone around you from your spouse, to your children, your parents and even your pets. Keep your eyes open and your pen ready. If you don’t have a pen and a paper with you, always note any new ideas that come to your mind, wherever you are as a short message and store this in your phone. Do so every time you are surfing the net, talking to colleagues at work and even when sitting at home with your family. Get those articles rolling, and let them roll on whatever issue there is under the sun. Article writing need not make you sweat, article writing need not stress you, it needs to calm you down instead.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The greatest writers of all time never concentrated on one genre throughout their writing. William Shakespeare wrote Drama, Sonnets and epic poetry as well. Ernest Hemingway was not only a journalist of high repute but also a novelist and short story writer. D.H. Lawrence wrote poetry, short stories and magnificent novels while Tolstoy penned significant plays, novels and short stories.
While many people will associate you with a particular genre, you really shouldn’t pride yourself in writing in that particular genre for the rest of your writing life. If you are basically a novelist, its time you learned writing some short stories or some poetry. Ask Michael Ondaatje, the Sikh Canadian author of the English patient. Being a highly successful poet did not stop him from penning some of the best novels in the English language!
Fill the void that comes with a writer's block by writing numerous articles, poetry and short stories. They may form a reputable collection of their own.

Monday, August 16, 2010


What you read determines what you write. If you want to write great stuff, you rather read great stuff. If you want to write useless stuff, go ahead and read useless stuff. While saying this, I know that nobody wants to write useless stuff but those who do not want to put any effort into reading end up writing what I just called useless without ever knowing it. If the only books you know are the Harry Potter series, if the only authors you know are Dean Koontz, Sidney Sheldon and the like, its time you felt sorry for yourself.
Pick up ancient texts such as The Analects of Confucius, The Iliad and the Odyssey, Plato’s republic, the bible, the Koran and any classics that you can lay your hands on. Try reading Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostoevsky, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. It’s only by reading the masters that you can become a master; it’s only by studying the giants that you become one.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Writing is communication just like talking. You can not address a multitude without having something to say. You must be equipped with a message that is either entertaining or educative for your audience to listen to you. Some writers make the grave mistake of starting a writing project without having anything significant that they must tell the world.
Find ideas that will either educate or entertain your audience and you will never have to grapple with a writers block. Blocks normally come when ideas dry, ideas dry only when we have nothing important to talk about.
Avoid this trap by thoroughly researching and planning before embarking on your latest project. If you started radar-less, it may be time to stop, think, read, and plan before forging ahead! Reading can never be divorced from writing however lazy you want to be.
There you are! Do you have something you really must say? An idea that must be written, a story that must be told?

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Many writers tend to assume that their is nothing new left to write and therefore tend to regurgitate the same old story lines. Well, its time to tell your story in a different way or write that article in a brand new perspective.
Are you one of those fiction writers or screen writers who always paint that villain, that bad guy as ugly, weaker, lacking in anything positive while your hero, the good guy has every positive trait one can ever think of and no weakness at all? Try having a very ugly hero and a handsome villain for once. This trick works like magic and can actually help to keep the reader suspended and therefore interested in your story till the end.
Avoid the stereotypes that many writers commit and forge your way against the current. Heaven with all its attributes must for once be painted as ugly and lacking in any luster while hell offers that irresistible charm and sense of attraction. Isn't this what realism is all about? Try it.

Friday, August 13, 2010


A mediocre main character for your short story or novel is like a dim spotlight guiding a lost convoy through the jungle. Readers are never attracted to such fellows, making your writing hard to please even the most committed of readers.
Pick an exciting entity, a strong man or woman who will propel your story forward and tag the reader along. A main character or hero who will not disappoint the reader but will make him or her look at life in a brand new way. Your hero must inspire, he must teach your reader to appreciate life, he must help your reader grow and become a new person, and that is why he or she must never ever, be mediocre for mediocrity smells of nothing but failure.
If the main character is a failure, do not expect any of the other strengths in your story to show for short stories and novels are wound around one or two major characters!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Writers do not write from anywhere. Most of them have a specific location or position from where writing comes to them naturally. When a writer moves from this location or position, he or she certainly experiences a writer's block. As much as you can write from any angle and any location, its important to find what works best for you and stick to the routine lest you spoil the writing party.
Remember the best writing you can achieve is writing that isn't forced, writing that comes to you naturally, but that does not mean you let nature dictate when to write, how to write and how much to write. The more you write, the better you become and that is why I always emphasize the importance of never letting a day pass without writing anything. If it doesn't come naturally, your creativity may return when proof reading a second, a third or even the seventeenth time and overhaul what you had written.
Where do you write best from? Find out and maintain it for it may be the only solution to your constant writer's block!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


You have heard it said that faith without action is dead but I think writing without reading is all the more dead. Do not hope to produce quality writing if you don't ever read. What you read in the course of your writing has a great impact on your writing.
If you are writing a novel, it will help a great deal to read not only great novelists but aim to read critical appraisal of their works as well. If you are writing a short story, read great short stories. Its all the same for articles and poetry too. Find out what Maxim Gorky had to say about Leo Tolstoy and Feodor Dostoevsky. Find out what Tolstoy said about William Shakespeare.
Reading is the essence of writing. If you read shoddy works of art, be sure to produce shoddy work as well. If you read uninspiring work, you may end up writing uninspiring work as well or never writing at all. Need I say more? Writing without reading is the number one cause of a writer's block - Dead writing!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This is perhaps one of the questions that young writers ask themselves time and again. When writing a book, some young writers are tempted to divide it into same length chapters in search of far fetched unity of form. Is this right? Of course not.
A chapter must have a unifying factor, it must be based on a particular Idea that holds the sentence and paragraphs that make it one. Do not force your chapters to have the same length or structure. Focus instead on the ideas that make up your work. Divide your set of ideas into book sections and further subdivide these into smaller sets of ideas that can cover less than ten pages.
Having very long chapters upwards of 20 pages is actually detrimental for an average reader tires quickly and may not want to hold onto the book longer. What does that mean? He or she will never buy a novel or book written by you again, the last thing you need.
It is better to have 100 chapters of three pages each rather than 3 chapters of 100 pages each or 6 chapters of 50 pages each. The more the chapters your book contains the better, but for goodness sake, keep them short!

Monday, August 9, 2010


That's right. You have heard it said time and again that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, well, maybe not but readers, many readers judge whatever you write by simply looking at the title. A title is not necessarily the first thing that you should write but having a working title, not necessarily the final title you pick on, helps your writing project move on and hopefully crystallize into what can attract readers.
Make a list of all the possible titles that come to your mind as you write along but never begin on a project or continue on one without a title, for it shows your own lack of interest. If you aren't interested in your own writing, think of the poor reader who has to buy it from the market.
Think of a title, begin writing, make a list of possible titles as you write along and finally pick the best among your list. Use all the resources at your disposal except.....the newspaper! Why? Because most of those catchy phrases journalists give their news-posts are actually book titles!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Fiction writing hugely depends on suspense to hold the reader until the end. Suspense is what makes a reader hang on to read through one hundred, one thousand or even ten thousand pages of fiction. How can you ensure that your reader is kept suspended?
Its as simple as throwing challenges at the main character. You must make your hero suffer, but he or she shouldn't suffer for too long before resolving the conflict pinning him or her down. To keep the reader interested, throw one conflict after the other into the mix. Resolve these smaller conflicts while making sure that a larger conflict runs through the entire novel until the end.
Suspense is the key and if well handled will keep your reader sleepless until he or she turns the last page.
Not only will your reader finish your latest work but he or she will go in search of the rest from the market. Ask the likes of Danielle Steel, Sidney Sheldon and Dean Koontz. The all dwell on suspense and nothing else.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Are you writing a novel or play without a hero or heroine in mind? Wrong. Many inexperienced writers make this mistake and bunch together a group of lackluster characters with similar dimension who can not keep the reader interested. To keep your reader interested, you need to pick on an interesting human being, not a robot or yo-yo, not even a superior man or woman with the best qualities but no weakness, no, he or she must be three dimensional.
paint him or her favorably but present some hidden weaknesses to the reader. Remember the mighty and all strong Samson and how Delilah took him down, remember the all powerful King David and how lust could not keep him focused. If the bible can have such three dimensional characters, why should you present superior beings with no flaws? if your character is too good to be true, your reader will lose interest, but if he or she commits terrible mistakes every time like a real human being does, then the reader sympathizes with him or her and stays around to know how he or she handles the mistakes. Bad news is always good news for good news repeated time and again makes everyone lose interest in the news!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Novels have chapters, articles have sections, poems have stanzas while plays have acts and scenes. Should you make them longer or shorter? Most readers love your scenes, sections and chapters shorter for they make for faster reading. You don't want to sit brooding over a piece of writing for ages, do you? Your reader wants a story or a play or an article that will move and move fast. He or she wants the flesh of your writing, not lots of fat!
What should you do then? Write short paragraphs, write short sections, write short chapters and when given a choice between using shorter or longer words, pick the shorter word if it doesn't change the meaning you wish to pass across. Have subtitles for all your sections, especially for online writing. Do not try to sound academic, the reader is more intelligent than you assume. Stick to simple words that make a lot of sense and remember, always remember, the shorter the better!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Yes, you got me right. Writing the beginning of your novel need to come when you are starting the novel. Many a times, we have a great story to tell but don't know how to start. Great writers will start at any point and then when the novel has matured, when it has gained some flesh, they go back and look at how it started. This beginning can be changed many times over until it is as great as it should be.
As a writer, you know better than worry over that start, for worrying often delays an otherwise very important project. I know of a friend, a literature professor who kept working on his novel for 20 years because he couldn't get that magical start. Wrong! None of us is perfect. Start whichever way and write on and when you feel you have that magical touch that is needed, go back and take a fresher look at where you started. However, brooding over the beginning of your novel will delay you for nothing and contribute to what most writers dread, a writers block!
All the best in your novel writing but remember, that great beginning was not always written at the start. Read other writers and you will understand.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


You may have a great story to tell but your novel may not interest many readers because of one thing, the beginning! You need to have a strong beginning to capture your readers' interest. Those of your readers who like the start and subsequently read the whole story, will want to read many more novels from your pen.

Look at how past master novelists began their novels. Learn how they plunged into their story straight away in order to draw in a reader. Think of how Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy begins or Charles Dickens' A tale of Two Cities. Weren't they brilliant? Reading these great masters and learning the secrets of how a novel ought to begin can greatly help young writers.
I normally follow the advice of a great professor who asked his writing class to consider cutting the first page of their essays in order to excite the reader and keep him glued and it works like magic!