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5 Brief Writing Lessons From My Favourite Authors.

 

I read a lot of books and I have become accustomed to different styles of writing and different ways of telling a story.

There are books which I have read which I promptly forgot about once I closed them, and others written by my favourite authors whose words still linger in my mind long after I read the final words.

Here are a few writing lessons which I have learned from my favourite authors:

 

Lesson 1: Get to the point.

Author: Chinua Achebe:

Book:Things Fall Apart’.

From the first page of this book, you learn so much about Okonkwo, the protagonist and this really appeals to me. I don’t mind detailed descriptions in books, but sometimes I just want to get on with things and have the story begin immediately.

 

 

Lesson 2: Your protagonist may not be likable, but she should be interesting.

Author: Chimamamda Ngozi Adichie.

Book:Americanah’.

Adichie is, in my opinion, a master of creating a protagonist who you really should not like, but you feel some empathy for because of the manner in which she has been described. Some are of the opinion that the main character in a book should be a likable hero, but I feel writing characters who are very flawed and are trying to find their purpose in life make for more interesting reading.

 

Lesson 3: Short paragraphs and short chapters can enhance the pace of a story.

Author: James Patterson.

Book: ‘The Quickie’ (all of his books, really).

I guess this lesson really works if you already have a talent for creating tense, sitting-at-the-edge-of-your-seat thrillers, which Patterson is great at doing. His books tend to have very short chapters, usually one to three pages, which often end with mini-cliffhangers.

 

Lesson 4: Humour makes the mundane relatable.

Author: Sophie Kinsella.

Book: The ‘Shopaholic’ series of books.

Even if you’re the type to turn down your nose at books in the ‘romantic’ genre, these books are in their own league because they are laugh-out-loud funny. Kinsella was able to create a character dealing with situations that really aren’t funny (being in debt and having a shopping addiction) and write about her escapades in a way that would make you chuckle.

 

Lesson 5: Cliffhangers and twists at the end of a story are always welcome.

Authors: Jefferey Archer & James Hadley Chase.

Books: The ‘Clifton Chronicles’ (Archer), ‘The Vulture Is A Patient Bird’ (Chase).

 

I love a good cliffhanger in a book. Who says that a book needs to end in a wholly satisfactory manner? Certainly not these two guys! Jefferey Archer’s 7-part ‘Clifton Chronicles’ weaves tales of families intertwined through marriage and deceit, with each part ending in a compelling cliffhanger that will make you rush out to buy the next book.

As far as detailed (and sometimes absurd) crime capers go, James Hadley Chase will take you on a wild ride, and just when you think the story has ended, a random situation pops up on the very last page, which will leave you full of either joy or frustration.

 

These are only a few of the authors whose books I have read, but these are the major writing lessons which I have learned.

 

Has reading any books by your favourite authors inspired your writing? Please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading.

 

Ivie.

 

 

5 Books By Nigerian Authors Which You Should Read.

 

I am currently reading three books at the same time. I have a system where I read a couple of chapters of each book before moving to the next one. It’s one of my favourite pastimes.

I recently took some time to read books by Nigerian authors which I hadn’t read since my childhood or which I had never read before now.

Here are five books by Nigerian authors which you should read:

  1. ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe.

Why you should read it: From the first page, Achebe gets straight to the point about Okonkwo’s story: there are no wasted words. You feel Okonkwo’s frustrations as though they are yours, and this almost guarantees that you would finish this book within a very short timeframe.

‘Things Fall Apart’ gives great detail about Igbo traditional culture, and the effects of British Colonial rule on the lives of the indigenous Nigerian people.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

2. ‘Jagua Nana’s Daughter’ by Cyprian Ekwensi.

Why you should read it: Unfortunately, I was unable to find the preceding book, ‘Jagua Nana’ to read, but Ekwensi does a great job of helping the reader to link both stories in this book which presents Nigerian life in a very cosmopolitan manner. Here, Liza, a successful Lagos-based lawyer is on a search for her mother, Jagua Nana.

It is a refreshingly entertaining book, with detailed descriptions of sex and extramarital relationships among the elites in Lagos, where a lot of the story is based.  Will Liza finally find her mother? You will have to read it to find out!

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.


3. ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Why you should read it: This is my favourite book on this list. It’s the first book by Adichie which I ever read back in 2007. I have read all her other books and articles and watched her TED Talk videos, and I can say that this book still ranks as number one of her work to me.

There is an ease with which Adichie describes some situations which are very Nigerian and relatable. Kambili, the protagonist, experiences life under very affluent and difficult circumstances, and the story takes us on a journey about the effects of dysfunctional family relationships. If you must pick one book on this list to read, please pick this one.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

4. ‘News From Home’ by Sefi Atta.

Why you should read it: I love a good collection of short stories, and this collection by Atta is one which I could not put down once I started it. Each story is a window looking into different Nigerian eccentricities and lifestyles. I would recommend this book as a guide for anyone who wants to know the different ways being Nigerian could be interpreted.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

5. ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ by Buchi Emecheta.

Why you should read it: This book captivated me from the first chapter and I felt both relieved and sad when it ended. The book takes us on Nnu Ego’s journey, a mother whose experiences of motherhood and marriage are bitter-sweet. The book moves from describing the contentment of village life to the hardships of making a life for yourself in the city. A splendid book.

You can get it on Amazon or Konga.

 

Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments!

 

Ivie.