By Ayobami Adebayo—


Read Margret Atwood’s “Happy Endings” and pay more attention to the how and why of your work.

For short and practical insights, read Kurt Vonnegut’s “How to write with style.” My favourite tip: “…If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.”

Wondering if the word you are looking for is affect or effect? Use Grammar Girl’s quick dirty tips. Begin with this great infographic.

Roddy Doyle’s rules for writers has very useful advice. Here’s a brilliant one: “Do not search amazon.co.uk for the book you haven’t written yet.” Find more rules here.

Emmanuel Iduma has extracted 20+ rules from Teju Cole’s “Eight Letters to a Young Writer.” Read both Iduma and Cole.

If you are putting together a short story collection, this and this offer tips on how to structure one.

Go over to Thresholds and listen to eleven writers talk about writing short stories. These podcasts give great insights into the craft and writing processes of acclaimed authors such as Deborah Levy, Margaret Drabble and David Vann.

Watch Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Elif Shafak speak about the power of stories, writing, and political activism.

Read this interview granted by Chinua Achebe. Here is my favourite bit: “After all, some people will say, Why does he put in all these Nigerian-English words? Some critics say that in frustration. And I feel like saying to them, “Go to hell! That’s the way the story was given to me. And if you don’t want to make this amount of effort, the kind of effort that my people have always made to understand Europe and the rest of the world, if you won’t make this little leap, then leave it alone!”

Dream about taking a great author photo. Here’s some inspiration.


Ayobami Adebayo is one of Saraba Magazine’s fiction editors, and author of the forthcoming novel Stay with Me. Join her and Emmanuel Iduma on Tuesday 13 October for a tweet-chat on the Saraba Manuscript Prize.


PhotoChinua Achebe by Steve Pyke

 

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