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Message for new Writers

By Rais Neza Boneza Country Editor


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Creative writing as a challenge for new writers


We can define creative writing as a process of telling stories, of defining and identifying to ourselves. Storytelling is a parcel of any developing society. That is why there is no society without stories.

The time is divided into past, present and the future. Every writer, as a human being, has to build his own history. In every society we find myths, legends and folktales that link the present to past and to the future. Creative  writing is essential because it is as old as humanity.


In the case of Africa, stories are looked as an arena of protest against cruelty in the world. Between 1700 and 1800, European writers begun to suggest that Africans were less human. They compared Africa to the beast of burden and justified the notion of slavery. Philosopher Frederick Engel’s story argued that Africa was not part of history and that Africa started when Europeans set foot on her soil.

There is always a connection between writing and history. A nation can be created or de-created through writen words. Altough slave’s masters put on rules fobidding and repressing the education of slaves, some slaves noticed the  value of the written words.

James Ukawsaw was able to write his own story in 1770 while before he could not read and write. He was fascinated watching his master hold a Bible, look at it and talk to it. James was not aware of what is called the reading culture. To him it was a magic book talking to his master.

One day when his master was away from home, James stole the bible and talked to it but only heard silence, and this increased his inquisitiveness. Eventually he learned the trick and wrote: “An African Prince” in 1770 and Frederick Douglas was taught to read and write by his master’s wife.

When the master stopped him by discontinuing with his lessons. F.Douglas would take bread and give it to poor white children who could teach him in turn.

Late in life he wrote his own story: “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas.”

An 18 year-old slave woman wrote poetry on moral, social, and religious issues. A board of white masters could not believe that it was her work. Later, when confirmed that it was her work, she was set free from slavery.

For all the cases above, the authors’ reading and writing skills won their freedom.




Contemporary literary work with society development


A nation could be narrated into being. Writers of a nation created it in the way they wanted it to be. When the colonisers, who, in creating the African nations, divided the same ethnic groups into different nations, it was an intentional act.

Writers have to begin defining their moral identity as individuals and to extend their identity to their nations. It a duty for writers to ask for more justice by narrating their nations into being, and creating nations without physical boundaries.    


Creative writing reinforces memories. It important for us to have a record of memories, hope, dreams, struggles, and failures too. We have to give to our societies a sense of memory of where we have been and where we aspire to be in the future. Stories of our transitions, struggles and cultures should be recorded creatively because writers still the only guide in darkness, and reflect the memory of civilisation.


Creative writing increases clarity in expression, which is an essential ingredient of communication. Creativity enables the writer and the speaker to engage readers and listeners attentively. It creates observant sense. Learners should be taught creative writing and be exposed to stories at the lowest level of their education in order to light up their creativity and imaginative potential.


Every nation worth the name must build it oral tradition so that there is something in place for that nation to always fall back to. In creative writing major areas should be emphasised as following:


1.     Attitude:


-         Good writing comes out of concern for maturity, creativity, maturity

-         Creativity should be rejected

-         Writers should be able to hold their heads high and be proud of what they have written

-         Writers should have faith in what they write

-         Writers need perseverance; writing is not a bed of roses


2.     Narrative technique:


                      Languages are very dependent on languages. Writers need rich languages for writing; to be able to proofread and edit their work, for promoting and marketing themselves.

3.     Appropriate behaviour.


                             A writer must be a good reader to write well; he must keep on writing to improve the skill, and one must share his or her writing with other writers and readers. Writers do not have to be tied down by monetary and fame expectations from their works. “You have to write because you are necessary to communicate and have the passion to communicate. Negative comments should be an invigoration of more power to write.


Writing is in-born; it is not much about being encouraged or discouraged but about listening to the supremacy of the story and bringing it out.


Who is a creative writer?


A creative writer is one who feels more deeply, observes sharply and writes more clearly. For that he has to conquer his throne within himself, which means to be reconciliated with him, nature, to have a sense of tragedy, meaning to be more human.

The vocation of writers is to lose their innocence in observing feeling, hearing and writing. To lose innocence involves taking a step beyond where an ordinary mind can take them. It is to have a high sense of taste and be able to communicate not only as observed but also more vividly. A good writer should be able to breathe life into her history.


What does it take to publish?


A good story demands the author to have several hours of loneliness, of thinking, of re-arranging sentences, changing words, of proofreading and editing, of everything it takes. A good writer brings pain and passion into the story and makes readers experience them. A writer must have a very good story to present to publishers. There is no publishers who will invest in a badly written story that will not pay back.


In my own experience, I used to submit manuscripts to many publishers, most of whom sent me rejection slips without reading my work. For the following reasons that was normal experience for creating writing:



-         Publishers have a limit over the fiction they can publish in a given period.

-         Some writers do not have enough time to develop their manuscripts

-         Some writers have not make any effort to write strong stories

-         Most writers have not read enough about publishing. Some writers send fiction to purely non-fiction publishers


The author needs an agent to mediate between himself and the publishers. Agents take a fee but they are very helpful are can negotiate for the author. The higher the royalties and advance payment for the author, the higher the fee for the agent, so agents take keen interest in what their client gets.

Authors need to gauge the sustainability of publishers. Some publishers promote books and authors other do not. Writers should evaluate publishers and see which one arte able to reprint a book and stay in business. There are publishers who have folded and therefore killed writers.