Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) was a Nigeria novelist, professor, critic and poet. His first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is considered the best and the most widely read book in modern African literature. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize. Today, we will discuss some applicable life lessons from Chinua Achebe.
Settle on one thing
Chinua Achebe was known for writing stories. When you mention Achebe, nothing will come into people’s mind expect novel writing. The lesson here is that successful people focus on one thing they are good at. They rarely scatter their energy on many things. Therefore, if you want to be a poet, devote all your energy to poetry.
Successful people start small
Settling on one thing does not guarantee success until you start small. Chinua Achebe started his career in writing by publishing short stories. People do not know him for the short stories he wrote, but they know him for the bestsellers he authored. Therefore, start with what you have today.
Settle for more
What about if Chinua Achebe settled for writing and publishing only short stories? Achebe had the spirit of pioneering and risk-taking. His success did not come overnight. In 1958, only 2000 copies of his best book were sold. However, by 1995, he had sold more than 8 million copies. The lesson here is that: in whatever people do, they should never settle for less.
Writing a great play is a subjective task rather than an objective one. There is no one formula on how to write a best. However, there are three things that one has to adhere to ensure his or her play is viable and appealing in the eyes of the targeted audience.
First, it is important to focus on the medium through which the play will be brought to life. In many cases, your medium is likely to be the theatre. With this in mind, write a play that can be performed in the theatre. To perfect this, visit a theatre close to where you reside. Study how plays are done, then picture how your play will fit in the theatre if it were to be performed at that moment.
Second, choose your characters well. Ensure that they are not more than six in number. This will ensure that your play is not a complicated. You will realize that some of the greatest plays do not have many characters. Using a few characters in a play helps to bring out the story clearly and makes the play interesting.
Last, choose a theme that focuses on human life. It could be love, betrayal, grief, amongst others. Build your story around the chosen theme or themes. However, as much as may want to use more than one theme to make your play interesting, remember that moderation is important. A play with many themes is boring.
Repetition is a basic stylistic device in many poems. The main purpose of its use in poetry is to emphasize a point or to increase the way a phrase, line or a stanza is perceived emotionally by the audience. Repeating a word many times puts more importance on that word than other words in the poem. It, therefore, draws the audience’s attention to that particular word over other words.
Also, a repeating particular sound or sounds in a poem brings about a rhythmic effect. This makes a poem musical in nature and to sound more entertaining depending on its genre. One can then use repetition to bring about a rhythm in a poem.
A repetition is a good tool in poetry. However, if not carefully used, it can ruin the poem. A poet must first master the art of using repetition before using it in his or her poems. It is important to note that too much of something spoils the broth; hence repetition must be used with skillful moderation.
Another thing to remember is that use of repetition as a stylistic device in poetry is optional. Where a poem does not require its use, then it is prudent not to use it at all. It should be used only when it is necessary or inevitable.
Satire is the use of irony and sarcasm to show or to criticize the ignorance of people. Irony is the expression of one’s meaning by using words that ordinarily signifies the opposite. Sarcasm is the use of irony to convey contempt or mock. It is also said to be a bitter remark, taunt, or jibe. Satire is also achieved by using double entendres, exaggeration, and juxtaposition. To learn about satirical writing, a good method is to look for satire examples and find some satire tips.
Satire is found in several places; television shows, songs, literature, to name a few. It is used to show corruption or foolishness of governments, organizations, or people, by using irony or sarcasm. Satire is mainly used as an attempt to bring about political or social change or to prevent it.
There are many topics that you can pick for your satirical writing. You can write about someone famous or yourself. Most writers satirize politicians because they often make mistakes in speeches. You might also consider events that have recently happened.
Your satire should not be obscene or vicious. While delivering your satire, try to appear serious. This is subtle but very effective. Another tactic is to try to turn things around. For example, advising your friend to do the opposite of what he should do.
The characters in our essays, poems, songs, and stories embody our writing. Sometimes, characters speak for us, taking away the burden of theme, plot, idea, emotion, and mood. However, they do not exist until they are described on the page. If you want your readers to form a vivid impression of your characters, focus on:
Details that disclose characters’ psychologies and personalities
A character’s eye or hair color does not tell your readers much. When introducing a character, pay attention to details that reveal your character’s psychology and personality.
Unique character features
To describe characters convincingly, you must be able to show all the things that make them distinctive and unique. For instance, you may describe character’s voice as inflexible, dry, and dictatorial.
Characters’ gestures and body language
Showing character’s actions and gestures is an important part of describing a character vividly. A character’s gestures, body language, and movement can describe a lot about their psychological and personality state.
Writers who are well-known for their characterization
If you want to describe your characters vividly, look for strong character descriptions. Look for books written by authors who are famous for their characters. A good example of such author is Anton Chekhov.
The words comedy and humor are often used interchangeably. Although both terms have some elements in common, they also have some differences. Writing comedy is not the same as writing humor.
Usually, the humorist writes an article or essay that is funny or amusing. The humorist’s work is intended to be read. The comedy writer, on the other hand, writes material to get laughs, in front of a watching audience. Comedians are known for writing materials for comedy films, situation comedies, sketch comedy, and stand-up comics.
Comedy writing and humor writing are often based on truth. Frequently, both use the same humor devices like exaggeration, satire, and irony. Both also use the storytelling and anecdote.
Both Humour writing and comedy writing requires a punchline and setup. The intention of both of them is to create a comic effect. Humourists tend to write about subject matters that are funny. They also write about serious topics or subjects with the intent of making them amusing. So do comedy writers.
Despite many similarities, humor writing and comedy writing are different in some aspects. The intention of most comedy writing is to entertain by provoking laughter. On the other hand, most humor writing is more cerebral and subtle, intending to inform, amuse, persuade, and educate the audience.
Humour writing is mostly done for print publications, such as books, newspaper, or magazines. Most comedy writing, on the other hand, is done for comedy films, TV sitcoms, stand-up comedy, and comedy sketches.
As with academic writing or personal document, wring fiction stories can be challenging. However, by avoiding some habits, fiction writers can greatly improve their work. The following are habits that you should avoid in fiction writing:
Avoid generic nouns and verbs
Imagine painting everything in the world using three or four colors. Probably, the results would look pretty generic. Writers use language as their medium. Places, things, people have names, and its writer’s job to know what they are. Precise nouns work wonders because nouns have meanings that go beyond their definitions in the dictionary. Precise verbs also contribute significantly to characterization.
Avoid “he said “or, “she said”
A good dialogue can make readers feel like they are listening to a real conversation. When used repeatedly, the word “said” becomes very inconspicuous. If you find yourself using this word for every dialogue tag in your screenplay or manuscript, you are doing more harm than good.
Inconsistent point of view
A fiction writer must choose the point of view, or perspective, from which a story will be told. Once you have decided to use a certain point of view, be consistent. For example, if a story is told in the first person, the narrator must be present in all scenes he/she describes to the reader.