‘We write and we learn. We learn and we write. Since in my early youth, I had a dream. In the fulfilment of that dream, I was carried way beyond what I expected. It is the nature of such dreams, and the experience of those who dare to be.” SHARLOW.


Do you feel that it is your Destiny to write?

Have you dreamed of writing the World’s Greatest Novel? Have you asked yourself, just how is a great book written? Learn the art of masterful writing by following the powerful pen of life-long novelist, Sharlow Mohammed.


WRITING THE NOVEL is an invaluable resource for any aspiring writer. It is an accurate, real life portrait of a writer’s life. Follow the personality, benefit from the wisdom and the sound advice of this novelist as he takes you on a journey to successful writing, with his unique blend of masterful technique verified with sound advice, and supported with his own personal experiences and excerpts from his novels.


You have been inspired; you now have the perfect idea for your novel. You, the aspiring writer will sit side by side with Sharlow as he personally guides you through the writing process step by step, including every stage in this labour of love, taking your idea to fruition with passion, compassion, and guidance on issues, ranging from setting up your own writing environment, to researching the book, to the development of your characters, reaching the final plateau of dealing with editors, publishers and critics.


Dare to dream your dream! WRITING THE NOVEL is not only an instructional way to create great literature, but it is insightful, engaging not only the pen of the aspiring writer, but the whole person.


Marie Blair






  Why the need to write such a book?

Since the publication of When Gods Were Slaves, my magnum opus, several professional people – journalists, teachers, artists, diplomats, literary critics, and professors of English have inquired: ‘How did you do it?’ The answer to such a question would require more than a single volume. Not being aware of modesty or the lack of it, I have answered invariably: ‘Should I be asked a thousand times, I suppose I shall give a thousand different replies.’ The attempt at writing what was originally titled, How to write a Novel is an attempt at replying to this embarrassing inquiry.

There are other reasons. Recently, a few individuals, teeming with enthusiasm and self-confidence, have asked me to appraise their manuscripts. Every man is a writer; I was appalled. Those who have found themselves in the similar situation of giving a critical appraisal of the novice’s work, know what it is to tell a lie. And to further that lie by having to encourage what they believe will never materialise into anything. By explaining how I arrived at creating the above novel, I hope also, to explain the requirements necessary to write a novel.

I too, have heard: ‘Those who wish for the defeat of their enemy are said to wish that he might write a book.’ And Herbert W. Bell has pointed out that to write a book and get it published is a pentathlon task. These are truths. And Michener’s words in the fifties are truer today than then: ‘In the world there are only a few authors, and out of those few only some make it.’

Quite apart from these truths, or rather, in addition to them, the distinguished Guyanese poet and author, Martin Carter, in Kyk-Over-Al has confessed that to write a novel requires a special kind of talent, something he does not possess! I have never quite accepted that, but I suppose I am least in a position to see. In any case, ‘genius is not only born but made.’

During my twenty years of full-time writing, I have come across several pertinent aphorisms which turned out to be partly true. To be partly true, as will be seen, is to be wholly false. Maxims such as: ‘It is better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.’ Or: ‘The only people who have failed are those who have not striven,’ I shall expose to be self-delusions. I say this so that the aspirant would take nothing for granted but be eternally wary.

Another truth owed to Hindu philosophy: There are three ways to find God; one is through your work. The achievement of a condition of grace while writing my magnum opus, offered me an experience with the Divine. A state I shall attempt later to explain.

Finally, if the author is an instrument of God, the possibility of failure can never exist.




A brief glimpse into the authorial world of Sharlow, revealed through Writing the Novel or What is required to write the Novel.

Excerpt: The power to empathise absolutely gives you the power to create. It is also the real beginning of the Author’s knowledge, for along the way truth is exposed through humanity, and through the motives of men and nations alike.

By absolute empathy I mean the ability to give of yourself, to become wholly and absolutely each and every character you create, and thus to share in their joys and their sorrows, their disappointments and their victories, ‘their emotional conflicts and the manner in which these are resolved.’

By empathisation I became African, living in Africa, 1798. And I became Africa too, the mountains and the rivers, the forests and the beasts, the people and their culture.

I blew life into my characters and began their journey. With the history of imperial Europe, and the history of Nigeria, with the philosophy of the scholar Abiola Irele, and the Yoruba religion of the late Professor Omosade Awolalu and his wife, Bosede; with a million articles and a thousand thoughts, and with the mere perspective of ‘returning the pride and dignity of the African, defamed through the system of slavery’ for draft, it was difficult even for the master puppeteer to put the pieces together coherently.

Of absolutes and significance.

‘In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God; and the word was God. And the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst men.’

‘The chief glory of every people arises out of its authors.’ Samuel Johnson.

‘The question of all questions is this: How can you wish to know that which you do not know to exist?’ Sharlow

‘We write and we learn. We learn and we write.’ Sharlow

Only the author can be a critic, the critic never the Author.’ Sharlow.

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