WRITING THE NOVEL or A TOUCH OF GRACE
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.’
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.
brief glimpse into the authorial world of Sharlow, revealed through Writing
the Novel or What is required to write the Novel.
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.’
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
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.
absolutes and significance.
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.’
chief glory of every people arises out of its authors.’ Samuel Johnson.
question of all questions is this: How can you wish to know that which you do
not know to exist?’ Sharlow
write and we learn. We learn and we write.’ Sharlow
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