BOOK REVIEWS start on demilhadey.com!

Issa Book Review series with Charles Kadib…

How many books have you read this year, guys?

1, 2?

Okay, well, I have good news for you!

I want to help you double those numbers!


With a new book review section on this blog, of course.

You must have heard me (sorry, read me 😋) say countless times: A good writer is one who reads and reads until he cannot but write. Do you agree?


The first post in this series is on the book: The Litigators by John Grisham.



Enjoy!


………………


John Grisham’s The Litigators will resound with many people who toil week to week at a job they absolutely detest; those who put in all those long hours and all the while dream of a time when they would no longer have to face another dreary monday morning.

It follows the protagonist, David Zinc, who one day freezes at the entrance of his office; paralysed with the fear of facing another day of gruelling unpleasantness and at the same unnerved by the prospect of quitting and losing his only source of income.
The book at first flashes back and forth between the day he has, after he practically runs away from his job, and those of two other lawyers at a decrepit law firm which David ultimately gravitates towards.

The three men join forces to sue a huge pharmaceutical company with huge dreams of landing a large settlement and the resultant events spirals into a tale of selfishness, greed, sloppiness laced with humour and a constant undercurrent of tragedy. All three of the major characters are pathetic in one way or the
other.

There is the senior partner Finley with an unagreeable wife who hates and is hated by everybody and whom Finley secretly wishes dead, there is the junior partner Figg who is described as “always being on a countdown of some sort”. In fact as the story opens, he counting down to when his driving license would be reactivated due to a drunk driving incidence. He is also counting days of being sober.

David, the lead protagonist is probably the most stable of all the characters as he is hampered with neither an unbearable wife nor a drinking problem. But his confusion and constant bewilderement for most part of the book is both painful and comic to watch. As he gains confidence however, he becomes assertive and in the end saves the firm from ruin. Yet despite their diverse backgrounds, they all share the singular interest of longing for a better life. Reading the book, I was however struck by three important lessons that sprang from how the characters
reacted to their dreams:

1. Never settle
Finley’s greatest problem in the book is that he never seems willing
to move outside his comfort zone, he is reluctant to take any sort of
chance and as a result, he is probably the most miserable character in
the book.
His other two associates on the other hand are always on the go. Figg
in his clumsy reckless manner and David with his calculated steps.
Their various attempts drive the story and each of them will
eventually drag the firm either way. The most important thing about
them however is the movement, their emphatic rejection and a strong
unwillingness to settle for a life that made them constantly
miserable.

2. Hard work ALWAYS comes before success
Of the three major characters, Figg is the most ambitious. He works tirelessly, dreams of the big cases, advertises shamelessly as far as the firm’s budget permits and is never out of courage and energy. However, his sloppiness, hastiness, and ineptitude at due diligence not only crushes all his hopes of “hitting it big” but also drags his partners into an unimaginable financial mess.

Au contraire, David’s case which pulls his partners out of their disaster is a case that was built prudently and diligently. He turns over each stone meticulously and it is no surprise he scores where Figg fails.

3. Make your own luck
David’s case which was built with all care, succeeded because of one major ingredient.

Unlike the impatient Figg who was ready to drop the case, David spends months patiently combing shops and other likely places in search of his missing link. He builds his case at great personal expense as the firm was more interested in a suit that ultimately crumbles. He eventually finds it through a lucky chance; but it is his persistence and belief which made it so.

In the end, there is no good luck or bad luck; we all make our own luck and we do that only if we never give up trying.


Did you enjoy this review?


If yes, tell us in the comments! If no, still tell us, let’s make the next one much better for you.

Also, scroll to the bottom of this page to follow demilhadey.com for more reviewssss. 😊


To get this book Charles reviewed, you can buy it  from Roving Heights, a Lagos bookstore here.


Or on Amazon here.

Writing – A Hobby or a Job?

This is the endless debate. 

To some, writing is a thankless job. A personal hobby that deserves only oohs and aaahs. ‘Oh, your words are so moving’ is basically what they feel writing deserves.

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Image from etsy.com

And for another set, its the far opposite. They are writing mercenaries. You pay, I write. Some even go on to do quite aggressive ‘copying and pasting’ from the net to meet up with the numerous jobs they take on. They are willing to dip their hand in every writing pie as long as long as it will pay the bills.

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Says the mercenary writer.

I don’t take sides. But I will simply advocate a balance and share what has worked considerably for me. Do note.

1. The mercenary is a Jack of all trades and master of none. His knowledge of writing is only as deep as the job of the moment requires him to. The hobbyist is a full-time pleasure reader; this pays off in the long run, but his skill still remains blunt somewhat as he isn’t deliberate in learning the do’s and don’ts of WRITING.

Balance: Do it for the craft. Do it for the job. But make sure that you are developing your writing skills constantly, job or not.

2. The mercenary writer soon overburdens himself. Since, his biggest motivation is the money, he will take on any job, as long as it pays, and he or she soon finds out he . The hobbyist doesn’t even know people pay for written content. he is content in his non-profit bubble.

Balance: Pick an area of writing expertise and focus your strength there. Explore, but do not spread yourself too thin across different jobs. Understand that good content (spoken or written) is what sells and earns. Understand that good content brings monetary profit. Treat it with such value.

3. The mercenary most likely understands that words shape societies and charges appropriately. The hobbyist writer is ignorant of this. he does not know fully the power of words.  Written words are ‘personal’, he or she says.

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Image from etsy.com

Balance: I agree with the mercenary. Charge appropriately, except in cases you choose not to.

So, which one are you: MERCENARY or HOBBYIST? What steps will you take to create a balance if you are on either of these extremes now? Share with me in the comments!

*******************************************************************

Also, if you learnt something from this post, please share with someone.

I know most people don’t share because they feel that us bloggers don’t need their “tiny” social share. But here’s the truth…

I built this blog piece by piece, one small share at a time, and will continue to do so. So thank you so much for your support, my reader.

Some great suggestions:
– Share it to your favorite Facebook group
– Tweet it!
– Share the link on Whatsapp too!

It won’t take more than 10 seconds of your time. The share buttons are right below the post.

Follow this blog by email (for more writing tidbits!) by scrolling to the end of the post page and entering your email

Want to reach out to me? Do so at demilhadey@gmail.com

 

5 Books to Kick Off Your 2018 Reading Resolutions

Farafina Books

2018 is the year to read more, isn’t it?

This tweet by Wale Lawal proves this much, with its many retweets and likes.

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However, it can also be overwhelming to decide which books to start with. Especially books that will keep you asking for more.

So, here are 4 books to start your New Year book resolutions with, especially if you are looking to read more African literature.

1. Yewande Omotoso: The Woman Next Door

In her novel, Yewande writes about two prickly old women, one black and one white, who discover, after 20 years of exchanging digs and insults, that they might help each other.

Hortensia and Marion are anything but friends and would like it to remain that way. But then a repair project leaves Hortensia with a broken leg and Marion in need of temporary housing.

Published by Kachifo Limited under its Farafina imprint, this is one…

View original post 272 more words

How Flexible is Your Writing Style?

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Image Credit: Caitlin Mitchell

In my years of young experience in writing content for individual client, I have learnt one thing – FLEXIBILITY.

So, picture this scenario. Writer A writes poems a lot. He shares these poems on Instagram and has a following; lots of people are wowed by his poetic skill.

So, an individual approaches Writer A and asks if he can produce content for an animation video script. Writer A rejects the offfer. He is a poet, he says.

Meanwhile, Writer B who is also a poet is approached by the same brand. Writer B accepts the offer and goes on to research about he can tweak his already-present writing skill to suit the animation script.

Writer B is flexible. And that is the stuff great content writers are made of.

There is no content that you cannot write if you have the basic writing skills down pat, and are willing to research.

No Content.

Now, how to be a flexible writer…

Explore new interests

Even if you are the slightest interested in something you wrote keep practicing it until you get better. Passion plays a big role and how we develop our skills.

I, for one, once tried my hand at fiction writing (yay!) with this re-told Bible story here.

Yes, I did have to stretch myself and go beyond my comfort zone of the usual poem and straightforward content, and I sure was happy to have completed it. I even sent it in as a submission for the Farafina Creative Writing workshop, but that’s another story for another day (LOL. Like, who sends in a bible story?).

If  when you try, you see that you’re not that good at that form of writing, that isn’t a sign to give up (just yet). Keep working at it and soon, you’ll become a writer of many trades.

Take on new challenges/ varying opportunities
You don’t want to be a stiff writer who only sticks to one thing and masters that one talent.

Challenge yourself to make your writing better by engaging in writing exercises (on the internet and offline too). Find new ways via Google to get your creative juices flowing and test your writing skills. Don’t just stick to one aspect of writing that you’re good at but explore more and become good at those too.

Use writing prompts

A writing prompt is a brief passage of text that provides a potential topic idea or starting point for an original essay, report, journal entry, story, poem, or other form of writing. Photographs and works of art can also serve as writing prompts.

The aim of a writer prompt is to stir up an initial idea in the writer’s head and which then allows him or her tell the rest of the story or essay on his or her own. An example:

Imagine you have just one day left to live. Write a 300-word good-bye letter to your best friend. 

See? A writing prompt opens up your mind to possibilities with interesting or intriguing topic ideas.

Wondering how to find writing prompts?
Just Google it up. Select great ones, and…write!

References: 

Becoming A Flexible Writer by Shaquanda Dalton.  http://learnasyouwrite.com/becoming-a-flexible-writer/

https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/just-does-content-writer-anyway-113538300.html

 

 

Dear Writer: Skills You Shouldn’t Leave in 2017.

How is the writing journey so far, guys?

Its amazing how you can chart the course of your writing this New Year by simply setting some relevant and simple goals for your writing platforms this year.

I, for one, plan to take on more coacheea for my writing trainings. No more excuses, I have told myself.  (If you want to up your writing game by taking some of my writing courses, say ‘Aye’ in the comments so we can talk!  😊)

Thinking of those ‘Write’ goals yet? 😏

While you do that, here’s a must-read article on Copyblogger on the skills you, as a writer, must definitely go for in 2018.

Read the juicy post here!

P.S Remember to follow this blog so you can automatically be alerted when I share something new. 

Use the social media share buttons below and share with someone you know who needs this!

4 Books You Should Curl Up with Before the Holidays Are Over!

As sweet as African cherry stinging the insides of your mouth cheeks, these books can only make your holidays sweeter….

Here they are:

1. When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Arimah.

(Image by Tope Owolabi)

This book of short stories would shake you up, then calm you down. Its the perfect jolt your calm holiday needs. 😁

You can get this book at Terra Kulture, VI, on okadabooks.com OR on Amazon. 

2. Memoirs of a Professional Bridesmaid by Nneka Ijeoma.

It’s wedding season. Or at least, a lot of weddings are slated to happen in the next few weeks.

(Image from BellaNaija.com)

This 146-paged book of humour will help you take these events more lightly. Don’t blame me if you laugh out loud in public while reading this book o! 

You can get this book on okadabooks.com

3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

Someone once told me that classics are the best reads during the holidays. Especially when that classic so aptly captures the reason we celebrate Christmas – God’s relentless love. if you’re having a hard time learning to deal with your loud, boisterous and colourful family this holiday, this tale of love is for you.

You can get this book at any Christian bookstore around you.

4. The Gift for All People: Thoughts on God’s Great Grace by Max Lucado.

One reader had this to say about it: “A wonderful book, simple in its delivery but profound in meaning. The message that God loves me and wants me for his child was just the message I needed to hear today.I had read and reread several chapters many times before I finally finished this book. Mr. Lucado makes God’s love for all of us truly “The Gift for all people”. I will definitely purchase several copies for friends.”

This is a book filled with beautiful, easy-to-read musings and poems that create the imagery of God’s love exhibited in Christ – Christmas.

You can get this book on Amazon on at De Prince Supermarket, Gbagada, Lagos

I enjoyed it, you will too!

I hope you get the books on this list and indeed, spice up your holiday!

WAW: Writer Advice Wednesday

My writer pick today is Max Lucado

Here’s a rich, luscious excerpt of Max’s writing advice:

‘I came to believe this much: good words are worth the work. Well-written words can change a life. Words go where we never go. Africa. Australia. Indonesia. My daughter was in Bangalore, India, last summer and saw my books in the display window of a shop.

Written words go to places you’ll never go. . . . and descend to depths you’ll never know.

The readers invite the author to a private moment. They clear the calendar, find a corner, flip on the lamp, turn off the television, pour the tea, pull on the wrap, silence the dog, shoo the kids. They set the table, pull out the chair, and invite you, “Come, talk to me for a moment.”

And when it’s time to write, write with clarity. Good writing reflects clear thinking. Here’s a tip: Cherish clarity. Make it your aim to summarize the entire book in one sentence. Distill the message into a phrase, and protect it. Stand guard. Defy interlopers. No paragraph gets to play unless it contributes to the message of the book.

Follow the example of John a writer of one of the Bible’s Gospels. Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus ( John 20:30–31 CEV).

John self-edited. He auditioned his stories to fit the manuscript. He littered his floor with edited paragraphs. Good writers do this. They tap the Delete button and distill the writing.

They bare-bones and bare-knuckle it. They cut the fat and keep the fact. Concise (but not cute). Clear (but not shallow). Enough (but not too much). Make every word earn its place on the page. Not just once or twice, but many times. Sentences can be like just-caught fish—spunky today and stinky tomorrow.

Reread until you’ve thrown out all the stinkers. Rewrite until you have either a masterpiece or an angry publisher. Revise as long as you can. “God’s words are pure words, pure silver words refined seven times in the fires of his word-kiln” (Psalm 12:6 MSG).

Ernest Hemingway espoused rewriting: “I rise at first light . . . and I start by rereading and editing everything I have written to the point I left off. That way I go through a book I’m writing several hundred times . . . Most writers slough off the toughest but most important part of their trade—editing their stuff, honing it and honing it until it gets an edge like the bullfighter’s estoque, the killing sword.” Describing A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway said, “I had rewritten the ending thirty-nine times in manuscript and . . . worked it over thirty times in proof, trying to get it right.”

I find it helps to read the work out loud. First to myself, then to anyone who is kind enough to listen. I vary the locations of the reading. What sounds good in the study must sound good on the porch. What sounds good to me must sound good to my editors. Sure, editing hurts. So does a trip to the dentist. But someone needs to find the cavities.’

Read the full article at maxlucado.com/writing-corner-tips-tools-aspiring-authors-artists/)

Canva; Graphic Design tool for ‘un-artistic’ writers

So you have a blog. You need a header banner.

You just finished compiling an e-book resource. You need a cover.

You want to take your writing services to the pro level. (I can help you with improving your writing game, get in touch btw. :)) You need a business card.

But you’re a word’ person. Being visual isn’t your thing? Hire a graphic designer? Definitely. But what if your budget can’t handle it right now?

Then, try Canva.

Canva-2

Canva is a free, online graphic design tool that you can use to create book covers, business cards, social media banners, logos, flyers, posters, brochures, infographics and yes, even digital holiday cards.

There is Canva for Android (Yay!), Canva for IOS and for desktop. It provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals, and the tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.

Canva started back in 2007 when Melanie Perkins, one of the founders, was studying at the University of Western Australia. Melanie taught students how to use programs such as InDesign and Photoshop — programs that people found hard to learn and even harder to use.
After coming up an idea for an online tool to create school yearbooks (probably an earlier version of the now-Canva), Melanie and Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht took out a loan and brought in a great tech team and started their own company.

The website rapidly became popular, with more than 750,000 users in its first year. Social-media and technology expert Guy Kawasaki joined the company as chief evangelist in April 2014.

And maybe you already know about Canva. But were probably turned off because they had no Android app.

Well, hello! Canva is finally available on Android. This move is indeed an eagerly anticipated one for users of the popular design application. Before now, Android users were confined to using the app only on desktop.


Canva for Android is available in 179 countries and 42 languages, eventually growing to 100 languages by the end of the year, according to the company.

As per Canva’s different offerings, the app is available in three tiers. It starts with Canva, which is “Forever Free”, followed by Canva for Work for $12.95 per user per month. If you want the Canva Enterprise version, you have to get in touch with the company.


Canva is extremely useful for designs for Small Businesses
The vast majority of small business owners wear many different hats when it comes to running the day-to-day operations of their company. Designing, publishing and posting images and other content on their websites, social media page and store has now become par for the course. Canva makes it much easier to carry out these tasks.

You can download the Canva app for all operating systems here .

Canva offers free step-by-step design tutorials that will take you through the design process.

Canva is my go-to graphic design app currently. What’s yours? Share them with me in the comments section! 🙂 🙂

Sources

http://www.techtoolsforwriters.com

Smallbiztrends.com

Canva.com

 

Hey Writers. Here are some writing tips for the New Year!

Ready to set the regular new year resolutions? Hold on first. New Writing Tips alert!

A content writer’s new year resolutions are different. This article here explains how to set such.

Now, to the business of this post *rubs palms together*

Ready?

Here are 5 Content Writing Directions to write on this new year.

1. ‘REFLECT’ articles.

You can start off with themes that resonate with the trend of planning for the new year. Writing on such themes are still interesting to your reader even up till March or the middle of the year! (shoutout to the late goal-setters 😄)

Here are a few examples:

  • Why do people make resolutions?
  • How can you improve your life in 2018.

        2. Listicles

        They’re among the most popular articles online, used by Buzzfeed, NY Times, and the average blogger in your neighborhood (☺)

        A listicle is an article written as a list, sometimes in bullet points.

        They have their pros and cons as seen below, but still, they rock and are an instant eye catcher.

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        But let’s face it, people love to read listicles. It’s not just a trend. It’s scientifically proven!

        That’s why the article you’re reading right now is a listicle. So, what listicles can you write that will benefit your audience greatly in the new year?

        3. Frequently asked questions

        FAQs. Be warned that posting answers to frequently asked questions online won’t stop people from asking anyway.

        They do, however, serve as a resource for people, and they are often featured on e-commerce websites—but overlooked on blogs. FAQs are blogging gold in any age.

        Google’s algorithm uses FAQs, questions, and other popular topics as part of its Knowledge Graph. If you’re lucky, you might score a top spot in this coveted place. So, write some FAQs in your field and post them today!

        4. People features

        Featuring select people—customers, professionals, authorities, leaders, etc.,—is a great way to add a personal touch to your blog/social media and create a sense of connection with your old and new readers.

        One of such blogs doing this today is Humans of New York.

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        Try featuring real people—including photos, quotes, and other personal information— to produce strong engagement with your audience.

        5. An open letter to your hero or life goal.

        Just like the Open Letter to Fela I wrote last month, you can have a regular schedule of writing open letters to popular people in your field or those your readers connect with. It might never get read by those actual people, but your audience is sure to love it.

        I said so.

        So, those are 5 easy content ideas to build your posts around this new year. Happy New Month again!


        Before you leave…

        If you liked this post, please share this?

        Seriously. It helps a lot with the growth of this blog.

        I know most people don’t share because they feel that us bloggers don’t need their “tiny” social share. But here’s the truth… 

        I built this blog piece by piece, one small share at a time, and will continue to do so. So thank you so much for your support, my reader.

        Still have a question? Reach me at demilhadey@gmail.com 

        What Women Want (Erm, I Meant Readers).

        I remember this old movie I watched a while back – What Women Want -where Mel Gibson, by a freak accident, gains the ability to read women’s minds. (If only it were possible, guys…If only.)

        At first, this “gift” provides Nick with way too much information, but he begins to realize that he can use it to good effect, especially when it comes to outwitting his new boss who is a woman.

        Now, what if you had that same super power? Read More