BY THE BOOK: Glory Abah - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

BY THE BOOK: Glory Abah


Glory Abah is a Nigerian writer and a creative writing coach. She writes fiction and teaches writers on how they can tell better stories. Glory, who is also the ambassador for Love Africa Press (a publisher based in London) in Nigeria, hosts an annual Writers’ Event during the South-South Media Week in Nigeria. She regularly contributes articles to Bellanaija, a popular entertainment website in Nigeria. The 28-year old writer studied Mass Communication at Rivers State University.
Please summarise your published works
Damona and Other Stories is a collection of short stories ranging from paranormal to romance.
Destination teaches self-awareness and safety. It is a story about three children who get kidnapped by a close family friend and find themselves caught by a gang of organ harvesters. I wrote it at a time when news on kidnap and abuse by close family friends was common.
Christian, Nigerian and Feminist is an essay about Feminism and the Christian, Nigerian woman.
The Ones in My Head revolve around Ego, a girl with multiple personality disorder on the run from a past she cannot remember. It is a story with major slips into different personas. I penned it to provide alternative explanations to various uncommon and seemingly ‘crazy’ behaviour exhibited by people around us.
Diary of a Wallflower is about Glory Owhor, a wallflower who suddenly finds herself in a love triangle between her high school boyfriend and her best friend.
How did you come to start writing?
Right from childhood, I was always a voracious reader. By the time I graduated from the university, I discovered I had stories living wildly in my imagination. I began to talk about writing stories but never actually did it. So after my pastor challenged me to write on social media, I wrote my very first story and posted it on my Facebook group. I got several positive feedback and hence, I began writing professionally.
When you started writing, what was your greatest hurdle?
Consistency and publishing. I could hardly find time to write. And I did not know anything about publishing. So I had manuscripts gathering dust.
How do you approach teaching others to tell better stories?
When teaching, I always make sure that the process will highlight the student's strength. Recently, I had a student who said he writes fiction. I got his manuscript and realised that he can write non-fiction much better than he does fiction. He had a natural skill with non-fiction. I was able to get him to realise that and he is now focusing on harnessing his strength. That is my first goal when I have a new student.
Which lesson have you learnt while teaching others?
I have learned to manage my expectations. This is because I have come across four types of writers; the talented ones who are not willing to grow, the unskilled ones who are willing to grow, the average ones who do not want to take correction, and the talented ones who are willing to grow.
Having written across genres, which did you find challenging?
I don't really have a problem with any genre. The only challenge I may experience would be having to research when writing about topics I am not familiar with.
What role has research played in your writing?
Research plays a huge role. It would be appalling if your story is riddled with untruths and inconsistencies that a simple research would have fixed. I am always conscious of reviewers and the fact that my book could fall into the hands of a professional of the topic I am writing about. So I try to get my facts right.
Your take on writers writing only what they are familiar with?
I don't advise writers to only write what they are familiar with because they are only familiar with a very tiny fragment of the world. I always advise them to seek bigger and newer topics to explore. Think of Marvel and DC Comics. If they wrote only what they were familiar with, they would not make global box office movies that thrills the entire world or the billions they have. So pursue what you don't know expressly, seek to understand it, then bend it however you want in your writing. That's why we are considered gods.
Do you have favourite books or authors?
They are too many to mention all; too numerous to count please. I read every single day so I have come across so many awesome writers. It breaks my heart to answer this question because I would not be able to mention them all. Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus; Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and books by Sophie Kinsella and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

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