CULTURE PAGE

ASPIRING TO BE AN AUTHOR?

You want to be a novelist? Then you must learn how to read. Read those novels that critics consider well written and those they judge as badly written and find out why. Remember one thing though, every writer has a reason for writing—a message he/she wants to impart to the world. What’s the message?

In my book, Omezue, the Complete Achiever, Volume One of the Victims Series, the story is about the slave trade, the devastation that that ignoble trade caused as it swept across Igbo. It beams the searchlight on a fictitious city-state in Igbo land called Uwa and the elders’ battle to survive that trade. In addition to the slave trade is another crisis—the gods that is supposed to protect them is killing them. Can the gods be pointing at a hidden crime? The second crisis introduces a major sub-theme—bad leadership.

True a lot has been written about the slave trade in history books, but to my mind, enough is yet be said of the havoc it left behind in the land from where the slaves were taken—the anguish, the trauma, the suffering.

Now remember Omezue, the Complete Achiever is a historical fiction. A historical fiction writer needs to know that aspect of history he/she wants to depict very, very well. So, there’s need for serious research.

That brings me to another very crucial aspect a historical writer needs to bear in mind—culture. Is the story about a specific people at a point in time? What do you know about their culture at that time—their value system then, their symbols then, and things that differentiated them from other peoples at that time—because culture is not static, it is dynamic?

Writing a book which is set in the mid-nineteenth Igbo land as I did, I knew a lot must have changed since then. Writing about that time I had to know of the existing culture to avoid committing blunders and making misrepresentations.

Again, a writer has to pick an aspect to highlight and study it very well. For instance, I zeroed into a specific aspect of Igbo culture. You can’t write about everything, no one book can do that. In Omezue, the Complete Achiever, Volume One of the Victims Series, the focus is on the omume title-taking in Afikpo society, an Igbo community. What differentiates Afikpo from other Igbo?

In other Igbo communities Ozo title is the highest and last titles any Igbo man can take, but in Afikpo it is the Omume title. It is a rare achievement, the acculmunation of life long acchievements. Only one or two men or women in any generation ever achieved it. When achieved, it places the person above the realm of corporeal institutions, becoming one with the ancestors, and cannot sacrifice, or be sacritied for, commanding respect and reverence.

Another thing an aspiring writer has to ask himself is—Is the message strong enough to carry the story? That is why Omezue is not just about omume title-taking in Afikpo. I had to create complications for the protagonist, Okaomie, to surmount to reach his goal to become—an Omezue, the Complete Achiever. I had to give him a worthy mission to accomplish. So I had to make the title omezue synonymous with death and disaster for his family.FAN PAGE IMAGE

Will he survive? Why don’t you find out in: Omezue, the Complete Achiever, Volume One of the Victims Series. … for more go to … ABOUT THE BOOK: OMEZUE, THE COMPLETE ACHIEVER, VOLUME ONE OF THE VICTIMS SERIES.

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Above: An Omezue celebrant answering to the call of the Ikoro drum, the drum of heroes, the drum of braves.  

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