February 16, 2012

Interesting entry: THE MAN IN THE BACK SEAT 2


Hi everyone, today I post another entry for my YOUR TURN challenge, it was sent in by Kate who has a great blog! I am featuring it because she took it to a whole new twist! You’ll see- enjoy her version!


HER STORY

I walked ahead of the man who stood at the bus stop waiting for a taxi so I could stop one first. Bending down to adjust my shoe, I didn’t see a green coloured taxi approach. Before I could, the man stopped it and slid into the backseat. I let out a hiss as I watched them go. Suddenly the car stopped in its tracks and reversed to a stop in front of me.

"I am heading to Zone 6, can I drop you off somewhere?" the man in the backseat asked.

I got in.

"My name is Ikenna, what's yours?

“Susan". I lied.

"Do you live around here" he inquired.

"Why do you ask?" I demanded. 

“Er, I was just asking" he responded and then fell silent.

Fishing for a comb in my bag, I started to brush my hair briskly. I extended my arm too far and my elbow hit his face.

"Aw" he grimaced holding his face.

"Did I hit your eye?" I asked with concern.

He glared at me. I could see his left eye was beginning to water.

"No, you didn't".

I was sorry and I told him. We didn’t say much else till I got off at my stop.

Later I and my team went for a presentation in a company whose account I was vying for. We were ushered into the boardroom and told the key decision maker would join us soon.

Minutes later, the door opened to admit a tall frame. It was the man in the taxi, Ikenna.

I froze.



HIS STORY

I didn’t notice her at first. It wasn’t that she wasn’t the sort of person you would notice, it was simply that I had never been familiar with her back before. When I turned at the small, but angrily emitted hiss that occurred as I got into the taxi I hadn’t been expecting us to come face to face. It’s odd seeing someone you’ve been stalking on the internet an hour previously in the flesh. Her two-inch square photo in her online profile didn’t do her justice.

"I am heading to Zone 6; can I drop you off somewhere?" I asked.

I introduced myself as she climbed in, wondering if she’d recognize my name. She didn’t.

“Susan” she said her name was. I knew it wasn’t. Well, I thought, two can play at that game.

"Do you live around here?"

"Why do you ask?"

We fell into that awkward yet dignified silence that strangers share. That was until her elbow whipped me in the eye, bringing a stream of stinging tears.

"Did I hit your eye?"

I took a sharp breath. "No, you didn't". It wasn’t that I was particularly upset, I was frustrated. This initial meeting had the potential to set up the tone for the meeting ahead. Luckily, she seemed to relax a little as the journey progressed. She began to tell me about work.

“My client has a reputation for being a difficult person, not to mention he’s a womanizer.”

This was perfect. I laughed charmingly. She had smudged a small red blotch on her nose as she was adjusting her makeup and so it only made sense to assist. Physical contact.

Undoubtedly, it wouldn’t be me overly embarrassed by this eventful journey. I had my advantage.
                                                   
                                                                    THE END
Read the winning entry here

February 13, 2012

Winning entry: THE MAN IN THE BACK SEAT 2



I threw a challenge to readers to rewrite a story I had written from the point of view of another character in it, if you missed it, see it here. I got interesting responses which I will feature today and Thursday but my winning entry was from Adebisi whose entry is featured today! Thank you to everyone who sent their entry! I hope you enjoy both points of view!


HER STORY

I walked ahead of the man who stood at the bus stop waiting for a taxi so I could stop one first. Bending down to adjust my shoe, I didn’t see a green coloured taxi approach. Before I could, the man stopped it and slid into the backseat. I let out a hiss as I watched them go. Suddenly the car stopped in its tracks and reversed to a stop in front of me.

"I am heading to Zone 6, can I drop you off somewhere?" the man in the backseat asked.

I got in.

"My name is Ikenna, what's yours?

“Susan". I lied.

"Do you live around here" he inquired.

"Why do you ask?" I demanded. 

“Er, I was just asking" he responded and then fell silent.

Fishing for a comb in my bag, I started to brush my hair briskly. I extended my arm too far and my elbow hit his face.

"Aw" he grimaced holding his face.

"Did I hit your eye?" I asked with concern.

He glared at me. I could see his left eye was beginning to water.

"No, you didn't".

I was sorry and I told him. We didn’t say much else till I got off at my stop.

Later I and my team went for a presentation in a company whose account I was vying for. We were ushered into the boardroom and told the key decision maker would join us soon.

Minutes later, the door opened to admit a tall frame. It was the man in the taxi, Ikenna.

I froze.



HIS STORY:

I watched her make her way to the bus stop in such a hurry. “Well”, I thought, “it’s rush hour and everyone is trying to make it somewhere in good time”. And then she stopped suddenly, bending over to fiddle with her shoes, just then I see a taxi coming along and flag it down…

“Hey driver, hold it. Go back to where that lady in the green dress is standing”.  She looked surprised to see the taxi come back, and then I ask if I could drop her off somewhere along my route.  We drove off and I look towards her 

“I am Ikenna, and you are?”

“Susan” she said.

“Do you live around here?” I asked.

“Why do you ask?” she replied. She must think I am interested in her.

“Just asking” I replied.

She brought out a hair brush and started brushing her hair.

“She must be trying to impress me now” I thought. 

And then a thud on my face from her over extended arm.

“Aw” I exclaim.

“Oh, did I hit your eye?” she asked.

“And what did she think she hit” I thought, “a statue”?

“No you didn’t” I said with a watery left eye.

She lowered her arm, stopped brushing and said “I am sorry”.

No need to respond, let’s just drop you off at your stop.

Its 11:55am, I am told the representatives of the marketing company are already waiting for me in the boardroom. I open the door to the boardroom to see two ladies seated, one has her head buried in some materials. I thought I had seen that green dress before, and then she looks up…it’s the lady from the taxi this morning.  

Susan! 


February 01, 2012

INTERVIEW: MYNE WHITMAN



"Writing under a pen name gives me the freedom to write with less worry that readers think my books are about my personal life, or about my friends and the people close to me"    - Myne Whitman

Blogging…
I usually try to start early because I live in a far corner of the world. I get my morning stuff done, and then write on the manuscript I have in progress for a couple of hours or so. After that, I do some other personal stuff and get to blog rounds and my book promotion for about three hours. I also make sure my website, naijastories is online, I schedule and edit stories that will go up, and sometimes leave reviews/comments on certain submissions.

Her Readers…
When I first started to write, it was just for myself, and something I felt my friends and family would enjoy. When I decided to take writing seriously, my first instinct was to write for a particular agent or publisher, however blogging changed all that. Because my blog received an immediate feedback to the snippets I posted, I realized that I have to write for the readers. And since then, I have become used to it, and in fact, it boosts my creativity and the drive to satisfy what they want. 

Being a Nigerian writer…
I definitely felt the effects of the gap in opportunities available to a Nigerian writer. I tried to find a publisher for some of the stories I wrote while in University and hit a brick wall. There were only a couple of publishers in the market then and they weren’t taking any new manuscripts. Till date, things haven’t changed much.

To be honest, I won’t say moving outside the country has really impacted my writing so much. For instance, I was blogging back in Nigeria in 2005 and posting my poetry online, even though I was accessing the internet through the cyber cafĂ©. The main impact on my writing was deciding to do it full time. This gave me the latitude to do more research and find out more about the options available.

Online self-publishing for example is available from Nigeria and has been used by Nigerian authors since 2001, many of those books are still for sale on Amazon.com till date. It was when I had all this information that I was motivated to be the one to determine my own writing career rather than forever waiting for a publisher. 

Being rejected by publishers…
It made me realize that I wasn’t into writing for validation from publishers, and that as I had already known, I don’t like taking no for an answer. I like pushing through walls and the stumbling block from these initial channels only helped motivate me to find and or develop alternative ways by myself.

That was one of my most favorite times in the blogging community, but also a lot of hard work. The experience taught me that I could actually turn this blogging hobby of mine into something professional. It started from discussions with my husband on what to do on my blog while waiting for the publication of my first book.  I brought up the idea of an interactive story, and together we fashioned out the guidelines and story. (When asked what she loves about writing poems for her husband she said it  makes her heart go kpokpodikpo, and kedike! lol!)

It was very encouraging that when I called for submissions, there was an influx of interest. I coordinated by responding promptly to inquiries, checking out the blogs/writing samples of those interested, bringing them up to date on the story so far, and editing their final submissions to ensure continuity. From my blog, we moved to a dedicated website which I promoted to ensure we had good reach. It was an intensive but fulfilling experience, especially knowing that till date; more than a thousand copies of the free eBook have been downloaded.


Writers use the platform for peer review and as a networking community. Most of the members aspire to be authors and realize that their first draft may not be as good as it should. They post their stories so that other writers can critique and review them. They go away with this feedback to redraft and edit their manuscripts. We also have a lot of editors, literary agents, publishers and journalists as members.  They either use the admin of the site as a conduit to offer opportunities to the writers or they approach them directly through our private messaging service. 

We currently have our stories running in a newspaper in Lagos, as well as being read on radio. This spreads the name of the writers and for some, this is their dream – to be read or heard by an audience bigger than they can imagine. Other ways it has helped is by serving as an online portfolio of writing. One of our members was recently accepted for a creative writing and journalism course at an Australian University after he sent a link of his author page on Naijastories to the admission officials. By also being on our email list, our registered members receive regular updates of writing news, including publishing opportunities, writing tips, and contests.


A Love Rekindled
ALR is a book that made me cry while writing it, and some of the readers have wrote in that they felt the same way too. The love in A Love Rekindled is very intense and heart breaking at the same time as uplifting. I think readers would enjoy the emotional experience of this version of love as well as learn some history and background of Nigeria.

Handling Criticism…
 It never gets easier, lol. The last bad review I got was on Amazon, and I wanted to knock my head on the wall. However, it helps to have other things to take your mind off it… And what can I say, it keeps selling J

It is a definitely a possibity and one I’m really looking forward to…, I already have my ideas on the actors and how I want it to be. What I usually do in such instances is begin to plan, I start laying down action plans, searching out gatekeepers (if any), and calculating resources and so on that would be necessary to accomplish such a goal.

Trivia

She studied biological sciences as her first degree (same as me) and her project work was on the common beans weevil- Callosobrochus Maculatus.I researched on the effect the weevil had on different varieties of cowpea” she says.
                                        

                    





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