C. M. Okonkwo is a Nigerian writer who grew up in Lagos and moved to France in 2005 to study. C. M. Okonkwo’s writing ideas and style are inspired by experiences gained in Nigeria, France, Switzerland, the UK, and several other countries.
What inspires you to write?
“All the ideas and stories packed up in my brain, preventing it from resting” is what inspires me to write. Sometimes my brain refuses to shut down until I’ve written myself into a stupor.
I’ve concluded that my brain is special because it works 24/7. When I go to bed, I continue from where I left off in my dream. If something interesting comes up, I can wake up and type it on my phone so that I don’t forget it.
Funny inspiration, right?
Tell us about your writing process.
When I get a new idea, I start by writing the plot, which for me includes the beginning, the middle, and the ending. Then I start developing each section I’ve outlined.
My characters come in during the writing. I never have a list of characters before I start writing. Some of them even come in, or go off after I’m done with the first draft. It depends on how the story goes and if I decide to make some changes or add some extra details.
I wish I had some sort of drawing board to outline important elements, but for now, I use a lot of printing paper to draw up events, scenarios, characters, connections and dialogues.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I always interact with my characters: I ask them if they are okay with their roles, sometimes I ask why they do some of the things they do or what they think should happen next.
If I have to kill off a character, I must talk to them about it first, then apologize in advance. Especially if it’ll be a painful death.
What advice would you give other writers?
Before you start writing your book, think about setting a goal!
Some goals force you to be more imaginative and creative in order to reach them. For example, you can decide to write six days a week and at least 500words a day; you can decide to have at least five pages per chapter and complete one chapter a day. It all depends on how far you can push yourself, and what is realistic to you.
It takes self-discipline to write, and setting a goal can help you achieve that. Otherwise, you’ll just say tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes.
I recently started using a Magic Spreadsheet to track my progress, and so far it’s been so good.
I invite authors to check it out here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuJYB0PFc5jOdG9QbmozY3lrbHA4LW15N1libjlJM3c#gid=0
It’s simple to use, if you just follow the instructions.
Good luck 🙂
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I researched on the different types of publishing, and also asked a few people for advice. But the reviews and feedback I saw online by some authors influenced my final decision.
I decided to self publish.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I read an article on the future of book publishing a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t agree more. In order not to repeat it word for word, I invite you to read it here: http://fr.slideshare.net/Smashwords/the-future-of-book-publishing-15553248
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
What formats are your books in?