WRITITUDE: The Behavior of a Story and the Attitude of a Writer

There are certain behaviors that are expected from good stories, and there are attitudes that good writers should exhibit. Aside from the good attitudes of arrogance, pride and superiority, a good writer should also exhibit some other lesser qualities.  A story on its part should exhibit good home training qualities like disobedience, stubbornness and intolerance, alongside some other lesser courteous behaviours.

In these series, we will examine the attitudes and qualities a writer and his story should have if they must be noticed, and if they have any hopes and rights and claimancy to be termed a story or a writer.

These are my feelings, most of which I was born with and others I have garnered from writing and from reading others.  Note that I said feelings; most times it is all in the feel.  A story’s only fault, many times, is in the feel. It may look right and read right, but if it feels somehow and anyhow then it is not a good story. Good stories feel good.

If you spot any errors in these lectures of mine, please keep it to yourself and avoid interruption. I am only a critic, and a critic should not be criticized.

One of the attitudes a story and its writer should exhibit is:


This refers to the consistency of a story and consistency of a writer (to the craft).

A consistent story has no right to be deceitful. It is an offence for a story to exhibit duplicity and pretense.  A story must be based on facts. These facts may not have any business with truth. A premise does not have to be true; it only needs to be logical and correct. If a story does not logically follow a premise the story commits a fallacy of something or the other. The facts might either agree with real life situations or fictional situations as constructed by the writer in the story; but something must agree.

So if your story begins with a certain Monsuru, a Vulcanizer, who never had the time or privilege to attend formal school, and hence subsists without the use of English, the same Monsuru should not start speaking flawless English in the third paragraph or even the third chapter. An illiterate Vulcanizer should remain illiterate throughout the book. But if Monsuru suddenly comes into learning it would be lawful for the writer to remind us and furnish us with all the particulars of the feat.  Consistency makes a story believable. There is nothing as terrible as lying in fiction. Writers should never lie. They should be true to their fiction with explanation for any deviations.

For a story to be consistent, the writer should not get carried away with his imaginations and fly away with the story. A story should not run around and float aimlessly. Good stories start somewhere and travel and get to a particular destination, mostly on foot and never on wings. The whole journey should be retraceable. A story should never end in the sky, especially when the sky wasn’t the destination.

A consistent story requires that the reader can sufficiently guess and have ample warrant to expect what a particular character is likely to say in an emergency or when suddenly woken up. If you build a character well, the readers would know what he or she is capable of doing. People who are harmless docile characters should not be found in a story suddenly killing and raping and pillaging and destroying. Killers and villains should not suddenly become Christ and perform miracles of good deeds. Speaking of miracles, it would do a writer well to steer clear of miracles and focus directly on practicables and possibilities. If a story unfortunately behaves in a miraculous manner, the writer should endevour to render the miracle in as plausible a manner as possible. A suitable explanation for the miracle is important because miracles are believeable only by faith, and faith without proof is dead. But it is roughly safer not to perform miracles at all in a story.

If a writer’s character in a book cannot be recognized by anybody on the road when said character brushes past him in a hurry then that writer didn’t create a good character. A consistent story should have recognizable characters. Always, we meet characters from well written books on the road and instantly recognize them.  When Mark Twain finished with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry, I didn’t see them myself but the two characters were recognized everywhere in trains and places near where they lived. I have seen plenty Mallam Illiya’s from Ekwensi’s “Pasport  of Mallam Illiya”, I know Lakunle the teacher, I know Chike of the river, I have seen Eze  going to school, I even dated one or two Bintas. I know Bingo, the dog and Ajasco. I have seen Voldermort too and plenty elves and Mammy water. If your character remains smoky and confined to your book, you are not yet a good writer.

A story should be so convincing that a character should be hated if he is hateful and loved if he deserves some loving. If a reader doesn’t cry at your sad scenes or laugh when a joke is made in the book then the story should be rewritten. A book is a small world; it should try to remain so. Readers should live in it and enjoy its government and people or hate it if it has bad economy and poverty etc, etc, etc.

You are not a good writer when readers hate you instead of the evil character in your book. This can happen when a writer keeps interfering and interrupting by overly inserting his views and personal opinions in a book.  Let characters live their lives without you playing God and Judge and Preacher.

We will focus more on characters and characterization in our next session.

Now, referring to Consistency of a writer, please, be advised that if someone wants to be a writer he should simply start writing and keep at it. If a body does something over and over and over and again, he becomes good at it. If you consistently write, you will end up, perhaps, mistakenly putting out something that would pass the mark. If you write a thousand short stories, at least one out of them would be note worthy and get shared and comments and reviews. Consistency rewards a writer; you get better as you repeat your rubbish.

Consistency of hobby matters too, anyone who wants to be a writer should enjoy reading and writing and not have hobbies totally in opposition and always fighting. Being a good writer has a lot to do with the friends you keep. Overly friendly people do not make good writers. Writers are supposed to be reclusive, aloof and very annoying -except if the writer is female and wants to get married. A good writer should not be best friends with motor park touts, or physical science, or mathematics.

If you do not have any eccentricities attached to your person as yet, please inculcate one- the crazier the better.  It is not good habit for a writer to be proper and normal.

We will continue.








80 thoughts on “WRITITUDE: The Behavior of a Story and the Attitude of a Writer” by kaycee (@kaycee)

  1. Loving this lecture! @ prof kaycee. Writitude 101

    1. @topazo
      Be a good student.

  2. @kaycee. i enjoyed this, especially the funny angle from which you have to remind writers about these basic storytelling elements. waiting for the next installment.

    1. @kurannenbaaki. Hope you took down notes for the exam.

        1. @Kaycee: did you notice the shaky way @kurannenbaaki mentioned ‘exams’
          Bwahaahahaaahaa! No fear brother. The man wouldn’t eat you – yet.

  3. Well written.

  4. I had to go through it again… Thanks KC; it was a good read.

    1. Thanks for reading. Didnt know you were on NS.

  5. I am! Was on ‘exile’ for a while… Lol

    1. @grayshores, glad you came back, otherwise your would have failed my course.

  6. Nice one man. I love the touch of homour in the piece. Something a lot of writers need to read.

    Next time when you shag Bintas and see those characters on the road, make sure they are really there though.

    Another thing is when you say ‘recognizable’, I’m thinking the ‘recognizable’ character has to be interesting as well, right? An interesting alien is always better than a boring ‘recognizable’ pastor.

    Keep it up.

    1. @jaywriter, what is shag? It sounds sinful.
      A character doesn’t have to be interesting. It is enough to just be recognizable. But then, the more interesting a character is the more visible he will be.

  7. Pastor Kaycee, shag isn’t really a sinful word. It’s an artistic word, loooool.

    Main characters have to be interesting oh. In a fun way, intellectual way, sexual way… They just have to be interesting.

    1. @jaywriter, main characters have to be noticeable. If being uninteresting is the character of the main character, just let it be recognized.

  8. “If you spot any errors in these lectures of mine, please keep it to yourself and avoid intterruption. I am only a critic, and a critic should not be criticized” While this disclaimer got me ‘chuckling like mad’ it also got me thinking about what Pa IKHIDE said at a particular forum, when he was asked, if HE will ever write a novel/book. His answer was in the NEGATIVE. Hmmm, well, i guess, now, i know why.

    1. I am been increasingly likened to Pa IKhide. That man is something else entirely o.
      But the truth is most critics cant do any better than the writers they criticize.

      1. Get me my glasses. @ibagere, I nearly didn’t see the disclaimer before you mentioned it and I thought I read this whole thing slowly… Kai. Young age!
        Would have to go through it all again. Hmm.

  9. Hehehehehe…
    Let me laugh, because that’s all I want to do.

    1. @babyada, laugh and learn o

  10. Simply put, I concur. Let the others come.

    1. Musketeer!
      Lurking in the shadows?

      1. Nah bro. The shadows are too scared to accomodate me.

  11. Taking notes, Professor Kaycee. Can we bring koroje to the test?

    1. @howyoudey
      You can bring anything that will help your performance

  12. Insightful write up, @kaycee.

    The consistency issue is a BIG reason why I find it hard to enjoy typically Nollywood movies. I understand that people change, but it’s as if the writers are so much in a hurry to get to the end of the story that they don’t care how unrealistic it is for someone to change in such a short time or an unexplained way. Or maybe they’re just too lazy to describe the character development.

    1. Exactly @TolaO

      Interesting one @kaycee. Consistency of voice, character and perspective is sure important. Have you read Teju Cole’s Eight Letters to a Young Writer?

      1. @chemokopi
        I haven’t read it. Is it a book or essay? How do i get it?

    2. @TolaO
      Thanks. I totally agree, A written work has to be realistic. i will find a way to add that to the next lecture on Characters.

        1. Thanks, @chemokopi. Reading it already.

  13. The ramblings of a crazy man often makes sense. This sure does.

    Somehow, you’ve captured the essence of consistency pretty well. Sometimes, we forget we are supposed to be creating an experience -a really pleasant and unforgettable one- for the reader. Instead, we end up creating an experience for our over-bloated egos and raging creativity. A writer should be responsible to(for) his craft. And who says being responsible is all about being good and all moralistic?

    I have learnt from this piece @kaycee but permit me to add something; A writer should never forget his primary assignment: to write something worth reading.


    1. @banky.
      Writing something worth reading is the ultimate goal for a writer, but in the mean time, a writer should just write, and keep writing.

  14. Avatar of midas
    midas (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    What you see is what you get. Vintage kaycee!
    I largely agree with you on this one. You handled consistency from every angle, and yea the magic is in that basket case of eccentricity.I’m yet to see/read of a good writer who is ‘totally straight in the head’. I guess it goes with the terrain.
    In the words of Steve Jobs, Creation is messy, you want genius you get madness; two sides of the same coin.

    1. @midas, so whats your own eccentricity?

      1. Avatar of midas
        midas (@): Newbie - 0 pts

        @kaycee:My altars get jealous when I tell. We have an understanding of confidence.

  15. Kaycee! Kaycee! Kaycee! Nice work. Nice piece.

    About the eccentricities yea, I still can’t find one that suits jare. Shey you fit prescribe one?

    1. Sporty zayta.
      Your slim, fine long self is eccentic enough o

    2. Sporty zayta.
      Your slim, fine long self is eccentric enough o

  16. I enjoyed this. Especially the humour which doesn’t detract from the issues. It’s quite encouraging for budding writers too. I remember a story by one Nathan fellow which tackles the eccentricity thing from an opposite angle but in an even funnier manner.

    Well done Kaycee. Looking forward to the next in the series (I hope it’s a series)

    1. yeah, Elnathan John, daily times.
      Yeah. Its in series.

      1. Hee hee hee! One Nathan fellow! Haba! The guy wouldn’t appreciate that tag :)
        Oh well. As long as we don’t get to hear of one cee fellow or one ‘eddie guy like that!

        1. @sueddie, elnathan is not a fellow?
          @Vescucci, ask sueddie

  17. Now, on the whole, this is good. Quirky Kaycee with all his jabs and the like.
    When you are through with the lessons, put them together jor!! If you can, add some more yabs… was surprising I didn’t find too many yabbis in this piece. Piping low are you?
    Oh well, nice to be reading all these again. Nice to see you keeping the game up man.
    Well done. I just might come out of my retirement to pick the chalk once more. Well done K’…

    1. Before you pick any chalk you have to pass the degree exam. These my lectures are internal expo.
      As for adding more yabs, i am retiring from all that.Am getting too old for that.

  18. @ToluO @Kaycee: Thanks for the tip on Teju’s work. @chemokopi: thanks for the link.

    1. Ewoo, that WAS MEANT TO BE @TolaO

    2. I see you are high on pito this night @sueddie. Alerts from you popping all over the social network. Easy my guy.

  19. Somethings never change.

    1. @uchechukwu1
      Thanks. Welcome back.

  20. Kaycee, nice one, you taught the topic like a pleasantly annoying character in a novel. I enjoyed it very much because of your feel. I totally disagree on the part where you say a good writer needed not to be friendly, well, it’s your feel, but nicely written, well done.

    1. @thenaijaseer, thanks.
      But you don’t dis agree with this lecturer. You didn’t read where he said you should keep all counter opinions to your self and to avoid interruption? Be a good student.

  21. Good kaycee, good. I do think its ok for a writer to be friends with a motor park tout.

    1. @drzhivago.
      Did you just interrupt?

  22. *Applauding*

    I like this piece Kaycee! Very brutal and blunt truth. Although I’m wondering at this statement that you made:

    ‘I am only a critic, and a critic should not be criticized.’

    Trust me, there are critics who are willing to eat you raw with criticisms.

    Then I like this analogy which is very true;

    “I have seen plenty Mallam Illiya’s from Ekwensi’s “Pasport of Mallam Illiya”, I know Lakunle the teacher, I know Chike of the river, I have seen Eze going to school, I even dated one or two Bintas. I know Bingo, the dog and Ajasco. I have seen Voldermort too and plenty elves and Mammy water. ”

    This is an approach I usually take to writing, I actually form my characters from people who ACTUALLY exist. Everytime you read any of my stories, I’m painting someone who ACTUALLY exists. So your claim is very right.

    Then this statement is on point! –>
    ‘You are not a good writer when readers hate you instead of the evil character in your book.’
    Writers read this and learn it!

    Now this statement reflects what I saw in many well known writers the world has come to know—>
    “Writers are supposed to be reclusive, aloof and very annoying -except if the writer is female and wants to get married. A good writer should not be best friends with motor park touts, or physical science, or mathematics.”

    Good series…drop more and let the knowledge blow forth!

    1. @afronuts, you are an excellent student. I will forgive your lateness to class this session.

  23. @kaycee, The notion that the writer must be eccentric is overrated. You can still be a writer and remain normal.

  24. @Kaycee, this is great. I’m learning a great deal from this. Pardon my coming late to class.

    Your humble student.

    1. @shomyk. Thanks for reading. I will have to deduct some marks off you.

  25. How come this class missed me?

    Ehmmmm! Arrrrgggggggghhhhh! Uhuhmmmm… But several of your views are on point. I’m enjoying the lecture sha. I’ll try to remain a good student.

    Well done boss!

    1. @francis.
      Thanks for taking the class.

  26. I like this oh, consistency should always be harped upon. Thanks for sharing @Kaycee, saw your mention about Friday later that day, lets reschedule- your call.

    1. @elly thanks.
      Whenever you are online, chat me up, or let me know you are online.

  27. @isaac82. Nothing is over rated. Thanks for reading.

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