5 tips on writing the great South African novel from a popular author

Business Insider SA
  • To be a great writer you must be a great reader, says Tebogo Ditshego, author of the popular novel Kasi Nerd.
  • He has five tips for budding novel writers.

To become a great reader, you need to be an avid reader, says Tebogo Ditshego, author of the novel Kasi Nerd, which has earned himself a popular following since the book was published in 2016. 

Ditshego is also the founder of Read a Book South Africa, Africa's biggest social media book club that aims to encourage young people to read for leisure. He recently spoke to Business Insider at the 6th annual World Book Celebration at the University of Johannesburg, and gave us five tips for budding novel writers: 

Take as little time as possible developing the skeleton of the story.

Go with the flow, to make sure that the story is not disjointed and that it flows logically and fluidly, he says.

Tebogo Ditshego, authour of Kasi Nerd encourages people to read to be good writers. Photo: Ditshego Media

Be true to yourself.

This is very important as an author, says Ditshego.

"What you have is very unique.

"Many people may be able to relate to it and others who are on the outside looking in, might be fascinated by your story."

Don't bind yourself to a word count.

"From my experience, you shouldn't strive for a specific number of words. Write a story that is condensed, that does not beat around the bush.

"Yet go into enough detail for the reader to be able to visualise the story logically," he says.

Withhold information.

This is advice Ditshego received from legendary author, Zakes Mda

"To be a great writer you must learn to withhold information.

"Add colour and detail to each character of the story, but also try by all means to withhold certain information so that your reader moves with each twist and turn the character goes through.

Be an avid reader.

Read as much material as you can get your hands on, says Ditshego.

"Be as diverse as possible and don't become a copycat." Through this, try to find your voice, even if it is not main stream.

"That in itself could add value because it is something that the audience is not used to." Don't be afraid to think out of the ordinary, he says.

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