If anyone sees Zakes Mda please give him a hug from me, and tell him I admire him so much. His Ways of Dying is bad ass good. And here is another reason I admire him: His suggestions on how to write. Here are his ten tips:
1. Show, don’t tell. Humbug! You do need to tell as well. Effective storytelling is a balancing act between showing and telling, otherwise all stories would be in real time.
Anyway I disagree with him on some aspect of Nr. 7., and here is it: "....However if a novel doesn’t engage you in the first five pages discard it. Life is too short."
This is exactly what I did with Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon about five years ago, then again about three years ago, then again last year. I finally got over the first fifty pages, and Good Lawd, what a book. If anyone hasn't read Song of Solomon, please drop whatever you're doing, go and get it and read. Be prepared to yawn over the first thirty-something pages. But after that it's all tender lamb sirloin and red wine and a good chat... and whatever else follows.
2. Well, see the original here.