Engineering the Story—How to Write a Novel in 80 Days

I’m a writer. I love words. But before I was a writer, I was an engineer, so I also love numbers. The typical word count for a novel is around 80,000. Non-novelists often baulk at the idea of writing that many words, and no question, it’s a mammoth task. To make it more manageable, I … Continue reading Engineering the Story—How to Write a Novel in 80 Days

Short Fiction: The Search Warrant

A fun post today. Last week at writer's group, we did an exercise in which we had to respond to the following prompt in 20 minutes. The police arrive at your door with a search warrant. There is something in the house that they cannot see, that nobody can ever see. This is my (slightly edited) … Continue reading Short Fiction: The Search Warrant

To Be Oneself Or To Be Someone Else

When I published Nigerian Gems, I used the pseudonym Jo Demmer. People often ask how I chose my pen name. Jo is my middle name, after my great-grandmother, Josephine. Demmer is my mother’s maiden name. The novel I was working on at the time, Sunrise Court, was rife with intrigue and infidelity and I didn’t … Continue reading To Be Oneself Or To Be Someone Else

Nigerian Gems—In Print At Last

To pick up from where I left off in Tales from Lagos, the publication of Nigerian Gems had stalled. Graphic designer Els Van Limberghen volunteered to do the layout and design; we printed a copy on our home computer and painstakingly glued it together to create a mock up; Judy Anderson, Sara Dobbs and Martha Peterson … Continue reading Nigerian Gems—In Print At Last

My Top Four Editing Tips

Editing is both an art form and a numbers game. Writers are constrained by word count, so every phrase must be sharpened and polished like a jewel. My first editing job was Nigerian Gems. Since then, I’ve spent hours revising my own work, had the opportunity to swap manuscripts with other novelists and been mentored … Continue reading My Top Four Editing Tips

Tales from Lagos

The concept for Nigerian Gems, Expatriate Tales of Adventure was simple—to create a snapshot of our Lagos experience through stories, snippets and photos. Many expats had already written emails or blogs about quirky moments, outrageous anecdotes or insightful observations. We wanted to collate these diverse voices to share a range of experiences with friends and family … Continue reading Tales from Lagos