Commentary #4 – WriteRight 2 over. Akinwale Interview

Kick-Ass

Disclaimer: this commentary was recorded then transcribed to protect the identity of this douche-bag: The Word. The rest of us on the team are pretty cool with everyone knowing who we are, but not this guy. He actually thinks he’s that important, and you know what? HE IS! HAHA!

John Varane
OK. Right. Today’s discussion – WrightRight 2. What an end. All five writers, top stuff. Congrats. Wasn’t easy. Some disappointments along the course of the competition, but that’s OK. Akin’s here. He was one of the finalists who participated in WrightRight 2.

Akinwale
Hey, sup.

The Word
This is gonna be an awesome interview. Get this, Akin: do you know you’re now historically the writer with the least votes in a WriteRight competition? Like, total suckage, dude.

John Varane
[laughing]
Come on, man.

Akinwale
[laughs]

The Word
No, seriously. If WriteRight goes on to become The Booker Prize of Nigeria, you’d be on Wikipedia as the dude who sucked the most in it, which isn’t so bad, cos everyone will finally know your name. Not a bad way to get immortalised, bruv.

Akinwale
Thanks. I feel so much better about myself.

John Varane
Really though, how do you feel about your participation? Would you do it again?

Akinwale
WriteRight? No. That ship’s sailed. Other competitions? Maybe.

The Word
Why do you think you got such low votes, other than not campaigning hard enough? Why didn’t you campaign hard enough anyways?

Akinwale
Well, I did campaign, at first, but it was draining after the first episode. The second episode, I tried, but after that, I just got tired of the whole process, really.

John Varane
But apart from your lack of interest in campaigning, there was the issue of people not understanding your story. Let me say that I did understand your story, and I thought it was brilliant. Read the last episode and wow! But quite a number of people didn’t get it.

Akinwale
Yeah.

John Varane
Why?

Akinwale
I was taught to always write for the right audience. This wasn’t the right story for this audience.

The Word
You shared a couple of your ideas with me before sending your first episode in. My take: you should have stuck to the story about unrequited love. Or the one about the cheating wife who tries to murder her husband. If you’re going to enter a writing competition in Nigeria, don’t come up with some time-travelling shit. That’s for white people like John, OK? People here don’t relate to that. Talk about … mad people falling in love. Or women on the cusp of menopause desperately searching for love . Plenty of chicks read that shit.

John Varane
[laughs]
Oh, very nice.

The Word
So, Akin, your last episode wasn’t published with the others on Tunde Leye’s blog. Shame. What happened? I thought you had everything ready by Sunday?

Akinwale
I did… I really can’t go into details, but I take full responsibility. I did hand it in hours before publication, and when it didn’t get published, I reached out to Tunde to find out what went wrong, but he never got back to me.

The Word
Well, thank God the internet and wordpress doesn’t belong to any one person. Your final episode is up. I love it. Particularly, because I know the characters are actually gonna be in our series.

John Varane
I know you said you wouldn’t participate in a WriteRight competition again, but if you did get a chance to do it again and you took that chance, what would you do differently?

Akinwale
Actually, nothing.

The Word
So, basically, you’d suck again.

John Varane
[laughs]
He didn’t suck. He was just misunderstood.

The Word
That’s the sort of thing parents tell their retarded kids to make them feel like they’re not retarded.

Akinwale
[laughs]
Honestly, I’m happy with my story. I enjoyed working on it. And really, it was never about the votes. N250,000 is good money – a new iphone and a laptop, but when writing is your passion, money isn’t the focus. Money is just an upshot, and it will eventually come. True talent can’t stay hidden forever as long as you work hard and you’re consistent. People reading your work and appreciating it – even if it’s one person – that’s the real prize. There was this one guy who emailed me and asked how I came up with my ideas after reading my WriteRight entry. That was amazing. I was like, wow, my first fan!

John Varane
That’s great. Now, to the story. Every week, there was at least that one person who said about your entry, “This is way too complicated!” or “Man, this Akinwale dude is confusing me!” Was that the whole idea? Were you aiming for that?

Akinwale
No, I wasn’t, and I’m actually quite confused about why the story was confusing for some. Again, like I said, it comes down to the audience. I got the feeling that a lot of people wanted a straight forward, linear plot – one major character and a couple of supporting casts. Episode one introduces the major character and the underlining problem. Episode 2 compounds that problem. Episode 3 offers a supposed solution and probably a twist. And in episode 4, everything is wrapped up. Nothing wrong with that, but I didn’t follow that story structure. In my case, for the first 3 episodes, I introduced a new set of characters and plotlines, and I brought them all together in the fourth episode. That’s not a strange or flawed story-telling technique. Plenty of writers utilise it a lot.

The Word
And is that the kind of writer you are? Do you always aim for the complex?

Akinwale
No. The linear storytelling technique is just as amazing as any other technique. Ifeoluwa’s Wewe is proof of that. I don’t think a writer is better simply because he or she adopts a complicated technique. The aim as always is to tell a story, and as long as you can do that well enough, in whatever way you choose to, then you’re OK. I do love to keep my readers guessing, though. I don’t particularly enjoy spoon-feeding them. Sometimes, it’s better to let readers conclude certain aspects of a story for themselves. Like the cut-to-black final scene in the Sopranos, or the final scene in Inception where the top keeps spinning and maybe or maybe not it tilted just a little bit, you know? Some readers absolutely hate that, but hey, my story, my world, my rules.

John Varane
I gotta ask though: Nancy. What the hell is Nancy?

Akinwale
Hah! Nancy…

John Varane
Nancy or Sally or IJ or whatever. Guys, if you’re reading this and you haven’t read all episodes of “These, the last days of our lives”, then you should stop right now and read them. Spoilers ahead. You can find the links to the episode in the “These, the last days of our lives” section. [see menu].
Akin, come on. I know the character appears in the series we’re working on, and we’ll definitely get to learn a lot about her, but can you just tell us something?

Akinwale
Nancy is very old.

The Word
And she isn’t human.

Akinwale
Well… Not entirely. But she’s really, really old.

The Word
And Tunde. What’s he? How does a person like him even exist in Nigeria? What’s his story? Guy, is he even dead?

Akinwale
Sorry. Spoilers.

The Word
Damnit!

John Varane
Great talking to you as always, Akin. You did great. I for one was rooting for you, and I still am. Can’t wait to read more of your stuff.

Akinwale
Thanks!

The Word
That’s it. The end! Until next time, folks.

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4 thoughts on “Commentary #4 – WriteRight 2 over. Akinwale Interview

  1. My thots…
    Very nice, well delivered, atypical story. Took me some extra time to read the whole story over and over again to connect some subtle dots. For a crazy mind like mine, that just shows how good both the writer and the story are. I will say I get the story but I probably will still like to have a chat with Akin over some parts e.g. what the hell was pastor oyatie’s part all about??? Can you expansiate just a lil bit on protocol fivethreesix??
    Secondly, I feel (though its your personal perspective that matters) that you should drop a line on Tlsplace about you taking full responsibility for the late submission of your final episode again. I think some people are totally missing the fact that ANYTHING in God’s own world, ranging from the utterly ridiculous to the absurdly impossible, that has probably not happened to any other person before, could have been the reason for the late submission or you not giving prior notice. Not like you should give a rat’s leg really but hey, as writer, a lil ass kissing is permitted.
    Finally, I’d like to be in the loop on this “forthcoming series” about nancy and co so kindly include me in the mailing list or something.

    Really nice job Akin…..

  2. ma'am sassy says:

    WOW WOW WOW…BRILLIANT! is all i can say….. The fondly talked about forthcoming series, i’d really like to follow it if you don’t mind. So do please keep us in the know. Would also like to know your blog?

  3. Okay…. I voted for Akinwale’s story. Why? Because I saw a brilliant mind doing something not streamlined to the regular plots we dish out (including myself). As a shabby writer, I fell in love with your mind and all through, I was thinking: “this is one intelligent nigga”. I’m another fan :D… Love you and these day of our lives, totally.

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