Where Did Queen Nefertiti Come From?

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Queen Nefertiti is one of two most famous queens of ancient Egypt, the other being Cleopatra. Her beauty, revealed in her famous limestone portrait busts – the loveliest masterpieces of Egyptian sculpture – has made her widely known around the world. Yet, in spite of her fame, historians are not unanimous about her origins. There appears to have been a deliberate attempt in ancient Egypt to erase the existence of her memory due to reasons that will be elaborated in this article.

Nefertiti is a mysterious figure. Some say, who she was, or who her parents were, is unknown and that she was just a commoner. Others have suggested that she was a Hittite princess, or that she was a Mittani princess from a neighboring kingdom, or a daughter of Ay, one the viziers to the pharaoh. However clarifying the matter would help to clarify other significant aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization.

An aspect of genetics, that appears not to have been given the attention it deserves, can help resolve this mystery. It is the elongated skull or the dolichocephalic heads that many members of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty possessed. One of the reasons that historians ignored this feature at first is because some thought that it was just a feature of stylized art. Some have suggested that elongated skulls are not an unusual feature and prevail in some African and Nordic tribes. However here, it is not a question of just a long skull that some Africans or ancient Nordics could possess. Those are within the limits of normal human variation albeit on the longer side. Here we are talking of a skull shape that goes well beyond the normal human shape, to the point that biologists have attributed it to rare diseases, some even to extraterrestrial sources. Studies have shown that it is a rare occurrence indeed. Certain African tribes such as the Mangbetu and the Zande produce long skulls by binding the heads of young but this latter type of elongation produces quite a different effect. Moreover studies on Egyptian royal mummies have proved conclusively that the royal Egyptian dolichocephalic head is not a result of binding but rather a genetic family trait. The skull shape is so pronounced that many initially thought it was just an artistic feature until the actual mummies with such skulls were discovered. Some modern doctors postulated that this might be a result of a rare deforming disease. However that too has been ruled out since the trait is shared in the family by inheritance. Research work by David Childress in Peru, Adriano Forgione in Malta and Andrew Collins, (Andrew Collins. Gods of Eden. London: Headline Book, Pub. 1998) has led to a greater knowledge of the elongated skull. The first is that this is a rare anomaly that has been found since ancient times in other parts of the world as well. If those possessing the elongated skull belong to a certain race that has now become extinct cannot be said with certainty. Such skulls have been discovered not only in Egypt but also in Peru, Malta and the Mittani belt of northern Iraq and Syria and those possessing such skulls appear to have been associated with the royal or priestly classes. Except for Peru the other four locations are in close geographical proximity therefore the possibility that all of them arise from the same genetic source cannot be ruled out. The genetic source of the Peru skulls may also be the same since there does appear to be an old world origin of American civilizations.

Nefertiti too possessed such a skull and therefore the possibility of her being a commoner becomes unlikely. The second speculation that she was a Hittite princess is also ruled out by reference to available historical records. Rather she appears to be a Mittani princess daughter of the Mittani king Dashrath. The confusion has arisen because in historical records the Mittani have been confused with Hittites on occasions. Both Hittites and the Mittani belong to the Indo-European speaking Aryan races.

The Mitanni were a people of Aryan origin who ruled a vast kingdom with a largely Hurrian population in West Asia in the second millennium BC, for a brief historical epoch, sometime after 1500 BC. It was a feudal state led by a warrior nobility in which apparently the royal women were trained along with men in horse riding, chariot racing and warfare. This training was provided for the eventuality that they might be called upon to rule if widowed. Such accounts are found in the Puranas and Vedas, ancient historical records of the community that the Mittani kings belonged too. The Rig-Veda, an ancient scripture of Mittani rulers recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with iron prosthesis, and returned to battle. The Mittani kingdom in Syria was a foreign and brief one lasting for about 150 years. During their brief reign the relationship they established with Egypt has left a significant mark in history. It was a mutually beneficial alliance that permitted the Mittani to continue in foreign surroundings and provided a buffer to the Egyptians against Hittite incursions. The Mittani kingdom was eventually weakened by Hittites and returned to Syria in approximately 1330 BC.

While they ruled in the area, the Mittani Royal house developed close amicable relations with their western neighbors, the Egyptian Royal house through intermarriages as well as financial, military and religious alliances. For a period they became as one family. There appear to have been some alliance amongst the priestly class as well. The daughter of King Artatama was married to Thutmose IV, Akhenaten’s grandfather. His son, King Shuttarna in the early fourteenth century BC sent his daughter Kiluhepa to Egypt for a marriage with Pharaoh Amenhotp III. And the daughter of the King Dasharatha, the son of Shuttarna, Princess Tadukhipa, became the queen of Akhenaten. The Egyptian Pharaohs also introduced horses and chariots in Egypt because of their relationship with the Mittanis.

The archeological finds at Amarna shed light on the relationship between the two royal families. In one Amarna letter, written to Akhenaten’s mother, Tiye, my sister, the Mitannian king complains that Akhenaten has not sent gifts that his father had promised, “I had asked your husband for statues of solid cast gold, but your son has sent me plated statues of wood. With gold being dirt in your son’s country, why have they been a source of such distress to your son that he has not given them to me? Is this love?” Dushrath wrote to Tiye instead of to the pharaoh himself because he was more comfortable in writing to his sister than the king. The letter is hardly a diplomatic or royal letter. It is a family communication.

The origin of queen Tiye, like that of Nefertiti are also shrouded in controversy. It is very possible that the priests did not approve of the Egyptian family connection with Mittanis. They had good reasons for it. Primarily it was the introduction of foreign gods and unorthodox customs into Egypt as a result of these foreign queens. Queen Tiye too has been recognized for her unorthodoxy like Nefertiti. Historians have however admitted that there appears to be a relationship between Tiye and Nefertiti. There was. Tiye was Nefertiti’s aunt – the sister of her father Dashrath. The Amarna letters prove the close family ties between Dashrath and Tiye. Another reason for the discomfort of the priesthood was that before the appearance of the Mittanis, the priestly clan often supplied brides to the pharaohs. That helped them to maintain their power in Egypt, but this new source of royal brides must have been a source of much anguish to the priestly clan. They may have responded by claiming that the new brides were not royal but just from a common tribal source that had managed to grab a neighboring kingdom. This last assumption may have arisen from their ignorance of Mittani royal roots that have a history perhaps longer than even the Egyptian civilization as illustrated by their sacred texts, the Vedas.

Some historians have claimed that Tiye was the daughter of Yuaa, a priest of Mittani origin that her mother Tuaa, was of royal descent, from the royal family of Mittani. If this latter was the case then it would make Tiye a cousin of king Dasharath rather than a blood sister. However, the utter informality of communications between Dasharath and Tiye, along with historical records indicating that the Mittani kings had provided the Egyptian pharaohs with their daughters as queens suggests that Tiye was a blood sister of Dashrath, the Mittani princess Kiluhepa. In either case the Mittani royal origin of Tiye, and by extension that of Nefertiti appears to be of little doubt. Both bore a resemblance as revealed from their statues. Physical resemblance of relatives within the Mittani and Egyptian households appears to have been accentuated by inbreeding to the point that even Nefertiti and her husband bore a striking resemblance to each other. As compared to humans of other races, Akhinaten appeared effeminate and some suggested that he had no sexual organs because a nude statue of him depicted him without any. Akhinaten fathered many children and the absence of sexual organs in his statue is more likely a result of modesty. The ancient Egyptians were not as open about male frontal nudity as the Greeks were in a later civilization. In reality Akhinaten may have been rather well hung. However there is a possibility that his sexual chromosomes were XXY rather than XY, a result of inbreeding. The possibility arises because of the speculation that the elongated skull is primarily a feature imparted by the X chromosome and that its presence in males is only likely with an extra X. However a confirmation of this last hypothesis must await further advances in genetic science.

Betsy Bryan, a professor of Egyptian art and archaeology at Johns Hopkins, found a statue of Tiye, Akhinaten’s mother, at the Mut temple. When the statue was removed it revealed itself as a queen of Amenhotep III, whose name appears repeatedly on the statue’s crown. Schwappach-Shirriff curator of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in California told Discovery News that it is significant that the statue was found buried within a temple. ” It shows that she indeed had strong religious ties because she was found in a temple ” she explained. Women at the time could not serve as priestesses, but both Bryan and Schwappach-Shirriff think the emerging evidence, such as this statue, indicate that at least some women may have been more central to certain Egyptian religions than previously thought. This new role of women in Egypt appears to be due to the foreign Mittani origin of these queens.

The Mittani royal families appears to be the source from which elongated skulls arrived in the Egyptian royal family. Thutmose III and Thutmose IV grandfather of Akhinaten did not possess such a skull as revealed by their statues at Luxor and Cairo Museums but his grandmother Queen Mutemwiya , Great Royal Spouse of King Thutmose IV and royal daughter of Artatama I, King of Mittani probably did. The Mittani queens were given new Egyptian names after their marriages to the Pharaohs. The change in names added to the fact that the Pharaohs had more than one wife has lead to the confusion as to which is which. Add to this the propaganda circulated by the priests who were the principal scribes of the time and the clouding of history becomes certain. The Pharaoh Akhinaten, who too possessed the elongated head, could have got this trait from his father, mother or grandmother. His daughters and son King Tutankhamen possessed the same skull as well. There was considerable inbreeding in the royal families and this tends to establish a genetic trait. The elongated skull was probably a common feature of the Egyptian and Mittani royal households and this would have lead them to consider that they had become one family. Akhinaten had two wives Kiya and Nefretiti and scholars are unsure as to which of the two is the Mittani Princess. However, if one were to go by the elongated skull then it has to be Nefretiti who was the Mittani princess. Add to this the fact that she was a warrior queen who has been shown participating in chariot races and wielding weapons. She was not the typical Queen of Egypt. She was shown in very prominent positions in the Amarna art, and has even been shown in the warlike position of the Pharaoh – grasping prisoners’ hair and breaking their skulls with a mace. Order in ancient society was maintained by ruthless punishments. This was very unlike Egyptian princesses but not unexpected of a Mittani Aryan one.

In ancient times it was not uncommon for queens and princesses to have a personal nurse who stayed with the princesses well into adulthood often accompanying them into a new household after their marriage. The nurse often played the role of a substitute mother if the real mother was not available. If a princess came from the Mittani kingdom, it is expected that she be not sent alone to a foreign land but along with maids and her personal nurse. That is the least a royal father could do when sending his daughter to another country. Did such a nurse accompany Akhineten’s Mittani wife into Egypt? One lady in the palace did claim to be her nurse. It was Tey who never claimed to be the queen’s mother but did claim to be her nurse. Tey is also known to have had her own daughter Mutnodmjet born from a marriage to the prominent Egyptian Aye. Nefertiti would have regarded the daughter of Tey in a sisterly way and one inscription reads, “Mutnodjmet, may she live like Re forever, sister of the King’s Great Wife. Therefore, it is clear that Nefertiti regarded her Nurse’s daughter as her sister. There is little doubt that Mutnodjmet was Aye’s daughter because there are prominent depictions of the two together. The fact that Nefertiti had a personal nurse, who is well known in Egypt, is also evidence against her being from a common or unknown background. If it was claimed by some that Nefertiti’s background is not known in spite of the fact that her nurse continued to be present as the wife of a prominent personality is an indication that a deliberate attempt has been made to ignore Nefertiti’s background. Aye even became a Pharaoh at a later stage after the death of the last heir of the eighteenth dynasty.

There are other bits of evidence that support the theory that Nefertiti was a Mittani princess. Nefertiti means the beautiful one who has come, signifying a princess from afar. During his rule Akhinaten probably due to the Aryan influence of his mother and wife attempted to establish a new religion, that of monotheistic worship with the Sun as the symbol of God’s power, to the utter dismay of the priesthood. This attempt resulted in an open revolt by the priestly class.

The striking resemblance between Nefertiti’s portraits and those of her young husband has prompted some scholars to suggest that she was his half, or even his full sister. Brother and sister marriages were common in Egypt. But we know from historical records that this was not the case here. Rather if the princess were the daughter of Dushratta, then her aunt would be the mother, and her grandmother the sister of the grandmother of the King, a relationship even closer than cousins and there would be nothing strange in their resembling each other as brother and sister.

Their reign was brief. Akhinaten ruled just 17 years, and within a few years after his death in 1336 B.C., Neferititi too died, apparently murdered, struck from behind at an unguarded moment. Tut ruled for about ten years before he died in 1322 B.C. The Egyptian vizier Aye was perhaps the de facto ruler initially using King Tut as the figurehead on the throne. As Tut grew up it is likely that he, like his father, was starting to have ideas of his own. His mentors particularly Aye, could not tolerate another heretic and may have organized his murder by poisoning or another device. Aye is portrayed as a person who acted in a fatherly manner to Nefertiti but this may have been just a cunning front that Aye maintained to retain his foothold in the palace. Aye proclaimed himself Pharaoh after the death of Tut since no other heirs were left. He is the shadowy figure who may have organized the end of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty in order to gain power. He too died within three years in 1319. A commoner Horemheb followed Aye to the throne and ruled for 27 years, obliterating every record of Nefertiti and Akhenaten that he could. The old orthodoxy was restored. Akhenaten’s enemies soon smashed his statues, dismantled his temples, and set out to expunge all memory of him and Nefertiti from Egypt’s historical record. The eighteenth Egyptian dynasty ended with King Tut. Two other outside rulers – Aye and Horemheb are shown grouped with the eighteenth dynasty because of a lack of a better placement.

Archives found in the Hittite capital of Hattusa in Anatolia indicate that Nefrititi wrote a desperate letter to the Hittite king saying her husband had died and begging him to send her one of his sons so that she would not have to wed a “servant.” and one who would rule over Egypt as the king. The letter indicated that Neferititi maintained the reigns of power as long as she lived. An Egyptian princess was more likely to seek an alliance closer at hand. It is also a written proof that the eighteenth dynasty regarded themselves as a class apart from other Egyptians regarding the latter as a servant class and believed in marrying within royalty rather than outside of it. If Nefertiti was indeed of common Egyptian origin than such a statement is unlikely from her. The Hittite king obliged by sending his son, however the son was way laid and killed at the border leading to a bloody war. This indicates the intrigue that was taking place in the palace at that time. There were few, other than Aye who could be privy to the communication. Only a Mittani princess could have dared to write to a Hittite king with a proposal for marriage and only an insider like Aye would know.

Nefertiti did not behave as a commoner or a person from anything less than a royal family right from the start. She ruled by the side of Akhinaten as long as he lived and after his death added the suffix Aten to her name, adorned a male dress and took charge of the kingdom as a Pharaoh true to the tradition of Vedic Aryans. The royal heirs Smenkhare and Tutankhamen were too young to become kings right away, but were possibly regarded by the orthodoxy as the real Pharaohs. Historians are unsure as to whether Tutankhamen was the son of Nefertiti or queen Kiya but it was probably the latter because one of Nefertiti’s daughter’s was married to King Tut and that would seem more reasonable if they were half brother and sister. Both Smenkhare and Tutankhamen possessed the royal skull. Tut was both a son and son-in-law of Nefertiti.

There is no evidence whatsoever in historical records to suggest that Nefertiti was not the Mittani princess, and while she lived she ruled like a warrior queen true to the race of warriors she had descended from. The pharaohs of Egypt added a divine suffix to their names. The suffix declared them as the divine representatives of the god that became a part of their name. As a queen princess Tadukhipa adopted the name Nefertiti and Nefretari, “the beautiful one has arrived”. As a Pharaoh she changed the name to NeferNeferaten – the beautiful, beautiful one from the Sun God”. In recent years her hidden tomb and injured mummy has been discovered in the Valley of the Kings, restoring the recognition she deserved. The present study restores the recognition of her origins that ancient Egyptian scribes tried so hard to delete from Egyptian memories. Their attempts were understandable. She was a foreigner and an equal partner with her young husband in attempting to destroy the ancient religion of Egypt and replace it with a new one. It is hoped that the present study will contribute towards restoring her rightful place in the history of human civilizations.

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Source by Ashok Malhotra

Sexual Hauntings 3 – What Attracts An Incubus and Succubus?

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Have you ever wondered what it is that attracts an Incubus and Succubus to their human prey? Apart from the fact that these creatures are demons, they do share close similarities to other kinds of sexual predators. They love to seek out a malleable victim, one they can overpower, dominate and control.

A virgin is considered pure and not to be defiled and, as such, presents a double conquest for the Incubus. However, his triumph is only truly complete when he seduces her and she totally succumbs to his lustful advances. He can smell the sexual desire of a female, and this can act as a powerful magnetic to him. The Incubus differs from the Succubus in that the act can be forced on a female, and it has little regard whether she is beautiful or not. In fact, the rape, and all the emotional and physical suffering that comes with it, is even more enjoyable to it than the actual sexual act.

By contrast, the succubus is attracted to males, and uses different tactics altogether to obtain her goal. And the more frustrated the male is, the more she will derive satanic pleasure from torturing him sexually. Generally, the succubus will appear as his perfect female – the girl of his dreams – and wrap him around her claw. Depending on her sexual desires, she may remain in this form and visit her victim regularly, or she may decide to terrorise him by revealing her true form during intercourse. For the male victim, this would be akin to commencing lovemaking with a gorgeous young woman… and ending up with some hideous, monstrous hag.

The Incubus has no such need. It may derive pleasure from assuming the appearance of a young, handsome hunk, or it may decide to remain in its natural form (an invisible but highly malevolent entity). But it also has another form it can assume: that of a grotesque, repugnant human body, similar to that of a rotting corpse. It may also opt for a cross between an animal and a human. However, this thing’s huge phallus is usually too much for a woman to accommodate, and she is often harmed, if not killed. Unlike its female counterpart, the Incubus feeds more on the pain and suffering of the victim rather than the defilement of the body.

Incubi and Succubi like to target individuals who are vulnerable and malleable. They feed off their victims’ fears and sexual desires, and this boosts their demonic energy. Surprisingly, though, some people who have encountered these entities actually enjoy the sexual pleasures these demons thrust upon them. These creatures love to disguise themselves like the person that we may fancy, or people that we may be attracted to, rather than risk appearing as their normal, demonic selves. Also, if the victim cooperates with them and renders their bodies fully open to their lustful onslaughts, they will be gentle and friendly. However, if that victim becomes frightened and starts calling upon God to help them, then they will start getting angry and try to harm their human prey.

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Source by Alan Toner

Checkers – Facts and History

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The game of checkers is older than most people think. Some facts and history about the ancient game of checkers:

  • Scholars believe the modern game evolved from a similar game played as far back as 1400 B.C.E. called Alquerque or Quirkat. It was played in ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and India. The game used two sets of round flat pieces in different colors. It was played on a 5 x 5 grid. There were ten pieces per side, and the object was to capture all the opposing pieces.
  • The next development towards modern checkers is thought to have come from 13th century southern France. The rules and pieces of Alquerque were expanded to be played on an 8 x 8 chess board. The game was called Fierges, the pieces called ferses, the identical name given to the queen in chess.
  • By the 15th century, the earlier association with the queen in chess saw the name of the game changed to Jeu De Dames, most often shortened to Dames.
  • By the 16th century, Dames was very popular in France. Variants of the game were many, and one of these was the ‘forced capture’ variant, where a player had to capture an opponents piece instead of making a different move. This variant became known as Jeu Force.
  • The game of Jeu Force was taken to England where it was called draughts, and finally to North America where it was called checkers.
  • In France the game of Dames without the forced capture rule was still popular and called Le Jeu Plaisant De Dames, shortened to Plaisant. In the 18th century, the game in France changed to a 10 x 10 grid and 20 pieces on each side. This game is still played and is known as International or Continental Draughts.
  • There are international tournaments for both Checkers/Draughts and International Draughts. The first tournament for English Draughts occurred in 1847.
  • There are many variants of the game around the world today, but Chinese Checkers is not one of them. The game has nothing to do with China, but originated in Germany. The game was put on the market in the early 1900’s and was called Chinese Checkers to capitalize on people’ familiarity with checkers and to give the game an oriental flavor, as marketing ploys.

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Source by Alan Beggerow

Exploring the Breath, Range, Character, Scope and Reception of Cyprian Ekwensi’s Writings

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Ekwensi one of Africa’s most prolific writers who died late last year and was buried early this year, maintained a vibrant writing activity throughout his life, publishing a collection of short stories, Cash On Delivery, his last work of fiction and completing work on his memoirs, titled, In My Time for several years on to his death. With over twenty novels, collections of stories and short novels to his name, Ekwensi’s thematic preoccupation equally covered the Nigerian Civil War from the perspective of a journalist and life in a pastoral Fulani setting in Northern Nigeria.

Ekwensi’s first published work was the novella, When Love Whispers, published in 1948, ten years before the great African novel, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, appeared in London. He was inspired by sorrow over his unsuccessful attempt to court a young woman whose father insisted that she makes a marriage of convenience to write it. This short, light romance formed part of what became known as the Onitsha Market school of pulp fiction, and its success inspired Ekwensi to continue in that same mode.

Ekwensi had already distinguished himself by the several short stories he had written for broadcast on radio. These he later put together, within ten days, while on his way to Chelsea School of Pharmacy, London, to realize his first novel, People of the City, which Nigeria’s premier newspaper, The Daily Times, published in installments before it appeared in book form in 1954. but which was not published in the United States until 15 years later. People of the City (1954) was the first West African novel in modern style English to be published in England. It’s publication thus marked an important development in African literature with Ekwensi becoming one of the first African novelists to receive much exposure in the West and eventually the most prolific African novelist.

The fact that Cyprian Ekwensi started his writing career as a pamphleteer is reflected in the episodic nature of People of the City (1954) a collection of stories strung together but reading like a novel, in which he gives a vibrant portrait of the fast-paced life in a West African city, Lagos. People of the City which recounts the coming to political awareness of a young reporter and band leader in an emerging African country is filled with his running commentary on the problems of bribery and corruption and despotism bedeviling such states. In it and several others, Ekwensi explores the lure, thrills and challenges of urban life, and the extreme permissiveness and impersonal relationships permeating the lives of migrants to the city, where close-ties normally fostered by the extended family system of their traditional societies constitute a serious check on the deviant lifestyles that find full expression in the city.

According to, Bernth Lindfors, none of Ekwensi’s numerous works is entirely free from amateurish blots and blunders. Lindfors therefore concludes that he could not call any “the handiwork of a careful, skilled craftsman.” On his portrayal of the moral irresponsibility in city life, Bernth Lindfors, argued that “because his sinful heroines usually come to bad ends, Ekwensi can be viewed as a serious moralist whose novels offer instruction in virtue by displaying the tragic consequences of vice. But it always seems as if he is more interested in the vice than in the virtue and that he aims to titillate as well as teach.” While this view may be contested, it is undeniable that he always strove hard to reach his audience in the most immediate and intimate style. Indeed, it was to maintain this that he clung to those themes that afforded him the mass readership he so much craved

In a 1972 interview by Lewis Nkosi, Ekwensi defined his role as writer thus: “I think I am a writer who regards himself as a writer for the masses. I don’t think of myself as a literary stylist: if my style comes, that is just incidental, but I am more interested in getting at the heart of the truth which the man in the street can recognize than in just spinning words.”

Ernest Emenyonu, a Nigerian critic noted for his sympathy towards Ekwensi, charges that Ekwensi “has never been correctly assessed as a writer.”

Another sympathetic critic,the long-standing American convert to the study of African Literature, Charles Larson, describes him as one of the most prolific African writers of the twentieth century. According to Larson, Ekwensi “is probably the most widely-read novelist in Nigeria–perhaps even in West Africa–by readers whose literary tastes have not been exposed to the more complex writings of Chinua Achebe and other more skilled African novelists.”

Kole Omotoso past President of Nigerian Association of Authors and Drama professor at University of Ibadan confessed a lifelong fascination with him after reading his novelette The Yaba Round about Murder as a child, for, as he confesses, it taught him the importance of space in writing fiction. Omotoso goes on to state that Ekwensi’s major importance in Nigerian writing is because he believed in himself and ‘made us believe in ourselves.’ The pan-Africanist slant of his writings and his publications being mostly in Nigeria were found commendable. When many other African writers were in self-exile, he chose to remain in his native country, rather than live abroad where publishing opportunities are more abundant.

While some scholars discounted Ekwensi’s novels, others valued their social realism. Charles R. Larson put his work in historical perspective: “Local color is their forte, whether it be Ekwensi’s city of chaos, Lagos, or Onitsha … ; the Nigerian reader is placed for the first time in a perspective which has been previously unexplored in African fiction.”

Placing Ekwensi’s work firmly in the popular idiom, Douglas Killam explained their importance: “Popular fiction is always significant as indicating current popular interests and morality. Ekwensi’s work is redeemed (although not saved as art) by his serious concern with the moral issues which inform contemporary Nigerian life. As such they will always be relevant to Nigerian literary history and to Nigerian tradition.”

Ekwensi told stories that, like well-cooked onugbu (bitter leaf) soup, left a pleasant after-meal tang on the palate. Through his works Ekwensi told us that a work of fiction does not deserve that honourable name if it does not at first sight-…-arrest the reader like a cop’s handcuffs….. I read many of Ekwensi’s books, and save for ‘The Drummer Boy’, which was a recommended text when I was in junior secondary school in Plateau State, the others were read because they are what a book-hungry soul needs for sustenance. Who can, having been initiated into the cult of Ekwensi, forget the revenge-driven Mallam Iliya, the sokugo-stricken Mai Sunsaye, the skirt-besotted Amusa Sango, the raunchy belle, Jagua Nana (they don’t create women like that any more, whether in fiction, on the telly, and probably in real life); and the heart-rending Ngozi and heroic Pedro? They are my friends for life.

Ekwensi did much more than create ‘airport thrillers’. He told great stories that live on in the hearts of all who encountered them. ( Henry Chukwuemeka Onyeama a Lagos-based writer and teacher)

An Ibo, like Chinua Achebe, Ekwensi was born in 1921 in Minna, Niger State, in Northern Nigeria, but attended secondary school in a predominantly Yoruba area, Ibadan. He is very familiar with the many major ethnic groups in his country, and thus possesses a knowledge often well exploited in his novels. He went on subsequently to Yaba Higher College in Ibadan and then moved over to Achimota College in Ghana where he studied forestry. For two years he worked as a forestry officer and then taught science for a brief period. He then entered the Lagos School of Pharmacy. He later continued at the University of London (Chelsea School of Pharmacy) during which period he wrote his earliest fiction, his first book-length publication Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tale (1947) , published in London. His writings earned him a place in the National Media where he rose to Head of features in the Nigerian Broadcasting Services and ultimately becoming its Director.

Several events in Ekwensi’s childhood contributed later to his writings. Although ethnically an Igbo, he was raised among Hausa playmates and schoolmates and so spoke both tribal languages. He also learned of his heritage through the many Igbo stories and legends that his father told him, which he would later publish in the collection Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales. In 1936 Ekwensi enrolled in the southern Nigerian secondary school known as Government College, Ibadan, where he learned about Yoruba culture as well as excelling in English, math, science, and sports. He read everything he could lay his hands on in the school library, concentrating on H. Rider Haggard, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, and Alexandre Dumas. He also wrote articles and stories for numerous school publications, particularly The Viking magazine.

During the later part of his stint as a forest officer Ekwensi started yearning for the city. So beginning in 1947 he taught English, biology, and chemistry at Igbobi College near Lagos. To his classes he read aloud manuscripts of books for children, Drummer Boy, Passport of Mallam Ilia, and Trouble in From Six, and short stories. Finally, after decades of supplementing his writing career by working in broadcasting and doing other public relations work, Ekwensi gave up his day jobs in 1984 to pursue writing full time. He returned to writing adult novels, picking and choosing from his personal “archive” of earlier written manuscripts much of which he revised into the novels Jagua Nana’s Daughter, Motherless Baby, For a Roll of Parchment, and Divided We Stand, which were published in the 1980s. For example, in For a Roll of Parchment he recounted his trip from Nigeria to England, as he had in People of the City. He did, however, update his material to portray post-World War II Nigeria, with its faster paced life.

Sex, violence, intrigue, and mystery in a recognizable contemporary setting most often in the fast-paced melting pot of the city were common diet in Ekwensi’s works especially in Jagua Nana, in which a very worldly and highly attractive forty-five year old Nigerian woman with multiple suitors falls in love with a young teacher, Freddie. She agrees to send him to study law in England on the understanding of their getting married on his return. Around this beautiful and impressive prostitute, Ekwensi sets in motion a whole panoply of vibrant, amoral characters who have drifted from their rural origins to grab the dazzling pleasures of the city.

And the novel itself shows us the seedy underbelly of the big city, Lagos, where Jagua’s favourite haunt, the Tropicana bar, sets the scene for much of the story.

Sometime, back in the 1950s the Onitsha Market ‘literary’ mafia, strarted producing and marketing openly, a semi-nude picture of a buxom Igbo teenage beauty, with the sassy caption, “Beateam mee lee” – I dare you to beat me!

Those were the prudish days of high moral values in Igboland and indeed Nigeria , of Elizabethan fashion with cane-wielding primary school teachers and headmasters. The offending picture sent shockwaves right down the spines of the public who, nonetheless, rushed to buy copies. Men who turned up their noses at the pictures in public, secretly bought, viewed and relished copies. And..school boys did odd jobs for parents, and the money they earned were saved up to the one shilling cost of the picture, which they used to purchase it and then usually tucked it away, in-between books, away from the prying eyes of parents or the class teacher, from where curious peeks of the treasure could be sneeked occasionally, at its owner’s risk, even in the middle of a lesson. Noted for churning out almanacs, with pictures of the famous, unfolding events, folk art, as well as such literature as those of Ogali A. Ogali, author of the legendary “Veronica My Daughter”, the mafia knew where to draw the line. Sex, however, sold any day and age and the mafia knew this. But nobody wanted to be identified with anything even remotely pornographic. “Beateam mee lee” was therefore, at the time, the mother of all daring.

It was against this backdrop that Ekwensi took the Nigerian literary scene by storm with the publication of the raunchy Jagua Nana. Ekwensi’s most widely read novel, Jagua Nana, published in 1961 returned us to the locale of People of the City but with a much more cohesive plot centered on Jagua, a courtesan who had a love for the expensive as reflected in her name itself, which was a corruption of the expensive English automobile, Jaguar. Her life personalizes the conflict between the old traditional and modern urban Africa. Although Ekwensi had earlier shown the direction of his works with the publication, in 1954, of People of the City, it was Jagua (the lead character in this novel) that built the Ekwensi legend and assumed a life all its own, becoming a folk hero of sorts. Jagua dared the reading public. Ekwensi the artist, also had the magic of picking out names of his characters that were instant hits. They stuck like glue in the reader’s memory and helped animate the fictional personality. Bold, defiant, imaginative and rendered with uncommon technical finesse, Jaguar Nana totally established Ekwensi as the ultimate chronicler of Nigerian city life.

Published in 1961, the novel Jagua Nana, tells the story of an aging prostitute named Jagua who tries to provide for herself security in her later life through her relationship with a younger man. Yet while this young man is studying law in England, Jagua involves herself in various activities, some dubious, some not. Jagua Nana, witnessed some improvement in plot quality and control, unlike what obtained in People Of The City, chronicling the adventures of an ageing prostitute in Lagos, in love with her work and the expensive lifestyles, but who ends up in grief and disappointment.

Ekwensi’s attempt to dust her up later and usher her into some form of happiness and fulfillment introduces the quest motif in his work, which manifests itself fully in the sequel, Jagua Nana’s Daughter (1987), where Jagua, after a long search, was able to reconnect with her educated, socially elevated daughter, who had also had her own fair share of loose life. Both daughter and mother were at the same time engrossed in a quest for mutual fulfillment and healing until they met fortuitously. In the end, after she suffers sufficiently, Ekwensi allows her to have happiness.

As was to be in several of his other novels, Ekwensi’s moralizing is evident and reform is possible for some characters. For example, in the later novel Iska Ekwensi portrayed a young Ibo widow, Filia, who moves to Lagos after her husband’s death. There she tries to lead a respectable life. While she tries to get an education and responsible employment, she encounters numerous obstacles, which allow Ekwensi to show readers a wide range of urbanites. Yet this novel, published by a European press, could not compete for popularity with its predecessor, Jagua Nana, which caused controversy for its frank portrayal of sexuality. When an Italian movie company wanted to film Jagua Nana, the Nigerian government prevented this effort fearing negative media portrayals of the country.

Talking about what inspired him to write the work in an interview, Ekwensi said: I was a pharmacy student at the Yaba Higher College those days and I lived in the same compound with a young man who was very romantic. He would never miss his night club for anything. We had a night club then, called Rex Club, run by the late Rewane – the two Rewanes are dead now, by the way and one of them was at Government College, Ibadan while the other one was a politician.

Now, many years later, I was called upon to do a programme for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about night life and I found out that I had so much material about this subject that I could really build it into a whole book. That was the inspiration.

Yet another of his novels is Burning Grass (1961) a collection of vignettes giving insight into the life of a pastoral Fulani cattlemen family of Northern Nigeria..The novel and the characters are based actually on a real family with whom Ekwensi himself had previously lived. For after studying forestry at the Yaba Higher College in Lagos during World War II, Ekwensi began a two-year stint as a forestry officer which familiarized him with the forest reserves,from which he was enabled to write such adventure stories in rural settings as Burning Grass..

“In the days in the forest, I was able to reminisce and write. That was when I really began to write for publishing,” he told Nkosi. The several months spent with the nomadic Fulani people, later became the subjects of Burning Grass.where he follows the adventures of Mai Sunsaye, who has Sokugo, a wanderlust, and of his family, who try to rescue him. While seeing his protagonists through varied adventures, Ekwensi portrays the lives of the Fulani cattlemen. This early work, considered one of his more “serious” novels, was published by Heinemann educational publishers and reissued in 1998

Two novellas for children followed in 1960; both The Drummer Boy and The Passport of Mallam Ilia which were exercises in blending traditional themes with undisguised romanticism.

Between 1961 and 1966 Ekwensi published at least one major work every year. The most important of these were the novels, Beautiful Feathers (1963) and Iska (1966), and two collections of short stories, Rainmaker (1965) and Lokotown (1966).

Beautiful Feathers (1963) reflects the nationalist and pan-Africanist consciousness of the pre-independence days of the 1950s and how the young hero’s youthful commitment to his ideal leads to the disintegration of his family, thus underscoring the proverb alluded to in the title: “however famous a man is outside, if he is not respected inside his own home he is like a bird with beautiful feathers, wonderful on the outside but ordinary within.”

From 1967 to 1969, during the Nigerian civil war, when the eastern part of Nigeria attempted to secede, Ekwensi served as a government information officer the experiences from which he used to write the 1976 picaresque novel Survive the Peace. which realistically portrayed the activities of a radio journalist in the wake of the civil war in Biafra.who in his effort to reunite his family, encounters the violence, destruction, refugees, and relief operations that such chaos engenders. Through flashbacks, Ekwensi also depicts the war itself giving a post-mortem on the just-concluded , interrogates the problems of surviving in the so-called peace. It looks for instance at the pathetic fate of James Odugo, the radio journalist who survives the war only to be cut down on the road by marauding former soldiers.

In such early works as the collections Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales, and An African Night’s Entertainment, the novel Burning Grass, and the juvenile works The Leopard’s Claw and Juju Rock, Ekwensi told stories in a rural setting.

Ekwensi continued to publish beyond the 1960s, and among his later works are the novel Divided We Stand (1980) in which he lampooned the Nigerian civil war, the novella Motherless Baby (1980), and The Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), and Gone to Mecca (1991).

Ekwensi also published a number of works for children.such as Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales (1947) and The Leopard’s Claw (1950). In the 1960s, he wrote An African Night’s Entertainment (1962), The Great Elephant-Bird (1965), and Trouble in Form Six (1966). Over time, Ekwensi produced other books, mostly for children, which though they may not have been internationally acclaimed, were nonetheless well known and read all over Nigeria and Africa. They included Rainmaker (1965), Iska (1966), Coal Camp Boy (1971) Samankwe in the strange Forest (1973), Motherless Baby (1980), The Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Samankwe and the Highway Robbers (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), Gone to Mecca (1991), Masquerade Time! (1992), and King Forever! (1992). In 2006, he completed work on two other books; “Tortoise and the Brown Monkey”, a short story and “Another Freedom”.

Gratifyingly Ekwensi is still writing, He has published several titles as When Love Whispers, Divided We Stand, Jagua Nana’s Daughter and King for Ever! all related to earlier works.

When Love Whispers like Jagua Nana revolves around a very attractive woman with multiple suitors. But whilst she thinks she has won the love of her life her father expects her to get married to an older man in an arranged marriage.

Divided We Stand (1980) was written in the heat of the Biafra war itself, though published later. It reverses the received wisdom that unity is strength, showing how ethnicity, division, and hatred bring about distrust, displacement, and war itself.

Jagua Nana’s Daughter (1986) revolves around Jagua’s daughter’s traumatic search for her mother leading her to find not only her mother but a partner as well. She is able to get married to a highly placed professional as she, unlike her mother, is a professional as well. She thus gains the security and protection she desires.

King for Ever! (1992) satirises the desire of African leaders to perpetuate themselves in power. Sinanda’s rising to power from humble background does not prevent his vaulting ambition from soaring to the height where he was now aspiring to godhead

In the decades since Ekwensi began writing, the Nigerian readership has changed. Unlike the days of the Onitsha Market fiction, when books were printed inexpensively and sold cheaply to suit popular tastes at the turn of the millennium few publishing companies controlled the choice of books published; book prices made books often go beyond the reach of the masses, restricted mostly to schools and libraries, which cater to nonfiction and instructional materials. With various forms of media increasing in popularity, the incentive to read has fallen. With fewer people reading for pleasure, novels are in little demand. Because of these circumstances, creative writers suffer. Of this downside, Ekwensi told Larson, “Journalists thrive here, but creative writers get diverted and the creativity gets washed out of them if they must take the bread and butter home.”

At a public lecture in 2000, quoted by Kole Ade-Odutola in Africa News, the elderly but still vivacious Ekwensi expressed his desire to “build and nurture young minds in the customs and traditions of their communities” through his writings. He explained, “African writers of the twentieth century inherited the oral literature of our ancestors, and building on that, placed at the centre-stage of their fiction, the values by which we as Africans had lived for centuries. It is those values that make us the Africans that we are–distinguishing between good and evil, justice and injustice, oppression and freedom.” In tune with the times, he had started self-publishing his writings on the Internet. Despite the vagaries of the African publishing world, at age 80 Ekwensi was still pursuing his goal because as he wrote in his essay for The Essential Ekwensi 15 years earlier, “The satisfaction I have gained from writing can never be quantified.”

References

Beier, Ulli ed., Introduction to African Literature (1967);

Breitinger, Eckhard, “Literature for Younger Readers and Education in Multicultural Contexts,” in Language and Literature in Multicultural Contexts, edited by Satendra Nandan, Uinveristy of South Pacific, 1983.

· , Volume 117: Caribbean and Black African Writers, Gale, 1992. Dictionary of Literary Biography

Dathorne, O. R. The Black Mind A History of African Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974.

Emenyonu, Ernest, Cyprian Ekwensi. Evans Brothers, 1974.

Emenyonu, Ernest, editor. The Essential Ekwensi. Heinemann Educational Books, 1987.

Larson, Charles R., The Emergence of African Fiction. Indiana University Press, 1971

Larson, Charles R. The Ordeal of the African Writer. London: Zed Books, 2001.

Lindfors, Bernth, ‘Nigerian Satirist’ in ALT5

Laurence, . Margaret Long Drums and Cannons: Nigerian Dramatists and Novelists, 1952-1966 (1968).

Mphahlele, Ezekiel

Palmer Eustace. The Growth of the African Novel. Studies in African literature. London: Heinemann, 1979.

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Creative Writers Use Inference to Say More by Saying Less

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All creative writers use inference, whether by choice or by accident. So you may be thinking, "If I can do use it by accident, why should I study it?" You should study it because you can use the technique more effectively if you understand all the ramifications involved.

This is inference:

Mary was in labor. She had a monkey.

This is the type of headlines you read in the Inquirer and other such magazines. On the surface, one could assume the following:

1. A woman had mated with a monkey and got pregnant
2. She went to the hospital to give birth
3. Her baby was not a child, it was a monkey
4. It was a historical event
5. This event would open new doors to the medical community and scientists
6. The news media would hound the monkey child through its life
7. Documentaries would have been unduly created
8. A movie would be in the making

Thoughts would flood your mind. Did the woman go on a safari? Was she attacked by a monkey or an ape? Where was her husband? Or was she even married? How will her family accept the monkey baby? Does it have any human characteristics?

Or, you could read it the way I was thinking when I wrote it: Mary was in labor, and she owned a monkey. Do you see what inference can do?

Mystery authors quite often mislead the reader by dropping clues that can be read the wrong way. Inference is also used in riddles, jokes and some games.

Inference creates a mental puzzle for the reader to solve. The reader's mind will always jump past the immediate and form its own conclusions, based on the information they have been fed. If the writer wants to, he can change the mental image in the next sentence.

Another example:

The bride collapsed in tears, and could not be consoled.

We might think:

1. The groom did not show up for the wedding
2. She tore her wedding dress
3. Someone dropped the wedding cake
4. The organist or preacher could not be there

We could imagine all sorts of things, but what I'm actually thinking is that her father died of a heart attack during the wedding. From what I said, however, it is illegally that anyone would forgive that meaning. And that the reader will infer their own meaning into the given evidence and come forth with their own conclusion. In other words, they will supply the lack evidence by their own definition of what would cause a bride to collapse in tears.

Inference is a great tool. You can infer that a man is in love with his best friend's wife without ever saying it. You can further infer that they are having a love affair, that the husband knows nothing at all about it, but hubby is about to find out. If you introduce a gun into the equation, you can infer someone is going to die as a result.

Use inference wisely to say a lot by saying less.

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Article Writing 101: The Perfect Author Resource Box

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If you want to really make your article “SELL” then you’ve got to craft the perfect RESOURCE BOX. This is the “author bio” that is below your article body and it’s also known as your “SIG” (short for SIGnature).

Here are the essential items that should be in your RESOURCE BOX:

  • Your Name: You’d be amazed at how many folks forget to include their name in the RESOURCE BOX. Your name and optional title should be the first thing in your resource box.
  • Your Website Address: in valid URL form. Example: http://Your-Company-Name.com/
  • Your Elevator Pitch: This is 1 to 3 sentences that encapsulates the essence of what makes you and your offering unique. Also known as your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
  • Your Call To Action: You’ve got them warmed up and now it’s time to lead them to BUY from you or visit your website. This is where you “Ask For The Sale.” Best to only give (1) specific call to action.

Here are some optional items you could include in your RESOURCE BOX:

  • Your Ezine Subscription Address: While getting your interested visitor to surf your website is nice, capturing their email address can help you begin the confidence/trust process. If you’re going to do this strategy, include a URL for your ezine subscription address and do not use an email address for the “join” address.
  • Your Contact Information: Such as your business phone number or how to reach you for interviews or your press/media kit. Keep in mind that article marketing is a timeless strategy and you may not have an easy ability to retract what you put in your article once it hits major distribution.
  • A Free Report: This could also be part of your call to action or your free bonus report that further enhances your credibility as the expert on the topic of your article.
  • Your email autoresponder: I’m not a big fan of this strategy due to the fact that spammers will text-extract your autoresponder address and add it to their spam list. Perhaps this strategy was best for the 1990’s and has now run its course.
  • An anchor URL that is related to one keyword or keyword phrase that you want to build SEO strength for. Example: if I wanted to build search engine relevance/strength for the term “Article Writing,” I’d link up that term in my resource box to my website. This is an intermediate to advanced level strategy and should not be abused by over-doing it. Keep it simple.

What NOT to include in your RESOURCE BOX:

  • A listing of every website you own. There is no faster way to dilute your credibility than by posting a half dozen irrelevant URLs that have nothing to do with each other. Best to only post ONE URL that is related to the topic of your article.
  • A listing of every accomplishment you’ve achieved to date. No one cares. Keep your resource box brief and to the point. Yes, your resource box should be benefit oriented so that the reader finds value in reading it rather than your ego being justified.
  • Advertisements or pitches for products that are not relevant to the topic of your article.
  • Keep the size of your resource box so that it’s no larger than 15% of your total article size. Too often I see resource boxes that are 50% of the size of the total article and this is abusive.

Your Perfect Resource Box Conclusion:

The BODY of your article is where you “GIVE” and the RESOURCE BOX is where you get to “TAKE” for your article gift of information. The resource box is the “currency of payment” you receive for giving away your article. Be sure to include your name, website address, your unique selling proposition as briefly as possible and a simple call to action.

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Marc Harty’s Seven Point Formula For Creating a Winning Online Press Release

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Marc Harty’s 7 point formula.

#1 Headline

Keep your headline short and make sure you have your keyword phrase in your headline. This is key and something that even the experts miss or forget to do. The earlier you put your keyword phrase in the headline the better.

#2 Summary

Two or three sentences… What is this press release about? What are you talking about? What is the topic?

#3 Intro Paragraph

If you know anything about copywriting you know that the purpose of the headline is to get you to keep reading. The purpose of the summary is to get you to keep reading to the intro paragraph. The purpose of the intro paragraph is to get you to read the rest of the release.

I like to ask a question. I don’t want to get right into talking about myself. I want to add some context. I want to say these day’s things are tough in the economy whatever it is, but something that can build rapport with people.

This isn’t just a press release, its common sense and copywriting 101. Build that rapport with your audience.

#4 Quotes

You’ve probably seen this on the news or in a press release. There is somebody quoted. If you’re doing a press release that somebody is you, but it doesn’t have to be you.

For example, if you’re using one of my techniques and piggybacking on current events, maybe that quote is something that’s out there in the media. Maybe it’s a third-party, a research study and you’re quoting the person who’s in charge of that study.

About 99% of the time, I write the quote for my clients and let them okay it. This isn’t Shakespeare. You don’t have to say something that goes on and on or that will live for 300 years. Make it pithy, short and sound bite worthy.

#5 Support Points – Facts

When I first started in copywriting I learned the distinction between facts and claims. If I say we’re number one, that’s a claim. If I can say we’re number one, because we sell more units or we’ve generated more revenue, now I’ve taken that claim and made it a fact.

What can you do that are support points that are fact-based that you can talk about in terms of your story or topic for that press release?

#6 Call to Action

I would say most people that do press releases do not have a call to action and if they do it goes something like this: “Visit our website blahblahblah.com. Call our toll free number blah-blah-blah.” I don’t know about you, but I am not incentivized. I’m not motivated to move further in learning about this business, service or company, because I don’t know what’s waiting for me. It seems kind of pedestrian.

In press releases people were taught to be non-promotional, because it’s a press release. It needs to be editorial and that’s true. One of the differences in press releases is you can’t use the word “you” in copy, because it needs to be written in third-person.

#7 About

This is a paragraph your company, not the subject of the press release, because you may have multiple products. And it can also be about you if you’re an author or speaker it can be about you.

This is an opportunity that if you have some credibility, if you’ve been published in a specific magazine, as seen on CNN whatever those things are, those are the opportunities to put in that about section.

This about section is consistent from release to release, which is good, because now part of your press release is already pre-written for you and it’s not going to change. It doesn’t have to be long. I usually do three or four paragraphs. Also put in your link to your website.

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Online Freelance Work Example Freelance Bid Proposals

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When seeking out freelance work, the proposal is the meat and potatoes of your effort to get hired and get paid. If you’re a writer, the proposal is also a showcase for your skills because your skill in selling yourself is reflective of your ability to write on behalf of your client.

A good proposal should be concise, powerful and persuasive. It should also have a logical flow which answers the following questions:

o What will you do?

o Why will you do it in the manner you describe?

o How will you do it?

o How much will you charge?

o What are your payment terms (including up front fees)?

o When will you do it?

Start your proposal with an introductory paragraph summarizing any information that has already been discussed. This is important to show you understand the desires of the client. Sometimes the client may only read this portion (it happens) so make sure you get the most important points in the introduction.

Here’s an example freelance bid proposal.

Your contact info

Date

Client’s contact info

Dear Client,

After reviewing your requirements, I’ve researched the aspects of the project as you’ve specified. As I see it you’re looking for a web site that provides (feature), (feature) and (feature). I believe we are best suited to provide you with the solution you’re looking for that will not only (insert benefit) but will (another benefit). Below you will find my ideas to carry out the solution you seek.

With our combined 20 years of experience developing these solutions, I am confident you will be most satisfied with the work we do. We feel that designing a web site is for more than just making money. Our background in design and marketing will lead to a website that helps you gain new customers and keep the ones you have while presenting your company with the image you envision.

You will find our bid for this project and payment terms on the following page. This quote is good for 30 days from the date presented. Upon acceptance, we are ready to start immediately.

Freelance job proposals can be very simple, one page documents or can span several pages. It depends on the complexity of the job and on the client. The best way to figure out what is required is to maintain good communications with your prospective client. As you get more projects under your belt, you’ll develop an archive of proposals, which you can use to build proposals for future projects. Experience and efficiency come with time and action so get started today and write that proposal.

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Insight, Oversight, Foresight, and Hindsight for Writers

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Looking for a different angle on your fiction or nonfiction? Consider the concepts of insight, oversight, foresight and hindsight for your fiction character’s point of view or as the angle for your nonfiction topic. They may prove to be the unique twist you’ve been looking for.

 

Insight

Insight is defined as the power to see into a situation (penetration), to see the cause and effect within a specific context, or the act of understanding the inner nature of things (intuition). Some other synonyms for insight, besides penetration and intuition, include, instinct, sixth sense, profundity, sagacity, sageness, discernment, deduction, and wisdom.

 

Insight can reveal itself abruptly and unexpectedly. For example, when faced with a difficult problem or dilemma, your suddenly know exactly what the solution is. You have an epiphany or an “Aha!” moment. In fiction, your character may have these on a regular basis, giving her the reputation of being a psychic or something. Or the insight may be part of the plot, where everything becomes clear to the reader, though not overtly of course. For nonfiction, the writer might use their personal insight on a topic or field of study to explain things for his or her readers. Or the writer may show readers how to develop their own insight and how to use their insight in their personal, work and social lives.

 

Oversight

Oversight is defined as observant and conscientious attention; strict supervision or management; or an unintentional omission or mistake. Synonyms for oversight include: disregard, neglect, a slight, boss, overlook, superintend, supervise, or to watch over.

 

In fiction, your character may be an overseer who manages slaves in the field, who is a strict disciplinarian in the work place, or a high-ranking government employee responsible for keeping the masses in line. For nonfiction you may be writing articles or books on government oversight committees, asking who is overseeing the government, discussing government regulations or clinical supervision. Nonfiction writers could also create an oversight system which they teach to their readers, or even show readers how to set up their own oversight protocols for their workplace or charities.

 

Foresight

Foresight is the act of foreseeing or seeing a development beforehand; prudence; or the act of looking forward. Synonyms include: caution, carefulness, good sense, care, forethought discretion, unusual perception, creative discernment, prescience, vision, exercising good judgment, common sense, circumspection, to be farsighted, or to be a visionary.

 

In fiction your character might be a futurist (someone who looks at all the present and past facts and trends to predict future events) or a religious or spiritual person who has a gift for keen foresight. For nonfiction, writers could interview futurists about their economic and political foresight, they could offer their own foresight into any field based on their expertise, or they can teach their readers how to develop their own foresight based on the facts and trends of current and past events.

 

Hindsight

Hindsight can be defined as retrospect, the awareness or discernment of the nature, makeup, or disposition of any event that has already occurred, or the penchant for seeing past events as being more predictable than they actually were at the time. Synonyms might include: 20/20 vision, 20/20 hindsight, Monday morning quarterbacking, experience, realization, knowledge, learning, looking back, recollection, remembering, the knew-it-all-along effect, memory distortion, or creeping determinism.

 

In fiction, your character may have failed to see the signs or clues to their predicament, but in hindsight now sees the error of his or her ways, or the character may be using hindsight as a means of reflection to re-examine his life. Nonfiction writers can use hindsight to discuss how our memories can be faulty or how they may have been affected by our belief systems and our personal histories and biases. Writers could also teach their readers how to use hindsight to re-examine their belief systems or to reflect on and re-examine their lives. Both fiction and nonfiction writers can make use of Monday morning quarterbacking and the knew-it-all-along mentalities. Better yet, consider how hindsight can be used to inform foresight in either your fiction or your nonfiction.

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Source by Joan Whetzel