I Guess…I Wrote a Poem?

I wanted to draw…so I drew some pictures.

I listened to music that was a…well, hard core.

I kept sketching faces from inside my head.

Now my wrist is kind of sore….


This wasn’t supposed to be a poem…but I can’t control the writer so…okay we’ve got a poem. Awesome sauce! It’s late I should sleep. Yah…sleep sounds like a good idea.

Goodnight.

— R.

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Writing Tip: Keep Your Mind Healthy

I know this might seem like a weird tip but it’s one that is often overlooked, and it’s of great importance.

When a person’s mind is healthy they’re able to think clearly and they can produce wonderful ideas.

Ones mental health is just as important as their physical health, although the media tends to put more stress onto how we look. Your mental health can have an effect on the quality of your writing.

Some simple things that you can do to keep your mind healthy are,

  1. Getting enough sleep: this can be 8 hours, it can be 10 hours. It’s all up to you and how your body feels. Just remember that too much sleep is just as bad as getting too little sleep. It’s important to have balance.
  2. Exercise: Yep…I’m sure most of you saw this one coming. I myself need to get up and go for a nice run. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. You can simply go for a walk (maybe circle your local mall a few times), or go for a swim. Try skipping or go for a quick ride on your bike. Think of it as recess. Go get some fresh air and do something that is active and enjoyable. Exercise helps to relieve stress and it is good for both your mind and body.
  3. Eat the Right Stuff: We’re all guilty of giving into our cravings once in a while…or all the time but as I said it’s important to have balance. If there are fruits and vegetables that you like, purchase those and try to have them with at least two of your meals for the day. This is something that I am working on myself and I have to say, when I eat well I feel a whole lot better. It doesn’t have to be hard. If you like tomatoes, add a tomato to your sandwich. If you like to eat oranges, have one with your breakfast in the morning. Put some strawberries or cherries on top of your ice cream sundae. It’s as simple as that.
  4. Be Social: Interacting with others, whether that be people or animals, is extremely important. I find that if I don’t talk to anyone for sometime I get a bit lonely, and it makes it harder for me to put a lot of work into anything. The conversations we have with others can help with our writing. Sometimes it can spark ideas inside of us and other times it can remind us of what dialogue should sound like. Dialogue should be written how we speak. If you listen to the way that others talk, then you’ll have an easier time trying to recreate that speech within your text.

It’s nice to have a six-pack but always remember that you should love your mind and you should cherish it. Take care of yourself inside and out and your thoughts will flow onto the page smoothly.

Oh and for those of you who get writers block, doing this stuff can seriously help. It’s better than sitting around moping for twenty-four hours trying to force something out.

Finding Meaning for Yourself: A Reply to Arguments on YouTube

So, I thought I should share this with all of you. I posted this on YouTube this morning after, once again, being disappointed by the massive amount of people trying to argue about what a song actually meant (well several songs).

Note that this particular song was by a Christian band, which is why I specifically pointed out religion.


I see a lot of these songs as having a double meaning. The meaning changes depending on why you decided to turn to the song in the first place. That is the power of music. Unfortunately when artists get labelled by their religion, they become boxed in and lose a lot of their potential audience (it’s a known fact). Honestly, I don’t even believe it is the bands fault that this happens, but it is the people who listen to the music and try to tell others how it should make them feel. Instead of trying to analyse the song, and or use the artists meaning, you should find meaning in it for yourself. That is when it will truly reach you. Only when you find meaning for yourself in art, can you truly be touched.
I hope that many of you will attempt to do this in the future, versus going off of meanings and analyses given to you by other people. Sure it is nice to know why certain songs were written, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t first find a meaning for yourself. A true artist does not intend for us to find the same meaning they did in a piece, but to create something new within ourselves from the art they shared with us.

English Class: What my notes are covered in

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I totally pay attention during my lectures! Look at this. I barely coloured in the lines because I was so focused on what was going on up front.

My notes could honestly be an entire art collection. Every page has something drawn on it. Some pictures didn’t turn out well so they’re not included in this…there are literally hundred of them.

I’ll show you…

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My friends get mad when I say these are doodles even though they are Dx

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If anyone knows which novel the guy in the red hunting hat is from, that proves I was paying attention in class.

The girl I drew because I just felt like it. Her eyes are HUGE but she looks like this character I designed for a comic in grade 5 but she doesn’t look as weird. It was about these kids with super powers. Yah…now my little sister makes comic books and I write novels. We sometimes combine our ideas and come up with really cool stories.

I’m sorry that some of these are really bad quality…I took the pictures with my cellphone.

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I randomly decided to draw four random people and I did. The one guy looks so confused. I should have drawn them based off what my professor was saying. xD He makes the best jokes out of no where.

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If you give me something to draw with and something to draw on, drawings will be made. I purposely asked my nana to buy my the pack with different colour pens so that I could edit my writing and draw all over everything.

First Week at University

This week I started university. The first day was a bit overwhelming. When my family left I wasn’t sure of what to do with myself for the next few hours. I felt almost as though they had abandoned me, even though I had been so excited to live on my own and make new friends.

Days later I began to meet great new people and today I am preparing for my very first lecture. I’m excited for the class and am looking forward to the novels that we will be reading as well as the things we’re going to study. I hope that I will enjoy the course and that I will like the professor.

Everyone at this university seems very friendly and easy going. It isn’t hard to make friends and for the first time I’m actually happy to be back at school in September.

Thank you to all of the wonderful ISW leaders here at my school for introducing me to cool people and for making the transition from High school to University so much easier.

Writing Dialogue

Being an active reader allowed me to pick out the things that I liked about different authors and their writing styles. One thing that I found extremely important in a novel (especially those labelled under the Young Adult fiction category) was how well the dialogue was written.

I would make note of what the author did throughout the areas of speech. Some authors used an accent to indicate where a character was from. Another thing I picked out was the use of diction. For example, if the person speaking simply “said” a phrase or if they “mumbled” it. I also kept a close eye on how quickly the dialogue helped move the story along as well as how it pulled on the heartstrings of the reader, making them sympathise with a specific character.

The first thing to keep in mind about dialogue is the length. Dialogue should not drag on for twelve pages non-stop. It should especially not go on and on as one character tells their entire backstory to the reader in one big phrase. In reality people wouldn’t speak like this. If we did, we would constantly be drifting off onto different topics, which would take away from the point we were trying to make in the first place. This is why the length of the dialogue is extremely important.

Here is an example:

  1. Bad Dialogue: “Frankie never hurt anyone. He was so kind to others. He had this sort of demeanour that drew people to him. He was such a good boy.” she sobbed.
  2. Good Dialogue: “Frankie was a good little boy,” she whispered. Her voice caught in her throat.

Notice how in the first example the character speaks on and on about Frankie? Even though this does help to move the story along, having all of that information packed into one big clump of speech is not only a pain to read but it also gives away too much information to the reader at once. This is why the second example is better. This example is short and simple. It allows the writer to feed the dialogue to the reader in smaller bits as the story progresses.

The next thing to remember about dialogue is that it helps bring life to a character. Using the same example as before where the female character speaks about the boy, Frankie, you can assume that she,

a)      Knew him well.

b)      Cared for him.

c)      Is upset by whatever happened to him.

This information was pulled out of one simple phrase said by this character. You can now try and determine who the speaker is to Frankie. It could be his girlfriend, his mother, his teacher, his babysitter, etc. Whichever you choose can add even more emotion to the phrase as well as contribute to forming a three dimensional character.

The first two points are why the dialogue must have purpose.

Why is the female character telling someone about Frankie? Is she being interviewed by a reporter about the death of her child, or is she standing up for him because he got into a fight with another boy in his class?

The reason behind each phrase said by a character must be significant to the story itself. If the character were in a fast food restaurant, serving hamburgers to costumers and randomly telling them, “Frankie was a good boy,” they would think she was a lunatic.

Now let’s make this female character more three dimensional by giving her a quick description through some dialogue.

“Frankie was a good little boy,” she whisper. Her voice caught in her throat.

“Who is she?” Questioned the detective

“Eloise Johnson,” Muttered Carlton. “The kid’s mother.”

From this short bit of dialogue we can gather up basic information about the character that is not only important but it helps contribute to the story.

We know now that the female character is named Eloise Johnson and that she is Frankie’s mother. We also know that her son may have been involved in a crime due to the other characters that are present. All of those things we learned from a few simple but significant phrases.

Now let’s say that the character Carlton has an accent. Instead of simply writing, “Eloise Johnson,” Muttered Carlton with an Irish accent. “The kid’s mother,” his accent should be shown to the reader.

Writing, “Eloise Johnson,” muttered Carlton. “The kid’s mither,” is much more effective. Why? Because from this way the reader is able to see that Carlton may not be from the same place as our other two characters, Eloise Johnson and the detective. Even though mither isn’t exactly a word, it adds depth to Carlton’s character. It also shows the reader that Carlton has a specific way of speaking. This is important because now the reader is able to link the accent back to the character for future references.

Though adding a dialect is good, please remember that using too much could confuse the reader. Keep the dialect to a minimum!

Now that we have covered some of the important things to keep in mind while creating dialogue, there is one last thing that I feel is I need to share with you in order to help you improve your dialogue: read it aloud.

I know that sometimes it can be a little strange to go around talking to yourself but it you don’t have to actually act out the scenes. We don’t want any of your family members to become concerned about your well-being, however just taking the time to read over your dialogue (quietly) after you have written it can help you to determine whether or not it is indeed good dialogue.

There have been times where I was writing dialogue for a character in their teens and the way that they were speaking made them sound like an elderly man. If I hadn’t read my dialogue out loud, versus in my head I wouldn’t have realized how strange it sounded.

So remember:

  • Dialogue should be simple but significant: do not go on and on and on in one big phrase. Especially if it has nothing to do with the story.
  • Show Don’t Tell!
  • Read it aloud: seriously this make a huge difference.

First Day Back: My Parents Don’t Understand and Advice

So today was my first day back at school. It went by a lot faster than I originally thought it would. It was almost as if I’d never left. This year so far my courses seem great…however my parents do not seem to understand that the courses that I am taking are in order for me to get a Bachelor of the Arts and then later move on into the field of teaching.  I’ve tried constantly to explain this to them, and they don’t seem to be getting my point. They think that I should be applying for the concurrent program, not spending possibly seven years in university. Personally, I feel that doing this the old fashioned way, is more beneficial for me. I don’t need to stress out over what courses I am taking, and all I have to do is focus on having my work completed and handed in on time (done properly as well). This constant debate over what I am doing with my future education is actually starting to get to the point where I don’t even want to try and argue with them anymore. I understand that my parents probably wont like their child being a writer on the side while in school, but I feel like they should just deal with it and let me do my own thing now that I’m older. Yes I am still living at home, but its my future right? What I decide to do from this point on really shouldn’t be up to them.

Other than that my first day back as a senior breezed by pretty quick. I can’t believe I’m so old. I mean, I’ve changed so much from when I started high school, to now. When I look back, I wonder why I was ever that insecure? Why did I care about what other people thought of me? Five years ago I finally spoke out and stood up for myself. Today I’m expressing myself through my writing mainly, but I’m strong enough to stand up and tell people what I think rather than just sitting there in the corner afraid that I might do something stupid.

Here’s a little word of advice for those of you who are starting high school. Don’t bother trying to fit in. Be yourself, because that’s the only time you’ll ever be happy.

Trust me… I’ve been there.

 

Signed wise, old but not so old,

Orion.

P.S My parents are actually pretty understanding people when it comes to certain things, and honestly I can talk to them about almost anything…as long as its not school related. In my family most of the kids are naturally smart and don’t have to study…then there’s me, the creative wiz kid who has to study unless its a course where I get to be creative. Yes I did just call myself a creative wiz kid…Don’t hug me I’m scared. Ha…yah. Don’t judge me.

Getting Ready to Publish

Lately, I’ve been getting ready to publish my first book. I’ve never published a book before, though I do have many resources on how to do so. Back in the tenth grade, I actually purchased two books on how to write and publish books directed towards YA (young adult) readers. I have also often looked for tips and resources online, and I have explored different publishers within my country that I could send my books too.

The first thing my two resource books went over, was how to come up with a story. Then the books would go on to explain things such as the 8-point Arc, creating characters, coming up with a plot, the different types of viewpoints, etc. After the basics on how to create the outline for your story was covered, the books continued on to talk about things such as writing style, setting, theme, and finally went on to explain how to edit, shape and later on market your book. The marketing part actually seemed the easiest after reading these resource books. What they suggested, was that in order to market your books, get out there and have some of your work posted up online, or in local newspapers (this was usually recommended for those looking at big publishers).

After reading these books, I felt that publishing wasn’t as difficult as it seemed. I guess I’m going to find out if that’s true or not. I’ve decided, that since I’ll be publishing my first book that I should document the process. I figure that this is something that should be shared with those who are looking to have books published as well.

If you are looking for a writing/publishing resource book check out: Write A Novel and Get it Published, by Nigel Watts. It’s very straight-forward and easy to comprehend.

 

I did have another book but I seem to have misplaced it. When I find it I will make sure to add it to this post.

Anyways, I’ll keep everyone updated on this publishing thing. I’m very excited. I can’t wait to see my book in public library’s, and in book stores.

If anyone else is publishing, or has been published and would like to share their experiences with me, please feel free. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Orion.

Why I Love Kids Movies

So this evening I went to see the new Despicable Me 2 movie with some friends. Not only did I find the minions hilarious (they honestly make the movie), I also spilt nacho dip all over myself. Now I’m not here to give away any spoilers, I’m actually here to talk about why I love to watch kids movies, and why I think they’re great resources for those looking to get into children’s literature.

Like children’s books, kids movies are usually uncomplicated. I personally find that the simple things, are very hard to dislike. If you are looking at writing a children’s book, or YA (young adult) fiction, I recommend watching kids movies in a theatre full of children as a form of research.

Here’s why:

  1. First off, you get to watch the reactions the kids have to certain themes throughout the movie. This can help you know what most kids find fun, and what they find boring.
  2. An easy way to spark new ideas, is to build on old ones. For example, take what used to be known as a stool, add a back to it, and BAM you’ve got yourself a chair.
  3. Movies that are specifically directed towards children can often bring out your inner child/preteen. Seriously, I laughed at the minions when they made fart sounds with their mouths. I usually find fart sounds annoying and gross.
  4. It’s entertaining and can be very relaxing as well. If you’re stressed out from writing, studying, or even just your day in general, go watch a children’s movie. They rarely disappoint, and they’re usually hilarious. Plus, laughter helps to relieve stress.
  5. You can connect with your audience. You can easily observe them in their natural habitat: listen to the way they speak, look at how they are dressed, and watch what they do. As long as you can observe and become somewhat connected with your audience, you are on the right track.

Now I’m not saying that watching kids movies is the GREATEST and only way that you can do research on children for your books, but it is very easy, beneficial, and it doesn’t seem “weird” or “creepy.”

There are also many other ways that you can do research on kids that are safe, and not considered “creepy.” For instance, you can volunteer with children, or babysit for a friend or family member who has kids. If you have kids of your own, simply get your research from them.

In the end, I promise you’ll get great results, and it will make it so much easier for you to write your books!

Before I go, let me just say that Despicable Me 2 is WAY better than the first movie. I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a good laugh and likes clean humour.