Novel Update: 4th Anniversary

Today the 4th Anniversary of my novel. It’s hard to believe that I began writing this book back when I was still a high school student.

I’ve come along way since I started the first page of my draft back in 2013. I’ve had experiences which helped me add more to the story that I couldn’t back when I was in high school. I completed the hardcopy version, and edited it. I’ve begun looking more into my publishing options. I’ve also been apply to Graduate school…which is weird. On top of that I’ve started the draft of the second book in the series (yep there’s more than one book).

I’m honestly can’t wait to have lots of people read it.

Not only that but my children’s book is finally becoming a reality. The illustrations are fantastic.

Despite all of the ups and downs I’ve had recently and all that occurred during these past four years, I’m glad to say that my book will definitely be published. I defeated my writers block, and jumped over the hurdles thrown in my path.

Seeing my words printed on paper is a wonderful feeling. I’ll have to print off another draft soon, and send copies to my other beta readers…who I am seriously thankful for.

I’m excited for this. I’m really excited. I haven’t had a lot to look forward to recently…well that’s not true, I’ve just been extremely busy and haven’t had any time to myself.

I’m also very…very short on money right now.  I only make a little money and apparently it costs around $100 every time you apply to a schools graduate program. So if I apply to four schools that’s $400…$400 that come out of my groceries, and bill payments. I have to pay my bills this week. I’m pretty sure it was a set fee back when I was in high school. You paid $100 for a total of three university applications. Why do they think that suddenly these same students are making millions of dollars four years later? I think I had more money when I was in high school. I didn’t spend money on anything but books. I didn’t have to pay rent, and pay for my heat and hydro. I didn’t buy my own groceries either. It wasn’t like I had to budget $100 every month for food and such. I also didn’t have to clean up after my roommates…who continue to do things that they agreed they wouldn’t do before I selected them as roommates.

I’m definitely considering living on my own next year. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s mess. I can shower without pulling back the curtain and finding God knows what. My kitchen won’t smell like rotting meat, and since I’m the only person who lives here who knows how to take out the trash…and to use a trash can…then I won’t need to worry about people not pulling their weight. Too bad rent is expensive and it’s easier to divide it up between four people. Seriously…this is a pain in the butt.

Anyway, I have class soon so I’d better finish up my breakfast.

I hope everyone is surviving this weird weather.

Till next time,

–R.

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AHH! Lot of Homework

Well I’ve got a lot of homework to do this month. Busy, busy.

I am working on a fun little project. Well two actually. If the one project isn’t finished by the time its due I’ll post it online. Its just something extra that I wanted to do for bonus marks but with all the essays, books and assignments I have I’m not sure if I’ll get it finished in time. I’d love to though. I rarely get to hand in my drawings for a project.

I may or may not have my children’s book reviewed along with the rest of my creative writing portfolio. I’ve got a lot of material but its hard putting together eight pieces to showcase. I haven’t done the illustrations for the children’s book yet so that means I may or may not be staying up till odd hours drawing tonight and tomorrow. We’ll see.

Hope you all have a great rest of your week and for anyone else inching towards exams or with a ton of assignments…or just with a lot on their plate right now, we’ll get through this. One step at a time.

Stay golden,

R.

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.

Writing Tip: Character Backgrounds

Sometimes I like to create extremely detailed backgrounds for my characters. Though I don’t go into as much detail as I did with my very first novel, I still put a lot of work into making my characters “come to life.”

For my first novel I went through things such as my characters favourite colours, the foods they liked to eat, their family members, their pets (if they had any), their preferred styles of clothing, their favourite genres…etc. I gave them birthdays (I even celebrated them), and full names and talked about them to my family and friends as though they were actual people. Sometimes I would go through my day pretending to be them in certain situations (I don’t recommend this…unless you want to be more confident playing basketball).

The amount of work I put into that novel (which became a 6 book series) was…well it was fun but it did distract me from things like school and that wasn’t okay. Plus some of the stuff was a little…let’s just say much. I was only thirteen then, and I didn’t have a laptop or a cellphone so…I had spare time to be imaginative.

Anyway, now instead of writing out complete profiles for characters, I only write out things that are of extreme importance to me. Things that have an effect on the story and my characters progression throughout. It still takes work, and it still takes time but it is worth it. Trust me.

I’d like to caution you not to…well put too much into your characters back story. A complicated back story is hard to express throughout the novel without it a) stressing you out and b) making the character hard to follow and also…a bit annoying.

It’s alright to have a tragic back story for your characters, but do so in a delicate fashion. Don’t just throw things into the story because it’s “dramatic” and “heart-wrenching.” As a book lover and an author…I find that stuff irritating.

I don’t mind if Bob’s parent’s were tragically killed in a car accident when he was little and that he has to live with his abusive grandfather, who hates him because his daughter married Bob’s father without her father’s blessing. Bob’s dream is to become a jockey but his grandfather is against it because he doesn’t think Bob will make much money. That’s a back story that has some depth and explanation…it’s saying “Yah this character’s an orphan and his grandpa’s a jerk” without adding in unnecessary background drama that does absolutely nothing for the story.

For example, Bob’s grandfather’s great-uncle Hank was trampled by a team of horses right in front of him. Bob also has a prosthetic leg because of the car accident. He has horrible flash backs about his first love being run over by a drunk driver while they were racing each other across the street. Bob’s claustrophobic and his grandfather is dying of a rare disease that eats away at your bones…or something.

Do not do that! Please! I am begging you!

I’ve read so many short stories by young people and they throw in so much of this…”drama” thinking that it’s good. This isn’t anime guys! Stop! Just stop! I’m trying to help you…please no over dramatic, tragic back stories. Please….

Well that’s all for now.

Write on!

— R.

Writing Tip: Drawing and Writing

I’m apologizing once again for not blogging as often. I haven’t been doing much other than work.

Novel wise, I decided to do some character sketches. Which I highly suggest. It helps you visualize your characters look and personality. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures are capable of telling stories within themselves. It came help you form a characters background and it gives them more depth. The reason I suggest drawing them rather than searching up say…brown haired girl on Google, is because using an actual image from the internet takes away from your own creativity. What you visualize your character looking like won’t be found on Google (that is unless you chose a specific model and based your novel around them). It is better to draw your character. You don’t need to be artistic. What you might see and what someone else sees on that paper is going to be different. If we were not taught in school to over analyze the world of art and weren’t told that only ONE way of seeing things was the RIGHT way, then each and every person that saw your image would see something different.

It is just like when you finish watching a film or reading a book. You might have enjoyed it very much, but another person might not have gotten that same effect.

By drawing your characters you can remain in control. You won’t try to fit them into someone else’s image. They’ll remain apart of your world. You also wont feel the need to over describe them.

Videos on Writing

I really wanted to share this video Unusual Writing Tips that I found on YouTube. Throughout the week I tend to do research for my novel or check out articles, books and videos on how to improve my writing (or just to make sure I’m on the right track).

This video is short and simple and some of the tips in it I use myself, such as the giving your characters faces tip. However, I draw mine…maybe I’ll share some of these drawings sometime soon, I’ve got a whole pile.

Anyway it’s worth watching it’s almost 5 minutes like but some of these sorts of videos are 12 – 20 minutes long.  

This video, also by Andrea is on Characterization. A lot of the tips that she gives here in this video are things that I myself do. I have done blog posts in the past on characterization and the importance of your characters name. I tend to put a lot of effort into my characters because I want to know them like we’ve been friends for over ten years or something.

Okay so here is another video on Villains. I really enjoyed this video, it had some very interesting tips and insights on how to create a good villain for your story. A couple of the things that Shadevlog mentioned I hadn’t ever thought of however I was really happy when she said her point about how one even in reality does not make someone turn super evil or decide to do something because instantly I thought of Batman.

In so many Batman comics and films and in the cartoons, Bruce Wayne and almost all of the villains have one traumatic incident that makes them decide on whether or not they are going to become good or evil. In my opinion there’s got to be more to the story than that. I’m sorry but Brucie, your parents were killed and in many different scenarios you came across a bat…or several bats. But why did that make you become a 40 year old man that drives around at night looking for crime?

Is this what it means to have a mid-life crisis..? 

I don’t know. I never really got into Batman anyway. 

This next video is called How to Write a Great First Chapter. This is an excellent video to watch because Ellen Brock as an editor knows a lot about what it is that writers should and should not do when it comes to their opening chapters. In this video Ellen talks about introducing the catalyst, types of conflict (internal was her example), and setting the tone and she goes over the basics of writing your first chapter in a straightforward way. 

So I might share so more of these tips of videos later on, since I love to share my findings with fellow writers. 

Hope that everyone is having an awesome week so far. Also feel free to let me know of any books or videos or articles that you really enjoyed that have to do with writing. 

 

The Problem With YA Fiction

Some might argue that young adult fiction is not a good form of literature. They might say that it lacks quality or that the novels are simply written to please the audience.

Others would say the complete opposite. They would probably remind us not forget that some of the most popular YA novels have also reached adult audiences.

Now I’m not exactly a fan of “sitting on the fence” but in this case I will as I do have valid points for each side of argument.

I do feel as though YA novel is a real form of literature, though I’ve heard many of my teachers scoff at the novels we teenagers are currently reading especially those involving vampires and werewolves. I also cannot deny the fact that I too have turned up my nose many times at a vast amount of the novels being produced for this age group. However it is not because I think the novels are poorly written but because I find them to be fake.

fake

As you may or may not have noticed the word fake has been overused by us teenagers recently but I am going to use it in this case simply because it is the first word that comes to mind when discussing YA fiction.

The problem with young adult fiction is that the characters and what they go through is fake. Some of these authors write novels for teenagers thinking that they know so much about us without actually doing research.

Sorry folks there is no guide on How Teens Act and What They Are Going Through in 2014.

These authors have not been teenagers for some time and their children (if they have any) are either too young or too old for them to get some sort of idea of what teenagers are up to these days. This makes it hard for them to connect with their audience.

Sometimes I read these novels I picture a woman in her late thirties, with a pen and notepad sitting in her living watching Disney Channel on the T.V making a list of what teenagers are like.

  1. Teenagers are angsty.
  2. Teens are brats who talk back too much.
  3. Always rebel.
  4. Hate parents.
  5. Defy all authority.
  6. Over obsessive relationships.
  7. Snobs.
  8. Popularity is the most important thing in life.
  9. Nerd wear glasses and have braces.
  10. Mean Girls is a realistic representation of the life of average teenage girls.

While they create this list I also picture them drooling like a mindless zombie….

zonedout

If anyone actually believed anything on that list, you might want to stop watching today’s so-called popular forms of entertainment featuring teenagers (I don’t have cable so I don’t know what’s on these days).

That entire list can be found in over half of the YA novels that I have read between the 6th and 12th grade. Now in the 6th grade I didn’t know better. I thought that in middle school girls and boys dated and that dating was really important because like anyone who’s anyone is dating. Then I got to the 7th and 8th grade and realized that was stupid. Only two of my friends dated and the relationships lasted a couple days. If they were lucky it lasted two weeks tops. However I then formed an idea of what high school might be like, however I realized before I arrived (thank the Lord), that what these books and what T.V told me about high school was nothing like high school at all. The other 9th graders hadn’t figured it out so quickly, but they did by October.

The young adult novels that moved me the most were the ones where the characters acted their age. I’m not saying that there aren’t mature thirteen year olds out there but most thirteen year olds are at a point in their lives where they are now trying to decide on whether or not they want to make a change in who they are or if they’re happy with themselves. Unfortunately many of them are unhappy with who they are because they think that they’re losers due to the idiots who write television for that age group.

Anyone ever watch the show Drake and Josh or maybe the show Unfabulous?

Don’t watch those if you want an idea of what teenagers are like. Please…I’m begging you.

When I was glued to a book it was because I knew the character and I could trust them to be an accurate representation of those around me. When I got to the point where I could no longer relate to the majority of the books I was reading I began to create my own characters who were like those in my age group.

I hope that this post will encourage YA authors to take into consideration that when writing for a young adult audience, the characters are extremely important. If your character is fake, your book won’t be read. If your character is relatable and someone that your young readers can truly connect with, then your book will remain with them even after they’ve read from cover to cover.

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