Letters to Myself

I just started watching a new show called Orange. It’s under the 2016 Summer Anime list, if anyone is wonder. It got me thinking about this project I did back when I was 16, where we had to write a letter addressed to our past selves. I can remember giving my 13 year old self a huge lecture on how I should have been more out going and less occupied with what others thought about me. At 16, I thought that I knew everything. My parents still say that I think I know everything, and that I enjoy correcting people (mostly my mother). My mom thinks I’m egotistical due to the fact that I’m a musician. I couldn’t deny it because there are days when I spend hours just looking at myself…and I do take a lot of selfies (I don’t share them anywhere).

To be honest I think what happened was, after being a moody 13 year old with a low self-esteem, I went to high school and decided I no longer cared if I wasn’t with the in-crowd. As you can see, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I watch anime. One of my closest childhood friends from when I was 3 or 4 was from Japan, and so they used to buy me animes on VHS. No I don’t call myself an otaku. Yes I also read manga, but I enjoy comics in general (Archie anyone? Gotta love Jughead). So basically, to get back on topic, I realized that just because my hobbies have always consisted of writing, watching anime and music didn’t mean that I had to hide it from people. I figured, if people liked me for who I was then that was great. It was stupid trying to lie about what shows I watched and what sports I liked when I wasn’t really into any of that. While all my friends played football (American), I was more interested in pretending I was a Jedi knight…or petting the stray cat that liked to visit us at recess.

So I suppose my 16 year old self had a reason to be so harsh towards my 13 year old self. The thing is, looking back now, being 13 and 16 was equally stressful and I went through experiences that…well at the time made me feel like the sky was falling. Now that I’m considered an adult (who drinks mountain dew instead of beer and uses a starwars cup while using the worlds best Spiderman bookmark), I think I can say that I’ve realized that each part of my life is a new challenge. It seems hard at the time but once I get over it, it feels like it was a breeze.

From my first time being extremely jealous to my first date. My first experience with death to my first time holding a new baby. From bad grades to bulking down. From writing an entire novel without chapters or page numbers to becoming more organized and actually planning things out. The big and the small, all molded me into the somewhat adult I am today…although all the 16 year olds I work with think I’m the same age.

So, I’m not sure what I would say to myself at ages 13 or 16…or even to myself ten years from now when I’m 30. Wow…I’ll be 30 some day. Hopefully I have my life in order by then. To be honest I feel like I got myself where I need to be now. I try not to lie awake at night regretting the decisions I’ve made in the past. I try not to ponder the future too much either these days. Kind of makes me feel a little down…knowing that certain people won’t be with me anymore. All I can do is keep going forward. If YOLO taught me anything in high school it was that I should spend more time laughing and less time fighting. I should make time for friends and family. I should go into a career that I know I will love and will give me the most fulfilment. I shouldn’t jump the gun on decisions, and I shouldn’t put them off too long either. I shouldn’t think too much, and I should know when to take the time to think. I should step outside of my comfort zone, and I shouldn’t be afraid to stand my ground. If this were a letter to my past self or the person I’ll be when I’m 30…I’d probably say “You’re doing great. Just remember right now is a challenge but once you get over this hill, you’ll find the next will be a little easier to climb.”

— R

Advertisements

Fourteen Pgs. of Character Notes…And Writing Tips for Detailing Characters!

Fourteen pages of character notes. Wow. I don’t know how that happened but I’m glad it did.

I always try to give as much depth and detail to my characters as I can. I believe that the more I invest in a character, the more attached I will become and that attachment is what makes that character seem more real (that’s a lot of mores). Its great because my characters go from being an idea to becoming like a close, life-long friend (until you know…that scene where they get silenced by the pen aka they die).

It’s a fun process honestly, even though I’ll admit it takes time. Despite the time it takes to do it is a lot more fun than just naming a character and throwing them into your story. A name is only a fraction of a person, there are many other things that make us who we are.

A lot of the time I like to draw pictures of my characters: the facial expressions they might make in different scenario’s, what clothing they might wear, what their hair looks like, their height, the colour of their eyes.

It can be really helpful, but of course I know that not everyone likes to draw. What I used to do on my drawings was create a list beside my character. The list usually looked like…

  1. Name: Bob Robert Bobbinlee
  2. Age: 22
  3. Likes: cows, cats, cookies and cake
  4. Dislikes: anything that doesn’t start with the letter C (is for cookie)
  5. Family: Mama Bobbetta, Father Bobert, Juliettabobo Boblee, Bobafett
  6. Friends: Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum (yes I was talking to my 4 year old niece recently…any watching Pokémon)

What I’ve begun doing now is creating this same list in a table on Microsoft word.

Its pretty easy to do, you just go to insert, then click table…etc.

So now I keep my images and my charts separate, giving me more room to add written details about my characters. This is especially helpful when I have side characters. Usually I don’t know the personality of a side character. Some times I might just have some character who until named is called “Book Store Clerk.” The first thing I like to do is to draw this character out (or imagine what they might look like), then I take that image and I create a detailed character chart, similar to the list above but in chart form…and because it isn’t on the same page as my drawing I can add even more detail.

Using the same example from above:

Name Bob Robert Bobbinlee
Age 22
Appearance Hair: Crimson

Eyes: Crimson

Height: Average

Special Features: Tattoo of the letter C

Personality Hot-headed, sweet-tooth, perfectionist, crazy about cats and cows, creative, incredible cook
Family Mother: Bobbetta

Father: Bobert

Siblings: Juliettabobo, Boblee and Bobafett

Friends Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum

 

Partner (or partners for them playa’s) Cloe Ver
Pet Cactus the Cat and Carver the Cow
Hobbies Reading, eating and baking cookies and cake, chillin’ like a villain with his squad…I mean crew.

 

Occupation/Education Book Store Clerk

 

Fears The letter Z…because he isn’t sure if it should be Zed or Zee even though he’s Canadian. He just…doesn’t know.

 

Dreams Publish a Children’s Cook Book

See, its that simple, and even though some of these details won’t end up being in you story, they are details that are significant to who your character really is. Once you know this much about your character they begin to take on a life of their own, and as an author I have to say that is one of my favourite things that happen while I’m writing.

Whether you like to draw or not, this is a method that I highly recommend. It’s easy to set up and once you get going it can be a lot of fun. Before you know it you’ve got fourteen pages of characters and this amazingly long chart!

Also, if you are a tech-savvy person you can even scan a drawing of your character and place the image into the appearance box on the table. I’ve never done this but I’m definitely going to give it a try. The idea just came to mind.


 

I hope that this post was helpful!

If you’ve never tried to do this sort of detailing with your characters I highly recommend it. Its both fun and rewarding.

If you have any different ways of detailing and developing characters (or you’ve written a post with another writing tip) feel free to share in the comment section. I’m sure, myself and many people would appreciate it!

Happy writing everyone!

— R.

 

I Ate a Cupcake at 12 pm.

I had a mini cupcake at 12 pm and now I can’t seem to stop my eyes from going all big and sunshiny like a kid who just had a huge pixy stick (my parents don’t let me have a lot of sugar).

Oh boy…I need to sleep. I gotta get up early tomorrow for class. All these cupcakes and gold fish. At least I drank water.

I don’t even know why I’m blogging about this anyways. I mean seriously? Does anyone actually care about what I eat? I’m not exactly a food blogger…

I had samosa’s for breakfast this morning…I love samosa’s.

I cant see what I’m trying ….typing anymore…because my screens not scrolling. So I’m gonna end the blog here and pray that there aren’t any insane spelling errors that’ll make me cring later…I can’t remember how to spell cring….I think I spelt it wrong twice…omg…I just used an abbreviation…someone emske it stop please just make it stop……I’m gonna click publish….and see what this looks like….

is anyone else having this issue?

HA…It’s working properly now. See! I can see! 😀 Okay bye folks…I’ll be back when the computer doesn’t confuzzle my cupcaked sleepy brain. It had blue icing by the way…and the sprinkles taste really gooooooood.

I KNEW CRINGE WAS SPELT WITH AN E!!!!!!!!!!!

…time for Ryder to go to bed now…yesh it is time…. I’m gonna probably look at this later and be like, “Bro…what is wrong with you?” but OH WELL! It’s something to laugh at.