Half Way There

Earlier today I made it to the half-way point of my novel while editing. Actually…this is based upon page numbers and not the plot, but I’ve managed to get a good chunk done. My Dad couldn’t understand why I chose to write my novel by hand versus type it up. I just preferred to write this one out on paper. I find that it makes it easier for when I edit.

Not editing my novel while I was writing it was hard at first. I was tempted to go back and change certain scenes for the first while but eventually I got used to the idea of not editing while writing.

I made a change to a scene I’d wanted to scrap since I’d written it out. It had been bothering me since day one. I’m a little happier with the changes I made. There were aspects to the scene that I liked, so I attempted to work around them in order to create a different scene, which still helped move the plot along. It was really hard actually…at one point I thought about giving up on it and moving on to the next chapter. However, I managed to make it work.

Other than that scene, there have been scenes that I wish to add in, which I had either forgotten to include, or thought would be beneficial to add. As for changes being made, it’s mostly been within the dialogue in the more recent chapters I’ve edited. This is because when I had started the novel, the dialogue was extremely formal sounding. I really dislike it…it makes it unnatural. The newer chapters that were written between 2015-2016 have stronger dialogue. At least changing the wording isn’t too difficult. It’s definitely interesting to look at the differences between what I’ve edited and what the original says. Some are very minor differences, but they make a huge impact on the overall atmosphere within a scene. It’s really cool.

Anyways, I’ll be doing some more editing later. Hopefully I’ll finish by my deadline.

Till next time,

–R.

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Listed on the Syllabus

Essays, reports, labs, presentations…all of them piling up right before the final exams (or in some cases midterms…if you’re lucky). All of these things popping up outta no where!

“They’re listed right here on the syllabus.”

“Where?”

“Page two. Here, where it says, ‘November such-and-such, Assignment Due.'”

“Aw…yah…I see it now. Yah…it’s there. It didn’t just magically appear outta thin air. But I didn’t get the outline for the assignment till last week. I barely had any time.”

“You had time to go and grab poutine.”

“Yah but–”

“And you had time to see Doctor Strange.”

“Yah but–”

“And you had time to order a pizza and play video games until midnight.”

“Yah but I–”

“You have no excuse. You just procrastinated. You put it off too long. And now, you’re stressed out.”

“Wish we could turn back tiiiiiiime…to the good old daaaaays…”

“Shut up! No singing! Sit you butt down and do your work!”

“But I’m hungry.”

“Yah…me too. Let’s go get food.”

“But…I have to do my assignment.”

“Eh…you’ve got till Thursday. There’s plenty of time!”

“It’s Tuesday….”

“Just…pull an all-nighter.”

“Last time I did that…I didn’t do so well on my assignment.”

“Do you sit around and complain all day? Jeez, I’m leaving.”

“Okay bye….”


The line, “Wish we could turn back time to the good old days,” is from Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots.

Anyway, this dialogue just sort of happened all on its own. Hope it made you chuckle a little. I have a habit of inserting song lyrics into actual conversations I have with my siblings…and myself. Since this dialogue is me talking to myself. Happens a lot…yet, why question my sanity?

Friday Mornings with Ryder. “You Wanna Date?” ft. Orion.

“Alright. Puff up that chest. Keep that head up. Good, now make sure you’ve got your shirt on frontwards…we don’t want another one of those incidents. Good. Good.”

I blankly stared at myself in the mirror. “I didn’t sleep last night.”

“Forget sleep! Who needs sleep! This isn’t about you sleeping this is about you being confident and awesome and going out there and saying, ‘Why hello there’.”

I groaned. “Dude…can’t I just like not?”

“You wanna date?”

“Yes.”

“Then don’t be such a little–.”

“OH KAY! Sheesh…no need to be so hard on me. I’m still figuring this stuff out okay?”

“Well figure this stuff out faster Ryder! You’ve only got so much time!”

I dragged my feet back to bed. “Wake me up when the sun’s actually in the sky.”

“The sun waits for no man!”

“Yah…that’s why I’m waiting for the sun.” I sighed. Then I sighed again and rolled onto my back. Then I rolled onto my stomach again and propped my chin up. “I can’t sleep.”

“Love will do that to you.”

“I’m not in love. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I snapped.

They chuckled. “Then why were you so excited for Friday?”

“Because. I have lots of exciting things to do on Friday.”

“Like what, you don’t even go out for drinks in the evening like normal people. What is wrong with you? Who sits at home and watches cartoons until bed?”

“We do that Orion. We do that.”

“Yah well…I want to do something different this weekend! Let’s get ourselves a date!”

I rolled onto my back again. “I dunno bruh.”

“It’ll be FUN!”

“It’ll be fun…it’ll be fun. Go by yourself.”

“Why are you in denial? Stop denying your true feelings!” cried Orion.

I sighed. “Because I’m not going to let myself get caught up in my emotions and have my heart torn out again. Remember last time?”

“Last time was different. This time it’s for real!” Orion shouted, shaking me. “Doesn’t it feel different?”

“Remember how I felt like throwing up yesterday?”

“Yes?”

“Stop shaking me…my stomach feels gross.”

“Oh great! Getting all gross on the weekend! How could you! You planned this! You planned this Ryder! I’ll never forgive you!”

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

“Hey Ryder, your alarms going off.”

“Hooray…” I moaned, pulling myself out of bed. “I’m going to blog now.”

“But…but YOU NEED TO PLAN FOR YOUR DATE!”

“I don’t have a date! Do you see me dating anyone!? NO! I’m going to blog like a respectable person and then I’m going to get dressed and blah, blah, blah, blah!”

Orion frowned. “Fine. Be that way…jerk.”


Enjoy your Friday folks.

I’ll be getting ready for class now…since I’ve got nothing better to do. I love my life.

Peace!

–R.

Reading Plays for School

Back in elementary school and high school (primary and secondary), whenever we would read a play, we would read it aloud and act it out.

Last semester, when I started university, we read two plays, which our professor had playing on the screen for us. We would read along. Sometimes he would read each passage two us. The entire time we read the plays together. He said, “Plays are meant to be heard and seen, not just read.” He told us of the importance of acting out the play and explained that it was the only way one could be impacted by the play.

Even this semester, our professors tell us that the best way to understand a play is to read it aloud. They say that it is easier to hear the characters voice that way…however in our lectures and seminars we rarely read anything aloud. Why? Because everyone thinks that we students do not want to.

Yes there are people who loathe the idea of reading aloud in front of the class…especially if they have to act. However there are people who do enjoy it. So why not have those people perform a scene then have the rest of the students discuss it? It’s a win, win for everybody. We would all benefit, as the actors would be in character, therefore understanding the play that way and the audience would get an understanding of the play by watching it.

It’s so odd not actually reading anything aloud to one another or acting things out. My first year is practically over and though I’ve enjoyed all of my classes, I feel as though we should either have some sort of way to properly approach plays, or not even bother studying them. I mean, what’s the point of simply opening up a play and reading the dialogue? I’m almost positive that a lot of people pop it open and only read the dialogue. They don’t really care about the stage directions. Why do they matter if they’re not acting it out? It’s just extra reading to do, and when you’ve got 4 other books to read on top of that the play seems pointless.

If the play is interactive (as it was meant to be), then people take more interest in it and maybe I’m just being bias here but I think they enjoy it more.

You should not and cannot simply read the lines of a play. It has to be approached the way it was meant to be performed. If it isn’t done that way then there’s absolutely no point in reading it at all. It is impossible for people to completely understand a play by just skimming the dialogue.

Well, that’s my little rant for the day but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Feel free to answer one or all of those questions in your comments.

Do you agree or disagree? Are plays just a pain in the but to study period (whether performed or simply read)? What was your favourite play to study in school?

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.