“Play is just as important as reading a good book.”

As someone who works with children, it irritates me when I hear adults say things like, “A child couldn’t understand this.” Especially when it comes to books. I have always been an avid reader. I read comedies, tragedies, histories, whatever there was to be read I would read it. Happy or sad, it didn’t matter as long as it was well written. The words resonated me, and even if there were some words that I didn’t fully understand, the feelings stayed with me. Children are very empathetic. They are capable of understanding emotions, and are able to place themselves into other people’s positions quite easily.

I think the reason for this is because children play pretend. When we play pretend we enter into a life that is not our own. It’s a lot like reading a book, honestly. Only adults think that books are more sophisticated and, grown up. I’ve always felt it was the same thing. Writing, and playing. What do actors do? They play at being someone else. Writers imagine many lives, and feel many emotions, think many thoughts. Is this not what children do when they play pretend?

I have played games with my five-year old niece. In one of her games the king died. I was surprised while watching this little girl play as the queen, who was saddened by her husbands passing. The queen was too upset to leave her bed. She was lonely. If a five year old, can understand this without having any idea of what death really means, then why do adults think children are incapable of understand the notion of death?

My niece knows that when someone dies we don’t see them anymore. This is all she knows, and yet, this little girl can take the scenario of not seeing a person you love anymore, and associate it with loneliness. How does one feel when they are lonely? Sad? Depressed?

Even in some of my classrooms I have read aloud to my students and listened to them rant about how rude the characters are in the story. I’ve had children say, “They need a spank on the butt!” My niece will say it as well, when I read her Cat in the Hat.

Children are not given enough credit. They are observant and their world is complex, much like our own. A child’s world is much like a puzzle. They slowly put the pieces together as they grow. The figure out where things belong over time. They are not incompetent. Children are extremely capable of grasping tough subjects such as war, and death, and loneliness. Do not underestimate a child’s abilities. Play is just as important as reading a good book.

–R.

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The Girl – By O. Ryder

She wished that she could fade away,

Like the petals that decay

And become like dust

Upon the shelves of homes

And through the pages she would roam.

A lingering scent she might be

Amongst secrets of the wardrobe,

or within the old Curiosity Shop.

From each one she would hop,

And find herself on a train

That would run and she’d wonder

If I stay will they notice or remember?

Will my story be told if I hide in the pages?

Shall I be swept away by many imaginations,

Only to lose sight of reality,

And forget how paper cuts once made me bleed?

Then that longing to be evanescent,

Faded along with the thought

And the girl found she’d rather her story was not forgot.



Poem By O. Ryder.

March 16th, 2016.

 

Nearing the End

The other evening it occurred to me that I’m coming close to the end of two of my projects. One is at the point where it could be complete within a couple hours of hard work, and the other is almost ready for its first round of editing.

Although I didn’t meet my original goal, which was to have them complete by the end of May, I did manage to stay true to my word and get them done before the end of the summer.

With all that has been going on since I arrived back from school, I know that I pushed off my work. I made money, I ran back and forth, I packed, I cleaned, I entertained…but in my free time, rather than work on my personal creative projects I instead focused on keeping an eye on my loved ones. I suppose I was more concerned about everyone’s wellbeing and feared that if I slipped into my own worlds, I’d want to escape for days at a time. I’ve done it before. So rather than write or draw, I just made up stories in my head or read books. When I was exhausted I stayed in bed for hours and did nothing but trace the patterns on my blankets while creating stories in my head. For some reason whenever I feel seriously tired, it is harder for me to fall asleep.

Anyway, I thought I would share my excitement with you.

P.S right now its 7:45 am where I live. That means that no one woke me up in the middle of the night because she couldn’t sleep. She had to go back home…which is a little sad, but I got a hug that apparently never, ever, ever, EVER goes away, so I’ll survive until our next visit.

giphy

Image from Ponyo

 

 

Maybe in my next post I’ll be finished my work? We’ll see!

— R.

Up in my Noggin

Even when there’s no pen in my hand, or a keyboard at my finger tips, I find myself creating stories of all kinds: the socially awkward boy, who skipped out on prom because he didn’t get a date. The loyal fish. The artist who dropped his sandwich.

Random yes…but all make me laugh, cry and wonder why I spend so much time up in my noggin, versus doing what needs to be done. I suppose this storytelling is a form of procrastination…but whatever, there’s never a dull moment up there. Especially when my thoughts end up with a foreign accent while I narrate, and colourful pictures start flashing before my eyes.

Yep…imagination is fantastic…and yes, I am sane. I just have an overactive imagination.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.

–R.

Perhaps Thoughts Are Like Dogs?

Well, I’m up so I thought I’d do a little research, drink some lemonade and let my thoughts run wild (as they do constantly).

I keep debating on whether or not now is a good time to work on one of my two novels (one is in a binder and one is on my laptop) but I’m worried once I start, my mind will become more active than it is now and I’ll have trouble getting back to sleep. What’s worse is that I’m craving a popsicle and I’m trying to lose weight. Midnight snacking is probably the worst thing I can do to myself right now…but I really want it. They’re just sitting in my freezer, waiting….

Anyway, to avoid indulging in sweets and letting my hour run the other day completely go to waste, I should probably try to fall asleep again. At least staring at the screen and colouring with my Crayola markers helped me relax my thoughts a little. Perhaps thoughts are like dogs…they get really hyper when they hear somebody coming to the door, or when they hear words like walk, and so they suddenly are jumping all over you and running around trying to get your attention. That is exactly how thoughts are…at least mine. They’re like “Did someone say walk? Walk reminds me of outside, which reminds me the weather is really nice today. Did you notice the way the sun was just sitting on the lake this morning? Ooh! That would be fun to write about! Oh did someone say pizza? I want pizza! Pizza tastes sooooo yummy! Like…pizza,” and they don’t stop until you offer them a nice old belly rub or a scratch behind the ears.

I’m going to do my best to fall asleep again. I promised myself I’d only exercise and study these next two days. Plus I need to eventually pick up some birthday gifts…if I end up working on my novels or doing concept art or storyboarding I’ll end up doing that for more than half the day and I won’t end up getting done what needs to be done. I just get really immersed in my work…and get lost in La La Land as my grade one teacher called it.

Good morning/night everyone. Wishing you all the best today!

— R.

Mouse Song

I want to sing you a song

To make your pain go away

But my lips are dry

And my throat is tight.

I want to hold you up

I want to keep you safe

But my arms are weak.

Little mouse so meek.

Wish I knew what to do

I wish I knew what to say

But when I try something

It feels like nothing.

Don’t want my heart to break

Don’t want to make a mistake

Before you go away.

Please, don’t go away.

Stay another day.

Stay another day.


For Nana and Granddad.

You’ve always filled my world with wonder.

Please give me the chance to return the favour.

Love, R.

Will…When

Will you hear my story

When I’m buried beneath the snow?

Will you hear my story

When the flowers grow.

Will you sing my song

When the sun fades away?

Will you share my heart

When there’s nothing left to say?

— O. Ryder.

Sept. 2, 2015.

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.

Random Writing Tip on Designing Characters

Boy with Hat

I find that what really helps me when designing characters is to actually draw them out. Especially if they’re a main character. I know that this doesn’t work for everyone, but I find this extremely helpful.

To do this, you don’t even need to be a talented artistic. It’s your vision of what the characters look like.

I find this much more useful than forcing my characters to look like a person in a picture that I found off of Google…that sort of thing takes away from my imagination. I’ve been sketching my characters from the beginning. I used to make music videos about them as well (which sadly are no longer available because my dad took apart the old computer and I have no idea of how to turn it back on. Plus I think the old monitor is at my grandparents now?).

Anyway, just thought I’d share this quick tip to any potential writers out there who might want to see their characters “face-to-face.”

I hope that you’re all enjoying your weekends so far.

— O. Ryder.