Exams, Illustrations, Teaching and Reading

My exams and my placement are almost finished. I’m definitely going to miss my students over the winter break. I’m trying to think of something nice I can do for them on Friday but because I’m still studying for my final exam I haven’t had much time to do that.

My students discovered that I draw, and so I’ve got a bunch of commissions to finish by Friday. Right now I’m drawing a cat. Maybe I’ll post it when I’m done.

My favourite thing about my placement is that the moment I arrive they’re all excited to see me. That honestly makes my day. I hope in the future when I’m teaching on my own I’ll get that same reaction from my students.

I’ve also been getting a lot of great advice from the teacher I’m working with. The age group I’m with is actually a little older than what I applied to teach but it’s great because I’m learning a lot about myself, and certain things that I need to work on.

As for my exams…well I’m still studying. I’ve gotten a bit of help on some of the stuff I don’t know. I’m not nervous or anything so that’s good. My plan is to just review as much as I can today and tomorrow morning, and just do the best that I can. As long as I do my best, then I have no reason to be nervous. I’ve studied the material, and I tried my best. That’s what matters.

Now, book updates: due to having also having exams, my illustrator for the children’s book is currently on break. We were hoping all the illustrations would be officially finished before December but then got swamped with assignments. So, as of the 18th of December we will get back to work on the illustrations. I’ll also have the rest of my beta readers go through my novel, since I’ll have more hard copies printed off by then. Some people don’t mind it when you send a PDF but eh…there are people like me who like to make notes on the page when reading over people’s work. I’m hoping for some really helpful feedback. I’m hoping to decide on what I’m doing with the cover this week…I think I found a designer who can do what I want. If all goes well the book will be released during the winter time, which would be awesome.

Anyway I’d better get back to reading my textbook here.

Stay golden,

–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.

 

The Fall

the-fall

The Fall, O. Ryder. Sept 26th, 2016.

The Fall

By O. Ryder

I realized that I didn’t own a hairdryer when my sister’s wet towel brushed against my skin last night. It was cold. It soothed the pain in my bear arms but I moved it away, onto her lap. Whenever someone wore a towel on their head I imagined the Virgin Mary.

“It’s cold.”

She looked at me, big eyes glaring. “I just washed my hair.” Always glaring.

In that moment I felt stupid. Glaring eyes often made me feel as though I’d done something stupid.

Always glaring. Always stupid.

I felt uneasy as she pressed her back into my pillow. The olive green towel reminded me of my sweater: how it hung on her and how her gold strands clung to it as she rested against me.

I wasn’t attracted to blondes, I told myself. She was pretty but plain. I liked dark hair. I liked dark hair and warm eyes. No glaring. Never glaring.

My sister elbowed me. Woke me from my trance. Told me Dad wanted to talk.

My eyes left the green and my hands found the phone. I wondered why I had been in such a daze. Wet hair was soft, I thought. I haven’t worn that sweater in a long time.

I talked. He talked. He hung up.

Whenever we spoke lately he felt as though he was keeping me away from something. I just had trouble finding things to talk about. I wanted to hear warmth in his voice.

Everything died in the Fall. The plants, the insects, Granddad. Even some of the Angels died in the Fall.

Love blossomed in the Fall, but made me feel dead.

I was not fond of the weather. It was deceiving. Deceiving Canadian Fall.

The weather was as schizophrenic as our identity. Some said they felt it was bipolar…perhaps…perhaps.

Always glaring. Always falling. Always stupid. Always dead.

I wondered how anyone could rest their head in such a messy room. It smelt of burnt popcorn, wet towels and cologne.

And those golden strands had smelt like summer.

She was the Summer. I the Fall.

For once I had fallen, she had fled. As the warmth does when death comes.

She was Life. I Death.

Despite wishing, I represented the end.

“I love this sweater.” she said.

I said nothing.

She wrapped her fingers in mine. It felt uncomfortable.

“Wanna cuddle?”

I remembered the wet green towel. My sister was asking for the phone back. I placed it in her hand. I watched the television. You could get lost in the television. No thoughts. Always glaring. Always stupid. Always wishing.

Writing Update!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I’d like to begin this post by apologizing for that. I was really hammered with assignments for school. I’m on break now so thankfully I’m able to focus on my personal projects again.

I’ve got a short story that I’d love to share with all of you. It’s the first one that I’ve written other than a children’s book that I find decent, however it’s currently being marked so I can’t share it until I’ve received it back. I don’t want my professor to think I took it from someone named Orion, even though we’re the same person.

I was extremely shocked by the way my story turned out. Some of my YA fiction contains scenes with violence but my short story had an intense amount of it. I’ve never written a story like this before. It’s slightly creepy and slightly exciting all at the same time. If I look at it one way, it means that I’ve grown as a writer…look at it the other way and it means that I might have some deep dark aggression buried within me. Either way…shocked by the result.

I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to get lots of work in on my series that I’d like to post online throughout the week. I’d like to include pictures with the story, and if I’m lucky I’ll have it up by the end of the month. It needs a lot of work though, so I don’t want to make any promises. I’d really like to finish the first section of the story before I go back to school though. Once it gets closer to exams I’m going to have to manage my time better.

It’s getting late and I’d like to get a bit of work in before I fall asleep. I’ll blog again real soon!

Stay golden!

— R.

First Big Writing Assignment of the School Year…Yikes!

So this week my class is starting our first big writing assignment, which is our short story assignment.

Now I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but short stories aren’t my strong point when there is a limit as to the number of pages I can have or the word count. I’m stronger when it comes to novels and writing lyrics. Actually many of my novels have songs written into them so that when they’re adapted into films there will be an awesome soundtrack. I’m being serious. I actually have soundtracks for my novels of songs that I’ve written about characters, chapters and if my character is a musician then I actually record the songs that my characters perform in the text. I go all out. It is not just a book. It is…like…a living breathing thing. I guess that sounds over the top.

My sister thinks it’s kind of cool but she also gets annoyed when I record these songs while she’s trying to sleep. I’ve had things thrown at me and no, I’m not a bad musician. I don’t suck! My sister just has to hear me all the time. We actually write a lot of music together and perform it. I’m teaching her to sing because our voices automatically complement each other. She’s the one person that I enjoy harmonizing with because the sound it makes… I can’t even put it into words. Whenever we sing together and harmonize perfectly off the bat we both react like this

Me: WHOA!

Lil Sis: That was…AWESOME!

Me: REPLAY THAT! REPLAY!

And then we have to stop the recording because we usually interrupt our flow due to the fact that it sounded good. It also has to do with the fact that my sister thinks she’s a horrible singer.

ANYWAY back to talking about the short story thing. So the first big assignment is a short story assignment. It’s a story on whatever I want it to be which is great because I get to be creative with it. However, as I just said short stories aren’t really my go to thing.

I do like to write children’s books but those to me are sort of…well they’re for my nieces age group. That’s who I’m writing for. I write those for her. She’s in kindergarten (age’s 4-6 in Canada).

To me, short stories and children’s literature are in two different sections. Perhaps that’s simply because I separated them in my own head but because children’s books tend to have pictures, are not too lengthy and are geared toward a specific audience I place them under their own category outside of the short story category. Does that make sense? I hope so….

I’m not sure of how I want to approach this assignment. I have readily made written material for novels, however I don’t want to have to convert that material into short story material. It’s almost like…I have to plan out the format based off of the idea and if I’ve already decided on a format that I would like to present my idea in then it’s difficult to change it. I mean… that’s why we have different forms of writing. Not all films should be adapted into novels and not all novels should be adapted into screen plays. They were written a certain way for a reason. Now most books make great films, but of course for those of us who read the book before seeing the film it can be pretty difficult to separate them.

I had an interesting discussion with an upperclassman about it the other week actually. I’ll share that another time though.

Well…as you can see I’m stressing over an assignment that should be fun. Hopefully before I have to bring in my rough notes on Friday, I will have come up with something. I might see if there’s any guidelines for my assignment before I make any notes. My professors are being extremely loose on the formats and guidelines as this is a creative writing course. They’re just awesome like that. They’re really…fantastic. I’m so happy I took this course.

— R.


Yes, that is the Pharaoh. Yes, his hair is pretty awesome. Yes, I do watch LittleKuriboh.

If someone actually styles their hair like this with the different colours and everything that would be really cool. Someone needs to do this. They would look like the coolest kid in all of…well the world. Okay I’m done. Got some writing to do…obviously. Can we just…admire his awesome hair. I always wanted cool hair like that but nope I got stuck with my plain generic black hair. Oh well…I’m thankful I have hair. Better not complain. I don’t wanna go grey early like my dad did. Ha….yah. I love you hair…but still…his hairs so cool.

Writing Update: Online Series Coming Soon!

I’m very happy to announce that after a little more editing I will be posting my first online series. Since it originally started off as a short story for a competition I entered a few years ago, rewriting it was a bit difficult and I’m still trying to work out exactly what direction I want this story to take. However, I’m having a lot of fun working on it!

Stay tuned!

— R.

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.

reading