//child’s play

Hello, lovely!

I hope you’re having a fabulous Monday because mine started off with anxiety! 😀 I needed to record a video of an informative speech, but had no better means of doing that than with my lousy computer camera. Ah, well. That’s behind me because I did it, submitted it, and now just have to worry about the grade (and how my poor professor will respond to all the “um’s” and “so’s” and “essentially, what that means is that’s,” and grammatical errors – me!

A post on how to make the child in your novel sound like a child. <-- One of my biggest pet peeves is when a child sounds too aware in a film/novel! Don't let that happen to you.

A post on how to make the child in your novel sound like a child.

The Writer! Sheesh.).

Is it just me, or do weekends feel like a pause from a video game and returning when all the bad guys are about to attack?

But I digress.

Today, I want to talk about dialogue. And not just any old dialogue. But a child’s dialogue.

One of my biggest pet peeves when watching a film is when the script writer gives a child too-mature-lines. For instance, my family and I recently watched The Judge with RDJ and Robert Duvall. I really enjoyed it (minus the language and a couple scenes)! It was brilliant!

But I kept cringing when the daughter came on screen. At one point in the film, she asked her dad if he and his wife (her mom) were getting a divorce. He asks why she would think that. And she says that that’s what happens when x, y, and z takes place.

Really?

A kid doesn’t get that.

A kid (generally) isn’t that mature or insightful or analytic.

So I want to keep you from making that mistake. Here are a few tips I hope can help your child sound like a child.

Tip #1: Give ’em a speech impediment.

But don’t let it get obnoxious. If they’ve got a lisp, write that in! Mark Twain gave his southerners southern accents. It makes the book more realistic.

Tip #2: Their smarts should suit their age.

Unless this is about a genius kid, keep ’em simple. Kids like to have fun, play, eat bugs, and snot all over the place (if they’re boys). They like to play with dolls, dress up, twirl, dance, put on Mommy’s clothes, ruin her make up, and fall in the pool (if they’re girls, although this last point can go for boys too).

They’re really not that insightful. Unless someone tell them, a five year old isn’t going to catch on that Mommy’s afraid of Daddy, okay? They’re happy to see Mommy and they’re happy to see Daddy. That’s it.

Tip #3: Develop their voice.

This is probably the chiefest characteristic of writing a child, in my limited experience. Develop it in a way that accurately portrays a child. Watch some kids. See how they talk, act. They’re typically not angelic, graceful beings. I certainly wasn’t. I had such a problem with balance that I walked into walls, tables, chairs, and I wasn’t smart enough to realize that I’d fallen off my dresser.

I thought it hit me.

Or maybe I was just a liar.

Either way, give them personality, but not a mature or overly-smart one.

See, the thing is, even if a kid is smart in real life, writers need to exaggerate the childishness in a book so the reader can see that that’s a child, not a know-it-all. Writers exaggerate a lot of stuff to get the point across.

Buildings don’t burn all around us right now. But in books, they do. Because we need to feel the sense that the world is in chaos and falling apart.

Know what I mean, jelly bean?

Children are innocent, oblivious, awed by everything, curious, fearless, and magnificent. Sometimes they’re shy; sometimes they have no problem walking up to a stranger and telling them they love them (or don’t). They’re honest and know they can get away with crap if you train them to.

You don’t need to make them stereotypes, but they should be fleshed out enough so that we can see that they’re a normal (if that’s what they should be) child and not get peeved that they’re too smart or too obnoxious.

I hope these help! 🙂

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

Check out my new page, The Writer’s Toolbox! It’s a compilation of some of the most helpful resources for writers. Hope it helps!

40 Days and a Writer’s Thoughts

Good afternoon, darling!

I’d like to split this post into two sections. One is more fun, but demands less of a priority for me. And the other is probably less interesting, but sits higher on the Important List. So, let’s go ahead and start with the one of more importance. 😛

1. Fat Tuesday and Lent

It’s no secret. I’m Catholic. We fast for the 40 days before we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. This period is known as “Lent.” During this 40 day period, we abstain from meat on Fridays and, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, we fast. Fasting means that we eat only one regular sized meal and are permitted two snacks before and after.

Why do you do this?

Check out this article and this article.

Essentially, though, it’s a time of discipline (the first article does a brilliant job of explaining this much better than I can). We take this time especially to put ourselves aside and make a harder effort to grow closer to God through sacrifices (this is where you might want to read the second article).

Here’s the opening paragraph of the first article (because it does a much better job of explaining than I could 😉 ):

“…Lent is the 40 days before Easter in which Catholics pray, fast, contemplate, and engage in acts of spiritual self-discipline. Catholics do these things because Easter, which celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, is the greatest holy day of the Christian year (even above Christmas) and Catholics have recognized that it is appropriate to prepare for such a holy day by engaging in such disciplines.”

And, because sacrifices start tomorrow… today is Fat Tuesday! Or Mardi Gras. Whichever you prefer. So, I’m binging on one of the best combinations invented by man: peanut butter and chocolate.

Only… this isn’t JUST peanut butter and chocolate.

No, ma’am/sir.

No.

It’s whipped peanut butter and a king sized Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Did you know there’s such a thing as whipped peanut butter?? I didn’t. Not until last year.

What are you giving up/adding?

I think I’m going to stop eating so much excess and eat only what I need. Your stomach is the size of your fist. So if I eat that much whenever I’m hungry (not bored, but hungry), it’ll be a decent sacrifice.

Also, I’m going to try to donate to those suffering in the Middle East from ISIS attacks and such. I’m trying to shift my focus from worldly possessions to eternal prizes. And I’m hoping that doesn’t sound cheesy. 😛 That’s not to say that you can buy eternal life. For me, it’s more trying to not be so attached to money.

I’m also going to try to devote more time to prayer as I think I’ve been lacking in that department of late…

But let’s go ahead and move on to the second topic:

2. A Thought On Writers

I’m scrolling through Pinterest as I often do during school time. (Don’t judge me. Or other homeschoolers. We’re just privileged jerks. But, mind you, I have a very strict school schedule and I get my crap done. This ain’t the little kids’ playground. Homeschooling requires an insane amount of self-discipline. But I digress.)

And, as I’m scrolling through Pinterest, I see nice pictures of nice-looking people.

Where I would see a psychotic villain, main character, or love interest, the rest of the world sees a picture that goes onto their board… “Cute Guys?” or “Girl Crush?”

I don’t know about you, but, to me, it just seems like writers are so much deeper than the average person. This is not to downgrade anyone else. Not at all! It just seems like writers and artists in general see so much more than the average.

They see a crumbled building. We see shelter for someone on the run or a villain’s HQ (although that can get a bit cheesy).

They see a good lookin’ actor. We see our next murderer.

They see hundreds of people dashing about in an airport. We wonder what their stories are.

Know what I mean?

Just as an artist notices the way light and shadow fall, writers notice people, places, ideas.

We can turn your simply “cute guy” into a con-man, drug dealer, son of an alcoholic, or murderer.

We can build worlds, races, lives.

We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Peace, love, and blessings,

Rana

Crochet the Day Away…

Hello, lovely!

About two years ago, I was going through some really tough crap. I won’t go into detail, but it was rough. One day, someone suggested I try to crochet. I did. And it has been life changing. I really mean it. If you’re anxious, restless, constantly need to be doing something with your hands, or just need something to help you to stop thinking, this is your cure!

I (over)think way too much, but when I crochet, it’s like a vacation for my brain. It’s amazing.

Today, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve done with you over the past few weeks. 🙂 The first is a blanket (measuring about 33.5 in. x 34. in.).  I made for my precious now-two-year-young cousin. It’s just your standard granny square with a fun edge which was created by:

SC 5, (SC 1, CH 3, SC1 all in the same hole), and repeat.

My grandma made the rose aaaaaand I need to learn how she did it. xD IMG_20150205_150036520 IMG_20150205_150254054 IMG_20150205_150513235 IMG_20150205_151036251

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And this poncho type thing was made using this pattern.

Excuse my terrible selfie-taking abilities.

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And I did make my aunt an amazing scarf, but alas. I forgot to take pictures before I gave it to her. V_V

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. 🙂 If you crochet, I’d love (free) pattern suggestions! If you don’t, you should seriously consider taking it up. It’s very easy (I mean, come on. I can do it!) and there are a ton of YouTube videos out there with tutorials on how to do different stitches. All you really need to know is how to do a chain stitch and double crochet stitch!

God bless!

Rana

Quick ‘n’ Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Hello, lovely! Pasta. Alfredo sauce. 15 – 20 minutes max. Everyone in this house loves it + all the friends and family who have tried it. I don’t think anyone has disliked it so far. It’s definitely a favorite around here and I’ve made it so many times — not once has it turned out badly (that I can remember anyway…). The Parmesan cheese can easily be swapped for Colby Jack, Mexican cheese, or whatever other cheeses come shredded. Go ahead and give this recipe a whirl if it tickles your fancy. ^_^

Quick & Creamy Alfredo Sauce

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy.
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1 package of spaghetti, fettuccine, or angel hair pasta
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 5 oz. package of shredded Parmesan cheese (or more)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, mint

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, chop up the garlic and brown it in the butter on medium heat.
  3. Add the heavy cream (according to your taste — if you like it creamier or just want more sauce, add more cream).
  4. Add the cream cheese and kind of mix it in with a fork. Add Parmesan cheese and mix it in.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like to taste! I enjoy parsley, basil, oregano, and mint.

Enjoy! God bless! Rana

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies: Review

For the past three years, I have gone to see The Hobbit in theaters (twice for each film). Now, last night, I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies in theaters #onelasttime. I came close to crying. Again. I laughed. Again. And I caught things I didn’t notice the first time around. It was so good, I stopped popping candy a little after halfway through, I think… Now, I’ll just sit here like this, wondering what to do while I’m waiting for it to come out on DVD:

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Excuse how freakishly large my hand looks. It was obviously too close to the camera.

WIN_20150201_181449 WIN_20150201_181452 WIN_20150201_181458 WIN_20150201_181514 Ahem. But what did I notice? Well, grammatical errors for one thing. The line, “Die now Wizard” should have been “Die now, Wizard.” But let’s overlook that. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture – starting off with things I didn’t like (because that will take much less time) and then go ahead and address what I did like. Cons

  • Grammatical errors (but I already addressed this and said I’d look over that)
  • PJ’s love of battle scenes (they are necessary – I mean, we’re talking about Tolkien here. But I feel that PJ knows he does well with filming fighting scenes and so he uses them. Too much. This film did a much better job of spacing the fighting scenes out and not letting them last too long. Whoo hoo!)
  • It wasn’t a Tolkien-purist’s cup of tea.
  • The end.

Pros

  • PJ’s ability to know when to cut off battle scenes. He did a much better job on The Battle of Five Armies. I never felt like the fighting just… got old in this one. ^_^
  • The characters (even Tauriel was used to show us a part of ourselves).
  • The story-telling.
  • Thranduil’s sass.
  • Bilbo’s sorry-not-really apology to Thranduil (“…ysh. Sorry about that.”).
  • I am totally fine with it not being a Tolkien-purist’s cup of tea. I’m kind of glad it strayed from the book. I think we got to see parts of Middle earth Tolkien never got to write. Also, keep in mind that this is a film adaptation. It’s adapted. It’s not going to be word-for-word from the book. 😉
  • Okay, you know what? I’m going to stop with the bullet points and just go ahead and tell you what I loved about each character that made an impression on me.

Balin taught me that you should probably know the history of the person before you give advice about them. Everyone has gone through some major change that has shaped them into the person they are now. Until you know that history, all you’ve got is the end product. You don’t know what’s made a person the way they are. You don’t know what challenges they’ve faced. I really don’t think we can know someone well until we’ve seen their darkness and fought with them through it.

Bard taught me that you should always give someone a chance (*cough* Alfred. *cough*). Whether you like them or not, they need the opportunity to be better than what they’ve become. After you’ve done what you can, leave them be. Don’t let weasels drag you down. Keep your sense of humor and point out that their slips are showing.

Bilbo Baggins taught me that adventures, no matter how uncomfortable and how late for dinner they make you, if you can grow, learn, help others, and become a better person, it’s worth it. We need to stretch our horizons and go farther than we’re comfortable with before we can know what we are. He didn’t know he was brave until he risked his life for his friends. He didn’t know he was a friend until he was willing to lose a friendship for the sake of the other’s well-being. He didn’t know he was a hero until he made difficult decisions in the interest of many lives.

Dwalin taught me that crowns don’t mean a thing if you act lesser with it on. Being king doesn’t mean having a bunch of stuff. It’s a responsibility. It’s about putting your people before yourself.

Tauriel taught me that love hurts. I’m not a fan of the love story going on between her and Kili, but I think it was redeemed by just Tauriel and Thranduil’s exchange of words after Kili’s death. I wonder if that wasn’t more for us than it was for the romance…

“If this is love, then I do not want it. Take it from me, please! Why does it hurt so much?”

“Because it was real.”

Thorin taught me that greed is not okay. Now matter how much you have, it’s not satisfying. Think about it. He had a sea of gold. He had his father’s halls back. What did he do? What did he become? He was terrified that someone might come and take a little bit of it. After trusting his friends and family with his life multiple times, he lost sleep doubting their loyalty. He became a selfish son of a gun. He was willing to let hundreds die for the sake of gold. But… what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36) He also taught me that it’s possible to redeem yourself. It’s never too late to become a better version of yourself.

He also taught me that the world is not overrun by evil because of its strength. It’s run over by evil when good people fail to fight against it.

Thranduil taught me that heroic actions without love mean nothing. He’s a king. He’s immortal. He’s gorgeous. But he’s been hurt too. He lost his wife and now he’s afraid to love. He’s afraid to love someone who can leave just like that. He prefers to play it safe. If you’ve seen the film, recall the time when he received the death threat from Dain. He seemed pretty excited to me. Someone passionate about life shouldn’t have looked like that. When he told Tauriel that love hurt because it was real, I think we definitely got to see why he was so careful about not getting emotionally involved in anything that could drain him. “Love will leave a mark” – RED (look up that song, guys. It’s a tad heavy, but RED has a habit of pinpointing emotions and writing about it in a real way).

I think we’ve all been a little scarred by love. We need to get past that. We need to get past the risk of getting hurt again. It’s easier said than done. And it’s not going to happen overnight. It could take years. It certainly did for Thranduil. Apathy is a beast that corrodes a person from the inside out. It’s easier to deal with life through an apathetic lens, but then you’re merely existing. You’re not living. You’ll miss out on both the bad and the good. You’ll miss so many opportunities.

I think Bilbo was probably sitting in comfortable apathy before he was shoved out his door. No one hears the story about the man who was comfortable and took care of his own. No. We hear the stories of the broken. The wounded. The uncomfortable. They’re the ones who show us what we can be.

What we should be.

This is by no means all I have to say about The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. This is a Tolkien fanatic’s gushing about- EXCUSE ME, THE LAST GOODBYE IS PLAYING ON SPOTIFY AS I FINISH THIS UP. I NEED TO CRY AND EAT LEFTOVER CANDY.

God bless!

Rana