One and a Half Months Left

That’s how long the rest of the school year is. And let me just say, I don’t think I could be happier. Don’t get me wrong, I love to learn. But learning and school can be two very different things at times. Also, who doesn’t love summer break? Like, come on. Don’t lie to me. You know you love it. So, today, with the school year wrapping up, I want to talk about a few things I’d wish I’d known when I started my freshman year.

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Paradox 56 9/16/08 © (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

  1. People Don’t Judge You Nearly as Much: In middle school, there were a lot of things I hid about myself for the simple fear of being judged. Looking back, they were silly things, like the fact that I enjoy Dragon Ball Z (give it a chance I beg of you pretty please we can be fangirls together). I came from a very small private school, and half the grade had known each other since kindergarten. Whenever the smallest thing happened, it could spread through the entire middle school student body in half a week. I had hoped that high school would be a little different, and I got braver as middle school graduation neared, but I never quite got over it until I actually reached high school and experienced being a freshman for a few months. I think I would have been a lot more comfortable knowing that no one’s particularly judgemental. Whether it’s because we’re all too stressed to care, or we’re just more relaxed and open-minded, now, I believe that a lot of high schoolers are pretty accepting people.
  2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help: As a tiny freshman on the first day of school, I was terrified. The campus looked huge and I was completely overwhelmed. My old school had never used a bell, and navigating the massive grounds seemed to make getting to class on time an impossible task. I managed to make it to all of the right classes, but I have friends who had to ask other students, and even teachers, for assistance. As an almost-sophomore, I can tell you that most older kids will be happy to help point you in the right direction. And never ever be afraid to ask a teacher for help, either. Teachers understand that it’s scary on the first day of school. They’ll be glad to help. Everyone’s your friend on the first day.
  3. Make Friends: When I started high school, I wasn’t looking forward to it one bit. None of my friends were going to the school I was going to, and I had already made up my mind that I could last all four years without making new friends. I decided I didn’t need new friends. Low and behold, sitting outside my first class on the first morning, I started talking to a girl who is now one of my greatest friends at school, and we still talk and meet for lunch on most days. That week, I was also reunited with a handful of pals from an old soccer team I was on, who I’d lost contact with four or five years prior. It’s a lot easier to make friends than you’d think, even if you’re not from one of the high school’s main “feeder” middle schools. It just means you have more stories to tell. I made almost all of my friends by having awkward conversations with them because we sat next to each other in class. Most people are in the same, uncomfortable, hormone-filled boat as you are, so don’t freak out, okay? You’ll be fine, trust me. If I can do it, you most certainly absolutely definitely can.
  4. Get to Know the Teacher Before Spacing out in Class: This is a very delicate matter, I can tell you right now. I’m an artist, so naturally, I doodle in class. But let me give you a little advice, my dudes. Get to know the teacher and his or her routine before you get comfortable. Personally, I try to wait about a month before I get comfy, but I usually end up drawing by day two. Just be careful out there, because some teachers are stricter than others. Be very sneaky, bros. Like silent, introverted ninjas.

So that’s the end! If you read this far, then thanks! I have a little announcement to make down here real fast. If you’ve noticed, sometimes my hyperlinks seem a little strange or irrelevant to the post. Just between you and me (and my English teacher probably), it’s a requirement that I have a hyperlink in each blog post. You know, like, for a grade. Here’s the deal I’d like to make with you. If you leave a comment of something you’re interested in down in the comment section, I can provide you with a hyperlink to it at the end of my post, as well as a shout out. That way, I get my grade, and you get some weird facts you’ve always wanted but never really looked into! I’d love to have little mini-features of things you guys are interested in! It can be anything, like, “I wanna know more about the illusive creature known as the pangolin,” or “Give me some weird facts about soap.” Anything. Let’s keep it PG, though, okay? My English teacher reads these.

Anyways, thanks for reading, everyone! Have a happy morning/noon/night!

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Writing: Creating Memorable Characters

Creating characters is one of the most important parts of writing. It reflects the quality of the work and gets readers involved and wanting more. However, it isn’t an easy thing to do. Here are a few of my own tips for when it comes to making lively and memorable characters.

  1. Physical Appearance: When people think of creating characters, they often think of the physical appearance of the character first. The best way to work with the physical appearance factor is using vivid vocabulary. Saying a character has brown hair is dull and boring. It’s flat and doesn’t even touch on the particular shade. What about saying a character has chestnut hair, though? Or hair the color of honey. Auburn hair comparable to the autumn leaves. Metaphors and similes are very welcome when describing a character’s appearance. It gives readers something to compare the physical traits to. And that’s only hair. What about emerald green eyes? Delicately tanned skin? Freckles like the stars in the night sky? The colorful language gives an element of life to the description. For more help on the particularly artistic element of physical design, I suggest watching this video by YouTube artist, LavenderTowne, who makes a few very good points on how to successfully design a character.
  2. Personality: It’s incredibly important to consider the personality of your character when describing or designing them. Are they innocent and naive? Stubborn? Proud? Childish? Mature? Shy? It’s important to let the reader know the character’s personality. While it may be tempting to describe the personality of a character directly, it’s often better to show it, rather than tell it. Don’t explain to a reader that your character is childish. Show it by making the character refuse to pick up after themselves, or have the character be a picky eater. If a character is mature, show how seriously they take things, like tasks given to them by others. Showing always works better than telling, but it’s especially important here.
  3. Backstory: The third main part of a well thought out character is his or her backstory. Now, it’s important to be cautious here, as backstories are often tedious and/or cliche. The best thing you can do is start with motivations. They don’t have to be your character’s motivations, if you don’t want that. They could be the motivations of others that simply affected your character. But backstories exist for a reason. Don’t just create one for the sake of a character having one. They don’t have to be overdone or extreme, either. Maybe a character comes from simple backgrounds, and now they’re moving onto something bigger. The contrast of the basic backstory and a more complex main story work out nicely.
  4. Uniqueness/Originality: The last thing you should know about creating a character is that he or she should be as unique and original as possible. Don’t be afraid to make a character your own. Personally, I think it’s fun adding elements of my own life into my characters. Don’t like tomatoes? Maybe your character doesn’t either. That’s the great part about having your character reflect elements of you or others around you. Everyone is unique, and that can flow through to your character, as well.

PetalPrincess CropHere’s a character I drew a few weeks back. Her design is simple enough. Let me try to run through my list with her to give a sort of final example. She has rosy pink hair and nicely tanned skin. Her sea foam eyes are always shining. As you can tell by her demeanor, she’s a happy young girl, excited to be alive and just enjoying life in general. She may be a bit naive at times, though. Her backstory isn’t overly complicated. She’s from a simple kingdom and is setting out on a quest with her friends with no goals other than to have as much fun as possible while traveling through other kingdoms.

That’s basically it! I hope this helped out!