Monday, September 21, 2020

My Experiences as a Dyslexic Writer


Being a dyslexic writer is beautifully ironic and frustrating thing. Being a dyslexic writer connected to the writing community is even more so. 
As I've not been able to turn out much content for this month, I figured doing a post on my experiences (because no dyslexic is exactly alike) with dyslexia as a writer would be interesting.

So, here it is! 

Using the wrong word variation

They're/their/there, are/our, one/won, through/threw, whose/who's, you're/your, leak/leek, an/a, etc. A lot of these I have been able to keep straight because I realized I pronounce them differently, like...

"you're" is pronounced almost like "you-or" while "your" is pronounced more like "ye-or".

"Are" is, of course, pronounced with a strong R sound while "our" has a more prominent "U" sound.

"Through" has a almost roll to it, and it's got a longer sound, while "threw" is short and sharp.

Even still, getting these words mixed up is pretty easy for me despite knowing the differences. It's something I have to keep an eye out for when editing and writing.

Using the wrong word all together 

I don't know how, but I get very very different words mixed up. I just got "specifically" and "personally" mixed up in the "Frustrations with this" section, and that's just the most recent example. There's quite a few words that I do this with, including "and" and "in" and "was" and "ways".

Speaking and typing with switched up sentences

I actually verbally speak with the words in my sentences all mixed up. Thinking of an example for this, or for anything on this list, really, is hard for me because if I'm thinking about it I'm not as likely to mess it up, so I don't usually notice when I do mix a sentence up verbally. 
However, when writing the next section, "phonetic spelling", I caught myself doing it. The sentence that I wrote was...

"There's some words that I cannot seem to get straight ever with spelling". 

I put the "ever" further in the sentence than I should've, if I was going to include it at all (which I likely shouldn't have as it was a needless addition). In addition to that, I added a needless context tag at the end ("with spelling").

As seen above, I sometimes catch these things when writing, but not always.
What's funny to me is that often times when I do catch it, I find that it isn't technically grammatically incorrect, but is instead breaking one of the unspoken guidelines of the English language.

Phonetic spelling

This is something I think most dyslexics rely on. Too bad the English language makes no sense and phonetic spelling is seldom ever right. 

There's some words that I can't seem to get straight. When I can't nail the spelling, I type it out phonetically or to the best of my ability and come back to fix it later. When I'm talking online in non-professional settings, I've gotten into the habit of spelling confusing words phonetically because google often times cannot comprehend my poor attempts at spelling the world correctly. 

Skipping letters or moving them when writing 

I've found that when I write, I often leave out words and/or letter. Like this:

"I've fund that I write, I often leave out words and/or letters."

Or I add a letter to the wrong word. An example would be... 

"I add a letter to the wron gan word." 

It's like I get so ahead of the writing that I add the last letter to another word. And this is while writing by hand as well as typing, so I know it isn't a matter of hitting a key or the space bar at the same time as another key.

Combining words

I often combine words into one. A few examples of that would be "eachother", "afterall", and "aton". Which makes my word count smaller in addition to annoying me whenever I see the little red squiggly line (especially because "eachother" and "afterall" look like nice words).

Slow reading comprehension and misunderstandings

It is super easy for me to misunderstand a sentence, which is another thing that's common among dyslexics. Combine that with the online world, and... well, let's just say that it's like combining sardines and ice cream. Not good. 

This also adds to poor, or slow, reading comprehension. When I read books especially, I often times have to stop and go back and reread something a few times before I understand it. If I still don't understand it, I tend to just move on. If it's a book that I really like and I reread it, I might end up straightening that out, but generally if I don't get it the first twenty times, I'm not going to get it the twenty-first. 

This is especially a pain in the rear-end when I'm alpha reading, beta reading, or editing, because then I have to make myself understand. 
And if I still don't understand a big part, I'll reach out to the author and let them know (which is something you do with all those things already).
If I'm just failing to understand a single line or so and its punctuation while editing, I'll often send the line to a family member to get their opinion on the flow of the sentence.

 (Note that if you intend on doing this when editing for another person, do not include anything that could be giving away a part of the story. That includes unique names and terms. If the sentence contains something like that, redact it before sending it to a family member or just be 100% honest with the author and tell them you're at a loss. Better to be an honest dyslexic than a dishonest spoiler.)

Reading out loud

My goodness is this one hard. 
Since I was maybe eleven, I've enjoyed reading my sister's stories out loud to her while she works on other things. But boy is it a struggle. 
I also enjoy reading books out loud to my little sister (though she enjoys it far less than I do), and it again is difficult. 
But those are minor things that only a select few people have to deal with. 

Now, however, I'm pursuing being an audio-book narrator, and it's been pretty difficult when you combine poor comprehension, the struggle of reading out loud, a weaker memory, and voice acting all together. My process is longer than it is for most narrators' for this reason. 

Frustrations with this

I didn't learn to read or write fluently until I was a bit older than most kids, though not for a lack of trying. 
I'm a lot better than I was then, or even than I was a couple of years ago (fluently writing has been a big help with that).
But when I do mess up a word, especially when I'm being serious or I'm upset about something, and I see I've messed up, it can be really frustrating because I'm a writer, I know the difference, I know this is wrong, so why do I keep messing up? 
It's even more frustrating and discouraging when someone corrects me. It's an easy thing for me to shrug off or make fun of myself with on the surface, but for some reason it's something I've always taken personally despite that, which I am at fault for.

Another frustration is that, like I said, my reading comprehension isn't the best. Which is really frustrating when I am editing or reading on a deadline (as well as with tests; I absolutely loathe the ACT test for the reading comprehension portion of the test). 

There's also the frustration of seeing a mistake and fixing it, only to have the "fixed" version bring on new problems that I don't notice until after I've finished something (this happens in my blog posts a lot).

In addition to these things, the struggles of dyslexia isn't just with words and numbers; dyslexia affects various forms of every-day things. Lots of dyslexics struggle with reading clocks, processing what sentences that they hear, and apparently (according to online sources) difficulty understanding idioms and being able to summarize a story. 
All of these things are things that I struggle with. I couldn't tell you exactly where I fall on the spectrum of severity with dyslexia, but I'd guess it's around moderate. Enough to be annoying and make things a little more difficult, but not enough to seriously hinder me from anything. 

For my fellow dyslexics 

And now, I have something to say to my fellow dyslexics.

Don't let dyslexia stop you.

Lots of people struggle with learning. Lots of people misspell. Lots of people misunderstand.  Lots of people are poorly worded. Lots of people don't process things easily. 
I know it's frustrating to have to accept that this is who you are and that you can't change it. But what's more frustrating is trying to change it anyways and then seeing yourself continue to make mistakes. 

I'm not saying don't proof read, or don't try to improve, because you absolutely should and you absolutely can. 
I am saying don't let dyslexia be what stops you from writing. Or, if you're not a writer and somehow found this post, don't let dyslexia be what stops you from doing anything. Pursuing an academic career, graduating school, writing, reading, blogging, making music, speaking, listening, learning, reading out loud. 
These are all things that you, as something with dyslexia, may struggle with, and goodness knows there's a million others out there. However, they are just a struggle. They are just challenges. They are just hurdles in the road that is your life. 
But you know what? You've got this. Dyslexia doesn't dictate you. Dyslexia can't stop you from doing these things; it can annoy you to no end and discourage you, but only you can decide to stop doing something. 

So no matter how embarrassed you get over a mistake, no matter how many times someone corrects you, no matter how many times you have to say "what?" when in a conversation, no matter how hard math is, no matter how hard writing is, no matter how frustrating, discouraging, confusing, and annoying the various things that come with dyslexia can be, don't give up. 
Your game difficulty has just been set a bit harder than someone else's, and that's okay. You'll learn, you'll improve, you'll continue to struggle, and you'll accomplish things anyways. 

Write, read, etc. on, friends.  

  𝓔𝓭𝓷𝓪 𝓟𝓮𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓷 

P.S. Coincidentally, when I was first drafting this post, Merphy Napier posted a video about reading with dyslexia. You should check it out, here

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A Brief Update on The Path to Publication:


Hello, readers and writers alike! 

I know I dropped my consistency in posting again, but I have reasons. It likely won't pick back up in consistency for some time (though I'm going to try in October, as I will be participating in R.M. Archer's Preptober Prompts series).

But in the mean time, I have news that proves I have been productive in my absence: 

The good news: Roslyn has reached 100,000 words! 

The bad news: It is quickly surpassing 100k and shows no signs of stopping

I am seriously at a loss for how this happened. My brother and friends just asked "how" when I told them, and I don't know. The story is nowhere near done. In fact, I lost my ending. I knew where it was heading, but now I'm completely lost and just following my outline as best as I can, knowing it's leading to a dead end. 

My writing crew has said I'll probably cut back on words a lot during revising and redrafting, and I do agree; that's just part of the writing process. 
But, I also know that my writing style, as I've mentioned before, isn't a rushed one. I find stories where travel scenes are skipped, where "meaningless" scenes don't happen, and where the story goes too quickly to be uncomfortable for me, both while reading in writing. Not bad, just uncomfortable. Needless to say, my actual plot seems to be spread out pretty far due to these scenes.
So if I find that my word count doubles to 200k (as I suspect it will) due to these such scenes and prose, it's just going to need to stay that big, because I won't be changing my writing style or splitting this into multiple books for the sake of the reader's sanity. If a reader doesn't want a brick-sized-book, they don't need to pick it up (though I do pity my alpha-reader for this). 
(Perhaps this is how Tolkien felt when he tried to publish The Lord of the Rings as one book but was forced to do it as three separate books instead.)

So really, at current my only issues with this book continuing on at such a on-going length is that I need this to be done before November at the latest. Ideally, it will be done by October 1st so that I can read it over and write the second draft during NaNoWriMo, but I'm really unsure if that's even possible at this point without rushing it. 

We shall see. If it does prove to continue on into November... well, I don't know what I'll do. I may make finishing the story as a whole my goal for NaNo instead of reaching 50k. But for now, the plan proceeds as mentioned in my opening post for this goal, and I intend on finishing Roslyn before October.

Excuse me while drop off the face of the earth to panic-write. 

With thanks for reading, 


                                - Edna Pellen

P.S. While we're on the subject, and while October, the season of preparation for NaNo, is at hand, what's the biggest project you've ever written? 
Or, if you're a reader, what's the biggest book (or book series) you've completed?

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Poem of Mourning


A Normal Day


Edna Pellena

*In dedication to all those who were lost during 9/11, and to all the families who have lost them.*

A normal day 

He's on his way

To work once more to pay

The bills that are stacked up, their payment so late

By the lobby 

Dropping off his baby

Saying hello to the front desk lady

Ready to start work with a smile on his face

Just the norm

Not expecting the oncoming lorn

Caused by the chaos as it's born

Not expecting he'd be mourned

Not knowing what was in store

Not knowing he was the farthest from safe

Sunday, August 23, 2020

50 Ways to Aggravate Your Characters


Hello hello! 

Today I have prepared for you a list of 50 (realistic) ways to aggravated your characters without serious consequences.
Your characters are probably experiencing a some of these things already, and you may not have thought to write it because they're so minor, but these things are great ways to get at your characters and keep them agitated and experiencing burdens without serious injury or plot tools becoming involved. 

(One thing to remember about this: Stay consistent. Don't give your character symptoms of dehydration one day and forget about it the next, as that would be an on-going thing. That applies to many things on the below list.)

1. Body Aches and cramps

2. Dehydration

3. Hunger

4. Getting dirty (great for characters on a lengthy adventure with no way of cleaning themselves)

5. Minor injuries (splinter, sprained wrist, torn nail, paper cut, etc)

Burning their tongue on a hot drink/food

7. Losing something

8. Dropping something

9. Loneliness

10. Insomnia

11. Campfire ash and smoke flying at them

12. Stepping on something sharp

13. Being annoyingly cold or hot

14. Petty arguments and misunderstandings 

15. Waking up early/staying up late

16. Staining their favorite clothing article

17. Tearing an article of clothing

18. Bugs buzzing around them

19. Craving things available to them

20. Swords/daggers/holsters getting in the way when they try to sit and getting caught on stuff

21. Hiccups

22. Needing to relieve themselves but being unable to for whatever reason

23. Being interrupted with needless stuff (stumbling, another character, a dog barking, whatever)

24. Language barriers

25. Allergies

26. Pebble in their shoe

27. The lack of a incredibly simple skill

28. Have a limb 'fall asleep'

29. Pet peeves

30. Trigger weird and senseless fears

31. Losing all motivation

32. Boredom

33. Being unable to articulate themselves

34. Caffeine withdrawal

35. Knives/swords going dull and constantly needing to resharpen them

36. Seemingly senseless headaches

37. Ears needing to pop

38. Biting their tongue on accident

39. Slipping on random things

40. Being teased by other characters

41. Shoe laces constantly coming undone

42. Trying to break a habit but messing up their efforts after a while

43. Having a tickle in their throat that won't go away  

44. Catching a cold

45. Bug bites

46. Getting a song stuck in their head

47. Bumping into things

48. Having a word or thought on the tip of their tongue

49. Being one cent short of the amount of money they need for something

50. Having to sneeze but being unable to

There you have it! I hope this list serves you well, and I pity your characters should you use any of these things. Remember to use them with consideration, as constant annoyances can agitated your readers in a less than desirable way.
Best of luck with your writing! 

                   𝓔𝓭𝓷𝓪 𝓟𝓮𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓷 

P.S. If you find a way to use any of these, I'd love to hear about it below. Messing with characters can be great fun.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

"Singing Ice' is meant to be about a man who is dying from the cold, laying on a frozen lake. He is too exhausted, worn, and weak to get off the lake. He can't move any of his body, so he listens with his ear to the ice to hear it sing, but instead of comforting him as it once might have, it's reminding him that death is coming closer, until he can feel the ice cracking. But it isn't just cracking, it's breaking, so he knows his death (whether it is of cold or the ice breaking) is imminent.

This poem was inspired by a prompt in a writing group of mine, so many thanks to them for suggesting the prompt. I really enjoyed writing this, and I hope you enjoy reading it." - Edna Pellen

My Experiences as a Dyslexic Writer

Greetings! Being a dyslexic writer is beautifully ironic and frustrating thing. Being a dyslexic writer connected to the writing community i...