We all have a story within us. Among a few genres, our stories may be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, folklore, or whatever the writer desires, but the main point is getting our stories out of our heads/hearts and onto paper. So, don’t be shy. Begin writing and journaling as much as possible. Write, write, and continue writing.
A Good Hook: Ask Yourself this Question
A hook sentence (also called a narrative hook or literary hook) is a sentence in the first paragraph of a piece of writing which “hooks” the reader into “thirsting” for more. It’s what authors coin “a page-turner.” You will want your “hook” written within the first sentence or paragraph. Your hook shouldn’t be too far down after your first paragraph.
Think about what makes a story interesting to you. This is what will assist you in writing a good “hook” for your story. You’ll want to give your readers the same gift you received from stories you’ve read that had great “hooks.”
So, think about how will you make your story so interesting the reader will have a hard time putting your story down.
Make Character(s) Come Alive on Paper
Go ahead and begin jotting down your ideas and notions. Give your characters names, and express their characteristics/personalities (sassy, smart, and intuitive). Don’t forget your scenery (school, home, sunshine, snow, rainy day).
• Give your scenes color/vivid descriptions
• Set interesting Scenes
• Get into your Characters heads
• Personalize your story
• Imagine yourselves in the story
• Voice out your characters words/Act our your story
Helpful tips for planning your very own story (click on hyperlink below)
Components of Planning a Story
How No Tildes on Tuesday was born
This is how I made my first book, No Tildes on Tuesday, come alive. Even though the story within the pages of No Tildes on Tuesday is fiction, it is based, in part, on my personal life which makes this story realistic fiction. Well, you might ask, what is realistic fiction? Realistic fiction means that the story is based on issues surrounding my life, even though it isn’t entirely true. For example, the storyline is based on a biracial girl, Isabella, who is not bilingual. Isabella’s dad, Antonio, didn’t teach Isabella Spanish because of how he was forced by his school teachers to drop his Spanish language at a very young age and concentrate learning English. Isabella’s grandmother (abuela) yearned for Isabella to learn her father’s native language, but really didn’t know how to teach Spanish properly.
Isabella’s father is Hispanic and her mother is Caucasian. Isabella, however, identifies with only one half of her heritage (the Caucasian side). In fact, her very best friend is Caucasian and believes it to be a waste of time for Isabella to learn Spanish since no one at school, or in their community speaks Spanish.
Further into the storyline of No Tildes on Tuesday Isabella meets a new friend who is bilingual. Juanito loves speaking both languages and invites Isabella to a Fiesta where she learns and sees the beauty of the other half of her heritage.
How No Tildes on Tuesday Mirrors my Personal Life
Well, in my real life, my own daughter is biracial, and even though she isn’t bilingual, she has taken Spanish for the last two years in middle school. My husband is Hispanic and I am African-American. My husband’s teachers encouraged them to only speak English while in school, but he continued to use Spanish while at home with his parents.
My daughter’s grandmother (abuela) really wanted her to learn Spanish, but abuela wasn’t able to help my daughter learn the language using proper linguistic skills. In addition, Isabella’s dad’s name is Antonio. Antonio is my husband’s middle name.
As shown on the Back matter of No Tildes on Tuesday
Isabella never wanted to learn to speak Spanish. But when her parents announce they are moving to the family to a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, Isabella become desperately afraid that she won’t be able to fit in and grudgingly agrees to start Spanish lessons with her abuela.
But the lessons aren’t as easy as she thought they would be. Abuela is a strict teacher and the words are a lot more difficult to memorize than Isabella thought they would be, so at the goading of her best friend she decides to put a stop to them. Through a runaway adventure, a visit to her father in the hospital, and an introduction to a new kind of friend, Isabella comes to realize that Spanish may not be as bad as she thought, and that being able to communicate with people who share her heritage could be invaluable.
Self-Identity: Love Who You Are
As the author and creator of this story, it was my aim to reveal how complicated it is avoiding self-identity, but how great and rewarding life can be when we embrace all of who we are. We must have deep-seated love, confidence and self-respect for self. Love for self must become ingrained within at a very young age and massaged daily. We must love our heritage whether, biracial, multi-racial or monoracial (of only one race as I am).
By definition subordinates are those who are ranked in positions not equal to that of their boss.
Yes, but how commandeering are you?
No, not all people can or will have the same rankings on various jobs, but bosses must always consider how they treat the very people who help them do their jobs well, and I might add, those who help their bosses “shine.”
People should not be treated as inferior, subservient individuals made to feel lower in thought, and privileges. Although bosses are taxed with final decisions as per their knowledge and skill-sets, those who are looked at as inferior also have talents, and can often bring new ideas “to the table” never imagined.
Have we taken this scripture completely out of context?
Biblical Scripture (Taken from Bible Gateway)
Ephesians 6:4-6 Worldwide English (New Testament)
4 Servants, obey your boss. Respect him with all your heart and try to please him as you would Christ.
5 Obey not only when he is looking at you, as if you were pleasing a man. But obey as the servants of Christ, and do with all your heart what God wants you to do.
6 Work gladly as if you were working for the Lord and not for men.
Even still, those in Managerial/Supervisory roles should not take the word out of context, and especially for granted when interacting with persons considered not equal in their positions. Those blessed enough to be in such roles should always think to treat others the very same way they’d want to be treated.
Input and talent of Subordinates
How often have you had to rely on your assistant to help “keep your head above the water” or help you during “crunch time?” It doesn’t hurt to listen to reason. Many times my assistant has had great ideas I could use. Whenever I could not, I listened and knew when to “draw the line” especially whenever I felt (via my expertise, teaching, experience and training), I realized my idea(s) and proceedings were better suited for the task at hand. Even still, I was warm-hearted, and always thanked my assistant for her input.
Ideas to ensure you’re a great boss?
- Listen without interrupting
- Acknowledge what subordinates have to say
- Utilize some of their ideas from time-to-time
- Expect accountability without being overpowering
- Avoid harsh criticism. Rather, give another point-of-view
- Tell subordinates how well they have done
- Show subordinates they’ve done well by kind gestures
- Use words such as “Thank you” and “Please” often
- Give reasonable timelines/deadlines ahead of time
- Never shout or use unkind words
- Always remain humanistic showing concern about their health, or the well-being of their family members if shared with you
- Treat subordinates the very same way you’d want to be treated
Following these ideas just makes a better working environment one to another as daily work tasks are completed.
And, along the way, why not have the boss and subordinate respecting one another, too.
As our children journey back to school this year, let us not forget to give them a huge hug and/or kiss while assuring them we are their best advocates, and spokespersons just long as they follow school rules, respect themselves and others, and follow the laws of the land.
I believe in my heart-of-hearts if we instill in our children there are rules to be followed, perhaps our children can and will avoid adverse issues unawares that could surface along their crossings.
Our children must also learn empathy, and care for one another. Using their manners by simply saying words such as “excuse me” “thank you” and the like will soften spirits.
When our children are not with us, but in the trusting hands of school officials, we must allow our children to soar with independence while becoming responsible citizens in our society who will one day be charged with making decisions in our stead.
Remind our children to choose their company wisely, not become followers but leaders. Let us remind them if it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t right. Tell our children it is okay to move themselves out, or away from situations that aren’t good for their well-being. They must trust their “gut feelings.” So, when peer pressure lurks their way, it is okay to stand tall and say “no.”
Tell children to “keep their heads to the grind” meaning – listen to your teachers, get organized and remain that way. Remain studious, ask questions, and get their assignments completed in timely fashions.
Let us not forget to closely monitor our children’s coming and goings. Ask questions about their day, possible homework, or just ask, “Is there anything I need to know?” You’d be surprised at their relief that you asked, and what you may learn from them.
Let us give our children a “pep talk” today and throughout the school year, and let us pray for their safety, strength, and positive growth in right directions.
~ See more helpful back to school information at:
Wipe Out Bullying: Is it Possible?
My Child is Being Bullied: Oh, I Don’t Think So!
With the recent passage of same-sex marriage there’s been lots of hype, tension and barking back and forth between those who support same-sex marriage, and those who do not. Some have gone as far as deleting friends from Facebook. Why do this?
I want to go on record stating I do not believe in same-sex marriage. Due to my study of the bible and the interpretation I’ve gained from my study, I feel same-sex is not God’s will. My goal is to obey God’s will, and become Christ-like. But before you delete my message, please read further.
I want to also go on record informing all who read this post that I am NOT perfect. I have sinned, and there is no doubt I’ll sin again. While I’m not at all proud of this latter statement, I will not tell falsehoods.
My goal as a Saint, however, is to strive for perfection — although I am full of sin, I want to mirror my life after Christ. I want to one day be with God. Yes, I realize there are some among us who do not believe in God, but I do. That is my right, correct?
Even though I (a huge I) do not believe that same-sex marriage is God’s will, I CAN and WILL LOVE my sisters and brother who believe they are correct in their actions. WHY? I want my sisters and brothers who believe in same-sex marriage to in turn LOVE ME just as I love them.
It is my hope that WE can discuss topics (however marginal) using friendly dialogue/discourse. We must not demean, bully, accuse each other of bullying (because we are not in agreement on certain topics), nor should we name call. What good is all this tension and hatred amongst each other? Can’t we agree to disagree and still stand firm on our convictions?
If I believe I am correct in my stance, how can I show myself Christ-like and share with my brothers and sisters when demeaning them? Why should they listen to me after degradation and bullying? Likewise, if my brothers and sisters demean me, how can they accuse me of bullying? Aren’t we both wrong in our actions?
So, let me ask you? Can we talk and share various topics and still love one another in love and peace? I certainly hope so. Although we may have vast differences, along the way we may find similarities.
Let us STOP the HATE and meanness! Let us ALL study the bible and show ourselves approved. No one has to listen to my words, search for God’s will via the Bible.
Love is the key to Diversity!
Reaching out to children who are suicidal is a large task, but someone has to do it, so why not YOU.
Those who aren’t skilled in this area are at a loss for words and interactive strategies. When caught in this stage, we’re left having to think quickly, but cautiously.
We must first learn what suicidal stage the person may be in prior to determining the questioning stage (if there is time).
If there IS time, we must also learn how to question a child who has suicidal intentions.
I am not sure if asking directly about suicidal attempts is always good for ALL children and/or situations, but getting right to the point may “be a good call” for some children depending on where they are within this phase. If so, just “go for it” and ask the question – “Are you thinking about suicide?”
If you need a more subtle “walking on egg shell” attempt, you may try these questions/phrases:
- I’ve noticed you don’t talk a lot here lately. What’s going on? What’s on your mind?
- I’ve noticed you aren’t eating your food like you use to. How are you feeling?
- I’ve noticed you aren’t hanging out with your friends here lately. What’s going on? How is …. doing? (Ask questions about each friend and your child’s relationship with each).
- I’ve noticed you aren’t going outside to play. Has anything happened we need to talk about?
- What happened to your beautiful smile, I haven’t seen it lately?
- Tell me. Is there something on your mind?
- How are things going with…….? (Select a recent topic you are aware of) Is there something I need to know? How can I help you with this issue?
- I know about ………. (if you need to let your child realize you found out about something) Let’s talk about it, okay?
- Do you feel sometimes there isn’t much hope?
- Do you feel like giving up, or hurting yourself?
- Have you ever done something so embarrassing you felt like you wanted to kill yourself? We can get through it because nothing is that bad, trust me.
- Do you ever feel like you’ve made a mistake that got you so angry you want to give up? Let’s talk about it.
- Do you ever think about what life would be like for your family, siblings, if you weren’t around? Let’s talk about how important you are to the family.
- Have you ever gone to bed thinking you don’t ever want to wake up?
Note: Always let your child realize the important role they play in your life and the life of your family.
When children are suicidal, there are usually signs, however subtle. The child is very sad and more than likely wants your attention. Children want to know their self-worth. Let us hear their cry.
Illustration: Compliments of Kelly A. Vasquez
7th Grade Performing Arts Students, 12/2014
Art Piece Title: Tear Drops
Suicide appears to be on the rise these days, so it would behoove us to be on alert for possible warning signs.
Remember to remain close to your child as you guide them through life’s journey. There will be times of insecurity as they attempt to “find” themselves and their “plight” in life.
Ask your child about his/her day at school, church, social gatherings
Who are their friends? What sort of relationship do they have with friends? Do they have similar interests with friends? Are their friends truly their friends?
Build your child’s self-worth, Use Self-fulfilling Prophecy techniques and Affirmation Skills early and often.
Peer Pressure is a “monster” during Teen and Adolescent years!
List of Subtle warning signs:
Failing grades, “class clown” missing class, skipping school
Sadness more often than not
Sense of hopelessness
Activity level appears sluggish
Change in sleeping habits
Disappearing from family gatherings back to bedroom, or sudden withdrawals
Moodiness – outbursts, temper tantrums, edginess
Possible use of drugs, alcohol
Note: Even at the subtle level, do not take lightly – Talk to your child
List of Serious warning signs:
Any previous suicidal attempts
Any drugs in room, restroom left behind by child
Is child asking for drugs to be used for pain such as headache?
Any weapons, rope, other tools seen around home or bedroom
Observance of child giving away sentimental items
Was child making goals at one time, but now does not?
Any joking around about taking his/her own life (this may be to test you)
Any use of suicidal words in journals, tweets, Facebook, other social networks?
Note: Take immediate action
Illustration Compliments of: Kelly A. Vasquez, 7th Grade Performing Arts Student
Art Piece Titled: Insecure Spirits is propped on an easel
Description: The child is peering up at the evil spirits yelling out at him/her with a tear droplet falling.
Date: December 24, 2014
Suicide: Procedures that May Help Parents Stop It!
The news of this tragedy has made our family realize the importance of taking notice, reaching out and taking the extra time with youngsters in our family. My goal is to also help you avoid a tragedy such as this one.
It has hit me that perhaps it would be a great idea to post series of helpful tactics and strategies that might just help families (especially parents) avoid what my family and I are currently experiencing (insurmountable sadness), so I’m offering a few blog series on this very topic – SUICIDE PREVENTION.
I’ll begin this series with a set of PROCEDURES
The first thing a parent would want to do is, of course, protect the student. If parents are aware that a child is talking about suicide, they must contact a mental health professional, especially if the child is showing signs of suicidal tendencies or behaviors, or using threatening remarks.
- Parents should closely monitor and supervise the child until he/she can actually go to, or meet with the mental health professional.
- Parents will want to remain calm as they speak to their child about what’s troubling them.
- Parents will want to contact the school (teachers, counselors, administrators) in an effort to seek/gather more information about their child. Ask questions such as:
Description of their child’s behaviors
Were there any changes in the child’s behavior?
Any talk of suicide comments, gestures, or acts?
- Parents should also be aware of anything they’ve notice about their child and jot these notes down. This includes behaviors at home, around others (family members: cousins, aunts/uncles, grandparents).
- Does the child have close friends? If so, find out if the other child’s parents would mind if you talked to their child in an attempt to determine what they noticed, or have been told.
- Parents will want to think about family changes such as stressors (new marriages, divorces, financial difficulties – just to name a few).
- Parents will want to reexamine health and mental health history of their child, if any.
- Parents will want to speak to mental health professional and outline levels of response plan
Note: These procedures are outlined for parents, but can be tailored for school officials or anyone needing this information. There are so many variables to consider and a number of actions that can be considered.
Photo Complimentary of Maya Steamer:
Maya is a 9th grade student at Victory Early College. Her art piece is titled: “It Hurts” Maya says this: “My art is of a girl who gets bullied and talked about. She has recently been beaten up and wants to spread awareness about bullying. It hurts!”
Maya submitted her art work to represent Crime Stoppers in the Community. She is one of the 2014 Art Contest Winners: Maya’s work was completed beautifully with oil pastels, and will be displayed at Crime Stoppers.