Writing with dyslexia
What is dyslexia? This is a very complex question. A less complicated definition I use is this: Dyslexia is a processing disorder that affects the way the brain processes language. This statement is still extremely broad. So let’s chat about how dyslexia affects my writing specifically.
The advantages are many because my brain processes quickly. All the plotting, themes, and characters are all living in my head. Picture a detective-like board in my head, full of all the clues, people, and objects connected by red string. Putting this massive wall of art on paper would only overwhelm me. I do tend to jot down a word or two to help me access what’s locked away in my head. I used to think I was a panster because I didn’t plot on paper, but I’m not. It’s all in my head waiting on me to weave the ideas into words. Yeah. I don’t get it either, but again the thought of putting that massive amount of data in my head on paper terrifies me.
Writing with dyslexia is very much a mindset I have to overcome daily. The lie that I can’t write because I can’t see my own errors at times frustrates me daily. It takes way more processing power to write and edit my work than people without this difference. Even more annoying is that fact I can go back and read what I wrote and my brain will see it correctly. As a writer friend put it once: my brain autocorrects.
Some days I fear no one will take me seriously because of my grammar errors or typos. A big smile always crosses my face when I see typos on social media, because I don’t feel so alone. I have been ridiculed by people who, I assume, think knowing correct grammar is all you need to prevent errors. This mindset is simply not true for people with dyslexia. Grammar has nothing to do with it. That would be like me making fun of everyone who did not take photos the way I do with the lighting, and so on.
As a filmmaker and photographer I could tell stories and hide the words inside, but when I chose to write I knew I would have to fight for it more than most storytellers. Every writer needs an editor and I need one more than most. I have to edit my work multiple times, and I still miss mistakes. Sometimes I wish I had someone who could edit all my writing. Then no one would have to know I was dyslexic. Or worse think I was just some wannabe who can’t stop making typos. Strangely, most of my friends on social media have shown me overwhelming support and I am grateful to them.
One in six people have some level of dyslexia and most of them don’t even know it. About twenty percent of the population has this processing difference. In the coming years awareness will grow. Hopefully these creative minds can learn to thrive in a world they don’t view quite the same as everyone else.
As for me, I hope my achievement encourages people with dyslexia to realize that it’s an advantage, not a disability.
The Last Orderby Angela Marie Caldwell
Release Date: 02/03/15
Rocket Circus Press
Summary from Goodreads:
Lana forms a secret order of women knights to fulfill her father’s final request: find the queen who was thought to be dead and return her to the throne.
Lana Crewe is a strong, fiercely driven seventeen year old living in a village ruled by fear. With their king and queen both dead, strife and division have taken hold. Ruthlessly attacked by an Order called Talons, Lana’s father is fatally stabbed. Before he dies, he imparts upon Lana a directive to save the statue of Saint Peter, and tells her that the queen yet lives. Now it is up to Lana to unravel the mystery of Saint Peter and bring an end to all of the war by finding the queen.
A medieval tale of hope and mystery, The Last Order is an action-packed story with one of the strongest female leads since Disney’s “Brave.” Not your average YA novel; The Last Order takes upper teenage angst and spins it on its head. You’ll be gripping this book as hard as it will be gripping you.
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Read the first chapter:
LANA RUBBED HER ARMS, still shivering under layers of clothing.
You should have worn your cloak, her father’s voice warned, mixing within her thoughts. After years of his lectures and training, he had become a part of her—one that she assumed would eventually go away, or at least quiet down a bit.
Under the short skirt layered over her leather pants, Lana retrieved her dagger from its custom pocket. Leaves rustled behind her and she spun around, ready for her opponent.
"One day, I will catch you off guard," Bowen said, twisting his lips.
"You’re late," she teased.
"What’s the wager, Lana?" he asked, holding up his sparring sword, ready to fight.
"You’ll mend my sword without payment."
"And if I win, you’ll run double errands," he answered. She swung her sword and lunged at him. "Deal."
Their swords sliced back and forth, making for an almost equal bout. Bowen stood taller than her by a few inches and weighed double. She glided around him with ease. He turned, whipping his blade around expertly. Sweat already beaded on his face. Lana’s heart pumped and her blood warmed. She jabbed her blade. Bowen swerved unsteadily, almost escaping her weapon, but her final swing landed perfectly along his ribcage. Bowen stumbled sideways and fell to the ground, his playful expression turning bitter.
Lana bowed her head. A smile began to creep along her face as she raised her eyes back up to meet his.
"Next time, I will finish you more quickly," she tried to joke, attempting to ease her conscience.
Bowen held his side and cringed. "You’ll do anything to win," he said.
Lana offered her hand, but he refused. "I’m done," Bowen said as he stood up and walked away from her.
"Done? What?" Lana balked. "Bowen, wait." Lana dashed around in front of him and pushed her hand out against his chest. He stopped, seeming unsettled by her touch. His eyes turned sour and far from amused. "We’ve always been a team," she pressed him.
"I don’t have time to play knight with you anymore," he argued, but didn’t try to push past her.
"Oh, too good are you?" she teased again. Seeing no change, she got serious. "I suppose it’s your mother?"
"Who else is going to mend your sword and everyone else’s? Father’s ill. You know that."
She stared into his eyes, begging. "You’re the only one left who can still keep up. Who will train with me?"
"There’s more to life than fighting, Lana. You need a skill," he said.
"I have a skill." Defending herself was an invaluable skill that few women possessed.
"One that matters, like… I don’t know." Bowen seemed to blush a bit.
She cut him off. "Cooking? Sewing? A skill more fit for a woman, so that your mother would approve of me?" His eyes agreed with her words and the realization sliced at Lana’s heart. She thought Bowen would stand by her, but he had stopped dreaming. She stepped out of his way.
What do you say now, Father? she thought. You won, but not over your anger. She kicked the ground and gritted her teeth. Walking away, she struggled to listen over her footsteps, wishing that Bowen would chase after her and beg her to forgive him for his lapse in judgment. Instead, stillness affirmed her fear. He had deserted her.
About the Author
Angela M Caldwell is an author, photographer, and digital filmmaker. She studied video production and photography at Radford Univeristy then relocated to Los Angeles for an adventure. After seven years of city life, she moved back to Virgina.
Angela loves a good story and she has a broad range of likes when it comes to reading. Give her characters that she can root for and take her on an adventure. Angela’s journey back to the written word is a story of its own with dyslexia keeping her from writing for years.
But, she is a storyteller at heart. Through the years, she enjoyed expressing her stories through a variety of forms: photography, painting, music, film-making, and writing.
She lives with her husband and 4 kids, who are her biggest fans. They have one dog, and two cats. Perhaps one day they will have a farm. And her dream of having a horse will be realized.
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