Hats Off to You — from Atonement TN

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lilith and mirror

Lilith ponders her reflection, unconcerned about what to wear

Welcome everyone.  While I’m finishing edits to Atonement in Bloom, I chose to make things easy on myself and recycle a “writing process” post. 

Hats Off to You — What to Wear in Atonement, TN

But first, a plea…

What is your blog wearing?

Yes, this is selfish of me.  I see more and more blogs using gray text (like this) in the body of the post.  Even when I “zoom” up to 200% I am unable to read it without difficulty.  Lately I’ve noticed an even lighter tone of gray (like this) — which is flat out painful for me.  I realize other people’s blogs are not “about me” so please don’t think I’m criticizing you.  I’m just letting you know that if I’m not there (and your words look like these), then it’s probably because I simply was not able to read your post.  I’m not complaining, just explaining.  Moving on now.

My Writing Process — Characters & Clothes

Jordan 3 WoT covers

Character’s clothes described to “show” changes in the story

Some people don’t care for “descriptive writing,” but I find some level of description helpful, whether I’m writing or reading.  An occasional mention of a character’s clothing can help in several ways.

To me describing a garment is particularly helpful if the story is set in a different era, or even a different world.  It helps set the entire scene.

I enjoyed Robert Jordan’s descriptions of the clothing of the various cultures he built in to the world of his “Wheel of Time” series.  The garments helped define the nationalities. They also helped me keep up with the vast array of characters in that voluminous high fantasy series.

Also a quick mention of clothing can firm up the physical environment or climate.  Your character might wear a tank top or a cozy sweater, sandals or fur-lined boots.  Regardless of the garment it can help the reader feel your fictional world.

Jonathan Daniels, Unsplash

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  Here on this blog, I can show you a picture.  In a novel I have to show you by describing.  If I wrote about the clothes the woman in the above photo wears, you would build her personality in your imagination.

Also, I don’t mean simply the items of clothing you choose when you dress the character.  If I tell you what they pull out of their closet and why, then it helps define their personalities.  

For instance, Ralda Lawton, the heroine in Atonement, Tennessee (© 2012) has a tendency to feel frumpy.  Ralda’s “go to” at-home garment is a tattered sweat jacket.  It also shows up in book-2, Atonement in Bloom, (currently undergoing edits) where the jacket meets its demise.  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (created 2012) consistently wears black.

Also in “Bloom” a new character is easily identified when the townspeople discuss him — because of his bowler hat and suit.  That’s not something one often sees in quaint Atonement, TN.Lew with hat

In writing a series, describing attire can serve as a reminder about aspects of a character.  Bethany’s affection for hats is brought out in “Bloom.”  I used the sequence to let you see the playful side of my Goth accountant.

The sound of a squishing footfall told me I was not alone.  I didn’t have to look to know it was Bethany Gwen.  Maybe it was logic, maybe it was intuition, but I knew it was her. 

A vivid color caused me to look down instead of up when I turned toward her.  Bright pink flame and swirl designs covered her shiny black galoshes.  On each boot, amid the pink flames a scull rested atop crossed cutlasses.  I shook my head.  In all of Atonement, only my friend would wear such foot-gear.

“Those are great,” I said of the galoshes, giving her a lopsided smile.

As was her usual habit, nearly everything else she wore was black, including an antique top hat and the ruffled umbrella she carried.  Bethany had tied a hot pink ribbon around the hat to match the boots.  The black garb made the galoshes seem even brighter.

Eunice Stahl, Unsplash

“You like?” she confirmed and stuck one foot out in a precarious way.  “I couldn’t resist when I saw them online,” she said.

“Oh yes,” I said with a chuckle.  “Hey, wait a minute, you’ve cut your hair,” I commented moving a step closer to be sure, since she wore a hat.

Bethany doffed her top hat and bowed.  Then she stood and ruffled her new pixie cut.

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes or hair.  It lets you know about the character’s personality.

Do you have a favorite book that makes use of clothing descriptions?  Or is there a character you enjoy who has a signature item of clothing?  If so, then be sure to mention it in a comment here.  You know I love hearing from you.

PS:  My apologies if you can’t get the videos in your location — or if commercials have been added.

Also known as “The Way You Wear Your Hat…”

I hope you’ll come back to this “station” Wednesday for the next chapter of Hullaba Lulu, my diesel-punk collaboration with San Francisco artist, Rob Goldstein. 

***

Of course here’s my shameless self-promotion.  Unfortunately no hats involved…

Atonement Video Cover copy

Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise. 

69 thoughts on “Hats Off to You — from Atonement TN

  1. My old tired eyes do not like grey print, thanks for mentioning it. When writing my recipes I have to describe every little detail to ensure the outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To me much of the descriptions, and explanations make the story so much richer, and offer so much more insight to the scene or character than if I just a movie of it. It’s why I prefer books to a movie. 😊 Without all that good stuff I’d probably be bored and close the book before finishing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deborah. I agree. I realize sometimes descriptions can go too far. I remember a promising book (that I never finished) where the writer made lovely detailed descriptions of EveryThing. He was eloquent, but he took several pages to set up each scene or detail. Yet the lack of description falls flat too. The illusive happy medium!
      I just found that WordPress once again didn’t get my Wednesday post out on schedule. Had to fix that before going to the office. Now off to work. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are quite right, Teagan. Those little touches about how she stuck out her foot and doffed her hat tell the reader a lot about the character.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Without realizing it when reading, you are so spot on in describing attire, etc., it does help create a visual in your mind about the character….not just visualizing the attire, but it truly paints a picture of the person and setting. What goes into writing and creating characters never ceases to amaze me…great post! Have a great weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad you mentioned the text color, Teagan. Often people don’t realize the impact of these choices until someone points it out. There are some blogs that I’m unable to read as well. And yes, I like a little clothing detail. You make a great point about using it to recall a character and define personality in addition to adding to the visual. And it is great for reinforcing a time period or alternate world. Triple duty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Diana. I know you use it to wonderful effect in your novels. I’m glad you agree.
      Yes the text… When I wrote that with the different colors on the same lines or text, the difference really stood out to me. So even though I didn’t want to be critical, I decided to share it. I appreciate your feedback, and you taking time to visit. Happy weekend hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I tend to see a story when I write, as though it were a film, so I do favour description, in my own and other people’s writing – you’re great a setting atmosphere and taking us right into the heart of a place with your descriptions Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks you so much, Andrea. That means a lot to me. I loved your latest post. Your way with words is purely magical.
      I do that when I’m writing too — see it as if it was a film or TV show. Enjoy the rest of this weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, Teagan, and thanks for the tip on font style, Chris. I’m never sure if I’m using one that carries well, or not. It’s frustrating when I copy/paste an excerpt or blurb from another program and it changes within WordPress!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Teagan. It’s Canada Day for us on Sunday and I’m looking forward to the fireworks. DH and I often drive down to the beach to watch them across the bay- spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, I agree that it’s hard to read the tiny letters, and pale color of the words, when I try to read anything. Not sure how to make them larger, though, so have to just skip some that would be interesting. As for descriptions in writing, some is necessary and helpful to get a feel of the whole story, but if it goes on for pages, I tend to skip over it, to get to the actual story. … Wishing you a lovely weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Barbara, it’s great to see you.
      Depending on the WordPress theme, it can be hard to change the font type or size, but changing the color isn’t difficult. When I’m reading I change the size on my computer/Internet in the upper right corner, and scroll down to zoom. I have to have at least 150% even for a normal sized font, but when the color is too light, even that doesn’t help me.
      I hope you have a terrific Fourth of July weekend and holiday. Happy writing. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m so glad I could help, Barbara. Yes I use that feature all the time, home and at work. And I’m relieved when I learn I’m not the only one, LOL. It’s funny, at work a few have sent me emails (usually to edit something) and they use a 16 font. I found out they were trying to make it big enough so they could read it easily. When they forget to change the size before they send their email (to groups) it looks like they’re yelling. LOL. I said “Zoom your screen” — My Yahoo mail won’t do that but Outlook will. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Grey color, small print, and run-on paragraphs are annoying. Some bloggers don’t seem to understand that good formatting can make a post much more appealing and readable. Hats off to good formatting and character descriptions! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a concept, Teagan. Learning about characters by what they are wearing seems logical but I had not thought of it before. I’m going to pay more attention. Super post. Have a wicked weekend. (in the good sense)

    Liked by 1 person

    • John, your writing style is so well developed and professional, I don’t think you need to change a thing. It works quite well for the thrillers you write. I just think that showing what they wear and sometimes telling why is one way of showing more in a story. I very much appreciate your feedback.
      I hope you and Molly and the pups can get some peace and quiet from the beach revelers. Wishing you a wicked weekend too! 😉 And thanks for the smile that gave me. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but I enjoy description. It helps put you in a scene and lets you get to know the characters so much better. What I don’t like is when the description becomes obnoxious – doesn’t add to the story and is nothing more than strings of words. Description doesn’t have to be boring. Sorry I haven’t stopped by in a while. Crazy times here on the homefront, but all good!! I’ll try to pop in more often. Love and huge hugs, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michelle. I’m happy to know all is well in your world.
      LOL, I can be a bit of a “girly girl” about clothes — and I seem to have a physical need for colors. So sometimes I have to curb my enthusiasm for clothing descriptions. I appreciate your feedback here. Love and hugs right back, my friend. Have a beautiful weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Belated wishes for a happy birthday, Mary! It’s good to see you.
      (Actually the photo of “Lilith” is one I bought at Dreamstime, but it’s always been one of my favorites. I’m happy you like it.)
      Thanks for your feedback. Have a beautiful weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Like

  12. First off – thank you for mentioning the gray text. I am somewhat colorblind, which means a lot of colors look gray to me and there is very little contrast. I’ve had some pages where I’ve had to select the text to even read it (and I can’t be doing that). Contrast, contrast, contrast!

    I know I have mentioned how much I enjoy learning about your characters through the normal life things, like deciding what to wear – it is so powerful and it makes reading so easy. I learn a lot from reading your posts and your books.

    I hope you’re finding a way to beat the heat this weekend. Good luck with the editing. I’m looking forward to your being able to launch Bloom!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dan. I’m so glad you commented on the text. So if you get a chance, let me ask… I’m always concerned about readability when I use colored text to denote a different part/section of my blog. (I do that sometimes to show snippets or when I’m switching to promote someone else.) Am I using enough contrast? Or is that difficult for your vision?
      I’ll be beating the head and praying my air conditioner holds out! 😀 Taking time off for Crystal’s monthly vet/shot and hopefully a lot of editing time for Bloom. (I got next to nothing done during the week.)
      Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Chris. I don’t recall your blog ever being difficult for me. However, the font you use has a very “strong” look (without resorting to “bold” text). That helps.
      Depending on the WordPress theme, it can be a lot of trouble to try and change the font type. However, changing the color isn’t hard. A couple of times recently I’ve been very disappointed in myself, when I so wanted to support another blogger, but I couldn’t even make it halfway through their post — simply because of the text color. As Dan described it — the lack of contrast. So I decided to add that to my post, and hope it comes across as “constructive”.
      I appreciate your visit and all your support. Happy weekend hugs to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t remember reading this post, Teagan and loved the snippets of your next book. I enjoy description in other people’s writing but I’m not big on writing descriptions myself. Fantasy and historical fiction are enhanced by great descriptions (I remember several recent books, among them Falling Pomegranate Seeds, that helped me imagine the Spanish royal court of the Catholic Monarchs). But not exclusively.The Great Gatsby wouldn’t be the same with the descriptions of the locations and the characters clothing, for instance. Thanks, Teagan and good luck with the editing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Olga. I hope you are enjoying a relaxing weekend.
      The first post was old, so I was hoping no one would remember. Even so, I changed it some, and added different images.
      I appreciate your feedback here. I agree completely about your examples. (But I’m not familiar with Falling Pomegranate Seeds — need to look into that one.)
      Writing can be very good without the clothing descriptions. It’s just one way to enhance a story. Great big hug!

      Like

  14. Hats are so important Teagan.. I’m a hat man, mostly to stop my follicely challenged pate being burnt. But they can add a dapper edge to a man. And I’ve always enjoyed the idea that during the Tour de France, that unique cycle race, a rider who has done especially well – climbing some mountain or whatever – is congratulated with cries of ‘Chapeau!’ being a shorthand way of saying ‘Hats off to you!’

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to agree about hats, Geoff. I’d wear them more often myself, but they seem to draw so much attention. However, when I lived in New Mexico (where the beautiful sun is very intense) I had to wear them anyway. Great excuse. 😉 Thanks for taking a moment to visit. Happy weekend hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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