What If I Take a Break…

Saturday October 27, 2018

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who got on the party bus for the launch of Atonement in Bloom.  I can’t describe how much I appreciate everyone who shared and contributed to the launch.

Deme and Honeybell are still in a party mood

I don’t seem to know how to really take a break.  I lightened my workload by rerunning Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers (latest episode here).  Yet somehow doing the posts still takes a good deal of time.  So today, I’m trying harder to take a break.  This post re-shares a bit of whimsy I wrote a few years ago — even then I was working on Atonement in Bloom.  

Here I explained what I call my “What if?” game.

 

What Would Happen If There Was a Character Like…

 

Flower Woman spencer-dahl-796539-unsplash

Come on out to play!  Are you ready for a little game? It doesn’t require a special arena, equipment, or athletic ability — and it doesn’t cost a cent.

How My Writing Process Begins a New Story

Have you ever played What If?  Probably not, since that’s my own little speculative free-thinking game. If I heard something quirky in the news, or if I heard about some “breakthrough” that left everyone scratching their heads as to its usefulness, I liked to use it to start a conversation with a friend.

Meadow_frameI’d take the headline a step further and ask, “So what if…” this or that.  The other person would throw out a potential next step, and we’d go on with the “what if” getting wilder and more imaginative as we went, although it would still trace back to the original headline or concept.  I even did a post about very early in my “blogging career.” It created some fun conversations — some bubbles of what-if.

Ultimately, “what if” is how all of my stories start, from short story to epic fantasy.  When I was ready to lay the groundwork to build book-2, Atonement in Bloom, I again read the Celtic/Welsh mythology that loosely inspired book-1.  As I read about something the mythological Gwydion fab Don did for another person in that myth, the image of a new character came into my mind. Stone Planter Flowers Face

What if there was someone like the character that came to mind?  The first what if bubbled into more questions.  What sort of person would she be? Would she be bad, good, or just a sort of device to drive the new plot?

The chain of what if had begun!  What if her presence effected the town? How?  If she did have some sort of magical influence, who would be effected and who might be immune? Why?  What would be the result of either?  As I progressively answered each of the questions that rose from my first “what if,” the character became real to me.  

Because of the what if, some existing characters from Atonement, Tennessee grew in depth — in good ways and in bad ways.
Cherry blossoms snow 2The initial “what if” added two other new supernaturals to the cast of characters.  The chain of what if also brought a character from the short story, An Atonement, Tennessee Valentine, and the short became tied securely to Atonement in Bloom.  I sure wasn’t expecting that to happen!

Most importantly, early on that first what if led me to see the most significant what if of all…

What if, in the midst of a December snow — Atonement, Tennessee came into bloom?

Halloween was always my favorite holiday.  I know it’s not quite here yet, but I’ll wish you a happy one anyway.

Thanks again for visiting Atonement, TN.  It was wonderful to see you. Come out to play What If by leaving a comment!

I’m so grateful to everyone who hosted the Bloomin’ Party Bus that I’m repeating the Atonement TN Book Fair, beginning with my own shameless self-promotion.

Long awaited sequel to Atonement, Tennessee

Where “atonement” begins

It’s best if you read the first book first.  So, for the launch of “Bloom,” Atonement, Tennessee is on sale for 99¢ (e-book). Click Atonement book covers for purchase links.

Includes the prequel

Atonement, TN Book Fair!

Click the author names for more info on the books.

D. Wallace Peach

Image result for legacy of souls d wallace peach

Chris Graham (for Agnes Mae Graham)

My Vibrating Vertabrae cover

Olga Núñez Miret    For info about this book click here. 

Angelic Business 1. Pink Matters Now available as an audio book too

D.L. Finn 

Image result for dl finn the button

Jan Sikes

Image result for jan sikes flowers in stone

Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Mary J McCoy-Dressel, western romance author, Book Three Canyon Junction: Hearts in Love Series, Blog Post Cover Reveal I think Marge and Ralda would vote for Mary’s cowboys to visit Atonement, TN… Just sayin’…

Sally Cronin

Jacquie Biggar has a sheriff too…

jacquiebiggar_thesheriffmeetshismatch_800px

Valentina Cirasola will help you tour Atonement, TN in style.

The Road To Top Of The World: Short Stories In The Land Of Puglia

Barb Taub will keep you laughing the entire way.

Staci Troilo

Tortured Soul

Mae Clair

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

John W. Howell

Annette Rochelle Aben

Image result for booku Annette Rochelle Aben Whimsical poetry from Annette.

Donna Parker will keep your smile alight and whimsy in flight at Yadadarcyyada, Vague Meanderings of the Broke & Obscure.  But there’s nothing obscure about delightful Donna.

Robbie Cheadle

Image result for robbie cheadle while the bombs fell

Chuck Jackson

Image result for chuck jackson what did i do

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Teri Polen 

Image result for teri polen sarah

Patty L. Fletcher of Campbell’s World

Image result for bubba tales campbell

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 © 2015 and 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.

Marge Tipton — Characters from Atonement, TN (& a Cover Reveal)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Marge at LOLAs

Marge Tipton at L.O.L.A. Lola’s

Welcome everyone.  You’ve entered my sanctuary.  Today we’re visiting Atonement, Tennessee.  I know it can be hard to find your way around in a fictional town.  So, let’s have lunch at the local diner, L.O.L.A. Lola’s.  I want you to meet the owner, Marge Tipton. 

Marge’s part in Atonement, Tennessee is quite small, but she comes back for book-2 with a somewhat bigger role.  I thought it would be fun for you to meet some of the residents of the quirky town.

Actually, I wrote this vignette a few years ago.  So while I try to finish the edits to Atonement in Bloom (I know you must be as tired of hearing me say that as I am of saying it but…) I’m giving you a rerun.  I hope you don’t mind.  This little slice of life was done in my “three things” style of pantser writing and I took the things from names of three blogs. Thanks to those folks for following me then and now!

Writer Christoph Fischer

No Facilities (Dan Antion)

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel ~ ~ Contemporary Western Romance

Writer, Facilities, Western

Cowgirl to the Rescue

Young Marge painting

Young Marge Tipton.  Dreamstime

The voice on the radio crackled as she drove through another area with poor reception.  The DJ counted down the top hits of 1974.  Marge pushed her big glasses back on the bridge of her nose and hoped she wouldn’t lose this channel before hearing a favorite song. The glasses were very similar to a pair she’d seen in a picture of Elton John.  She loved his flamboyance. 

You see, Marge Tipton wanted more than anything to be a wild child, an anti-establishment rebel. However, the truth was she just didn’t know how.  So she left her southeastern home and as her family put it, ran off out west.  She stopped running just after she crossed the Texas state line. Marge lived there for ten years. Then the post cards started coming.

The writer of the cards was her brother, Tracey. She didn’t know why her brother moved to the strange sounding Tennessee town a year before. It sounded like he didn’t have much choice in the matter. With each post card Tracey’s state of mind seemed to get worse. He was not pleased with his life there, yet he refused to leave. In his last missive Tracey begged his sister to come to Atonement, Tennessee.

1972 Chevy C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Chevrolet 1972, C10 Shortbed Stepside Pickup

Marge was not happy about the situation.  She rebelled against anything she felt she was “supposed” to do.  She knew that everyone would judge her and say she should help her brother, regardless of whether he deserved it, or whether it ruined her own life. 

She adopted the cowgirl style that she would continue throughout her life.  Marge was perfectly satisfied in her western home.  However, she had a sense of duty that was every bit as strong as her wish to defy the establishment.   So cowgirl Marge got into her pickup truck, left Texas in her rear-view mirror, and headed to Tennessee.

The gas gauge in the truck steadily crept toward empty.  Just as Marge was getting worried she spotted a sign for a gas station.  At first she was relieved in more ways than one, but when she got closer, she saw the smaller sign below the oil company’s logo. “No facilities.”  Marge grumbled to herself. 

Maybe, if she was real polite, they’d let her use the employee restroom.

***

The End

***

Lolas inside diner

L.O.L.A. Lola’s

It wasn’t really a story, just a vignette, but now we have a backstory for a younger version of Marge Tipton.  She stayed in Atonement, TN with her brother and eventually opened “L.O.L.A. Lola’s Bar and Restaurant,” the diner frequented by my characters. 

Marge wasn’t there to “atone” after all, but her brother was.  However, as you’ll see next week, Deme and Honeybell might argue that point.  Meanwhile, Marge has her hands full with Atonement in Bloom.  There’s something about a bear, but I won’t say more. 

Do you have a story about a fuel gauge and the big “E” for empty?  Leave it in a comment if you do.  Thanks for visiting.  Great big hug!

 ***

Now a Reveal!

You know I’ve been trying to finish the editing and publishing work for book-2, Atonement in Bloom.  (My real job makes that difficult.)  Well, the thing is… There is a short story (many of you have seen it) that is a prequel to everything else in the “Atonement universe.”  Always one to make more work for myself… I’ve decided to do a double release.  Along with the sequel to Atonement, Tenneessee I will publish a collection of snort stories, which includes that prequel.  Here’s the cover.

Pigs collection cover banner

Snuffling your way soon.

Here’s the rest of the requisite shameless self-promotion…

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 © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from the public domain unless stated otherwise.

Baby You Can Drive My (Novel’s) Car

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Robert Matthew Goldstein is my “partner in crime” illustrating the #DieselPunk serial that you’ll find on my Jazz Age Wednesdays posts — “Hullaba Lulu.”  Sometimes Rob also makes videos that parallel the Lulu-verse.  He just did a fabulous one featuring (fictionalized) Nikola Tesla and the electric car that I wrote into the serial.  That gave me the idea for today’s post. 

So, I scrapped the post I was set to run… It would have gotten me into sooo much trouble anyway — but I’ll probably use it eventually.  (Winks.)  Instead, I’m going to talk about using cars as vehicles (sorry, you know I can’t resist a play on words) to develop characters or stories.

My Writing Process — or Baby You Can Drive My Car

Chips 1971 Rally Nova

Chip’s 1971 Rally Nova in “Atonement, Tennessee”

They say that a person’s car reflects their personality.  Maybe it’s true.  Even though my imagination flies along the tracks until it goes completely off the rails, I’m generally a very practical person. I have to be.  That’s probably reflected in the fact that I’ve almost always driven a Toyota Camry.  When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee, I wanted the heroine to be an “every woman.”  To bring out that part of her character, I gave her a Camry.   

To quickly establish a very minor Atonement character (Chip the delivery boy), I decided to give him a yellow, 1971 Chevrolet Rally Nova, shown above.  Do you already have an image of Chip in your mind?

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Bethany Purple

Bethany’s purple VW Beetle in the Atonement stories

Another character in that series had a status conscious husband, so she got a big fully-loaded SUV.  My Bethany character is a Goth, an accountant — a bundle of contradictions.  I thought it would be a nice quirk to give her a purple VW Beetle.  Their vehicles helped firm-up their characters.

I guess I’m just a car girl…

Tail-fin-Red-Cadillac_dreamstime_m_30410578

Tam’s Cadillac in The Guitar Mancer (purchased at Dreamstime)

I went all out with the car-thing when I wrote the still unfinished Guitar Mancer.  Some of you will remember when I tried (and failed miserably) to finish that novel by serializing it.  The cars were almost characters.  It was set in the 1970s.  An extremely tall shaman drove a customized Vista Cruiser station-wagon, and a magical character had a vintage 1950s Cadillac.

Granny Phanny Model-T 1914 Speedster

Granny Phanny’s 1914 Model-T Speedster in The Three Things Serial Story

When I did my very first blog serial, I used to tell readers they were driving the story by sending “three things” and invite them to “get in the car!” That was my original Roaring Twenties stories, The Three Things Serial Story, and Murder at the Bijou (and coming later this year, A Ghost in the Kitchen).  I used automobiles to help set the era in your minds.

  Granny Phanny has the above cherished Model-T.  Andy, Pip’s friend and would-be screenplay writer, drives a backfiring Studebaker.  The copper, Dabney Daniels and G-Man, Moses Myrick both drive Fords.

Studebaker blue 1920s

Studebaker, circa 1920

Now, my question to you is — did it work?  When I mentioned nothing more than the vehicle the character drives, did you have some sense of that person?  Or for a little fun, is there a famous person (real life or fiction) whose car exemplifies their personality? Let me know in a comment. 

I’ll close with one of my favorites — Janice Joplin’s Porsche.

Janice Joplin Porche

Honk (or comment) if you love cars!

My apologies if this video doesn’t work… but I had to try.

 

***

Here’s my shameless self-promotion…

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. 

The Punk of I Don’t Know — the Punk of Punk

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Welcome to my sanctuary — an oasis free of politics, religion, and the judgments that often go with both.  It’s my safe haven where we can relax in the comfort and encouragement of each other’s presence — free of bullies and passive aggressive princesses.  I’m allowing certain “punks.”  That’s my prerogative as proprietress and bouncer.

Not that kind of bouncer…  Anyhow, since we’re in my sanctuary, I don’t mind telling you that I’m a continuous learner.  I have to be, because there are so many things I don’t know about. 

After I started writing Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers back in 2015, I realized that I was writing steampunk.  (See episode 1 of that serial here.)  So I had to learn about that genre. 

Small Cornelis steampunk man dreamstime_xxl_87472463

Cornelis Drebbel the Alchimest, purchased at Dreamstime

Later I ran into blogger/author Sarah Zama and found that all sorts of “punk” existed.  That included diesel-punk and several others.  In fact, the list of “punks” goes on and on. (Sarah has a post filled with gorgeous Art Deco things.)  Yes, deco-punk is one of the genres out there too.

The definitions for each punk vary greatly, so I’m not making any proclamations here.  Some punks aren’t defined by the era of the technology.  I’m not going to dig into those.  Here, I’m going to stick with what I can order based on a loose timeline.

A widely accepted example of steampunk is Dinotopia (books and movies). 

Some would place diesel-punk as an era following steampunk, and define both according to the level of technology used.  Steampunk would be technology at the level of steam engines (as in the late 1800s to the early 1900s). 

Meanwhile diesel-punk would be the next step forward, with black smoke from those engines.  I’ve seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow given as an example of diesel-punk.  Diesel-punk has been described as a setting during the “interwar period,”  the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939.

Also, punks of any kind tend to have a fantasy or science fiction element added to the mix. There is usually an element of rebellion or characters who are outcasts.  Now, remember, that’s just one simplified definition

I only list a few examples. Things don’t always get listed in the “punk” where I’d think they would fall.  So I still have a lot of punk to learn.

Rose Enters Station portal

Characters in Hullaba Lulu wait for the train, by Rob Goldstein

Anyway, I found that I loved writing about these things.  So when Rob Goldstein wanted to work with me, illustrating a 1920s series, I was excited to make it a diesel-punk story.  Hullaba Lulu was born.  To me Lulu makes a good diesel-punk character.  She is lovably snarky, rebels against convention, and is a bit of an outcast, just like the song “Don’t Bring Lulu.”  That serial continues at my Jazz Age Wednesdays posts. 

For a comprehensive article — just one take on the many different explanations of all the “punks” out there, you might check this post, Punkpunk: A Compendium of Literary Punk GenresI don’t know if I agree with everything stated there, as I said there are almost as many different definitions as there are write-ups.  However,  it is an interesting read with a lot of information.

Naturally, Wikipedia has a good list as well.  It includes atompunk, which I’ve seen called atomic-punk or atomic fiction.  That usually has technology from 1945 to 1965, or the Atomic Age.  Think of it as retro-futuristic science fiction or “Raygun Gothic.”  I’d like to try my hand at that some time. 

In case you were wondering, yes, there is such a thing as Tesla-punk

Sphinx Tesla Tower

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Leave a comment and let me know what kind of punk you enjoy.  I love to hear from you.

***

Here’s my own shameless non-punk self-promotion… at least no punk yet

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. 

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. 

What to Wear?

Welcome everyone.  I’m glad the weather does not usually effect our ability to have these virtual visits, but horse-feathers, it’s cold out there!  Or at least it is cold for a lot of us.  The question of what to wear is answered by “A coat!”

Life October 1929

Life Magazine, October 1929

Have you guessed that I’m leading into another writing process post?  Some people don’t like “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 an entirely different world.

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.

“What to wear?” can help develop a character’s personality.  I don’t mean just the items of clothing you choose to dress them, but what they pull out of their closet and why.  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 in progress).  Meanwhile her friend Bethany (© 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. 

Bethany lived farther up the street in the opposite direction.  She was an early riser, an accountant, and a Goth. She was a study in contrasts. 

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.

“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.hats-vintage-magazine-red

As you see, that scene was not really about clothes.  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.

Mega hugs!

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…”

Is Your Writing Beastly?

1920s Dorothy Sebastian

Dorothy Sebastian 1920’s

Today I thought a little “writing process” post would be fun.  So I ask you… Is your writing beastly? 

Don’t get defensive. I’m sure your words are beautiful.  However, maybe it should be beastly.  One way to animate your words is to well — animalize them.  (No, that is not a word.  Now it’s a “Teaganese” word.)  I caution against over use of this animalized technique.  However, it really can liven up your text. 

In The Three Things Serial Story, if Pip (and her Roaring Twenties friends) thought someone or something was the height of excellence they might say it was “the bee’s knees” or “the cat’s pajamas.”  However you can animalize your writing in more descriptive ways.

Here’s a bit from Atonement, Tennessee.  Ralda and Bethany happen upon Cael and Gwydion in the middle of an argument.  So the women pretend they didn’t overhear the men.  They try to choose a tombstone for one of Bethany’s charcoal rubbings, which is intended to be a gift. 

After a little looking around, Bethany and I were choosing between a floral carving and one of an angel.  Cael was inordinately pleased by the choice of the angel, but Bethany became worried that Lacey might think it was too “graveyardy.” 

When we went back to the design of a cluster of roses, I noticed that my florist friend looked rather self-satisfied.  For a moment I thought Gwydion would stick his tongue out at Cael.  I didn’t know just what the source of the testosterone filled undercurrent was, but they had practically gone from posturing lions to school boys.1926 life halloweenkitty

Also, you’ve probably heard sentences like the following. He moved with feline grace.  Her owlish eyes regarded me curiously.  He was a nocturnal creature, thriving on late night forays.  You get the idea. 

My challenge to you is to animalize a sentence — leave it in a comment here.  But remember, this is a G rated blog!  (Sorry if I just took the fun out of it.)  

Here’s a list to get you started.  It doesn’t even begin to cover all the animal adjectives.

Avian Hircine Simian
Asinine Icterine Skunky
Bovine Leonine Slothful
Canine Lupine Snaky
Catlike Murine Tame
Crocodilian Nocturnal Tigrine
Delphine Owlish Ursine
Elephantine Piggish Vulpine
Feline Ratty Vulturine
Fishy Reptilian Weaseled
Foxy Serpentine Webbed
Goatish Sheepish
Goosy Shrewish

 

LifeFlapper1922

Have fun!  May your 2017 be filled with mega hugs.

Happy New Year!

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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