Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lace

Now Playing: The Neighbourhood - Afraid and Flawless 

I hate to throw Meaningful Quotes here, but I came across this one a while back and decided to blog about it.

I'm actually having shit luck trying to find a proper source, but the Never Lying Internet says it's from Anton Chekov. If that's true, then here you go--plus I'm sure I'm not an aspiring writer unless I quote the guy. (Or so it seems).

"Don't tell me the room is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass."

That's the pretty way of emphasizing details.

I kind of want to relate that to wardrobes.

I know I'm not making movies over here, so costume design isn't really pertinent to my story as a whole, but I do think it can be informative. So long as I don't pull a My Immortal and describe in excruciating detail what every. Single. Character is wearing at any given time, it be fine, right? Appearances are important, in some way or another.

Although My Immortal has been the thing that's served as a usual cautionary tale as I think about this.

In my early writing years--think eleven to thirteen--I was utterly obsessed with Mary Sue litmus tests. I used to put all my main characters through them, as well as a good chunk of my cast. I pretty much stopped taking them once I realized I had memorized most of the major ones; I didn't need to go question by question, I could just run through the list of attributes in my head.

It took me some years to realize the Mary Sue tests weren't the end-all, be-all of character-centered writing. It won't help you write likable, complex, or particularly memorable characters. It's only the baseline for writing, the kind of thing I needed as a foundation before trying to write actual nuance characters.

Which I might not have managed to do yet. Uh. But hopefully I'm closer to it than I was at thirteen.

Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because one of the most common questions on the litmus tests involved wardrobe.

Does your main character wear clothes you like, you'd want to have, and/or clothes that you own? It's one of those things that are supposed to make you notice if all you're doing is writing self-inserts. Or if you're just tossing things at your character because you personally like them, not because it's something your autonomous, individualistic character would choose.

But as obsessive as I was at keeping my characters from scoring on the Mary Sue test (even if just a little bit) , I never really followed that rule. Not strictly. There's a couple of characters--through a couple of books--that have fallen into that silly, Mary-Sue choice in regards to wardrobe.

But like all things related to the Mary Sue concept--it can't be terrible all the time.

I'm a fan of lace. I have way too many clothes with lace patterns. Anything from dresses, to skirts, to tops, to gloves, to undergarments, to socks. I haven't worn pants with lace patterns, but you bet as soon as I find some, I'll buy them.

The problem is, a lot of my clothes are old and worn. And though I've tried to take care of them, I haven't always done my best. So with me, if something's got lace, I own it, and if I own it, it gets torn eventually. Same rule applies to all my tights--they've got holes in them.

That's Lola.

Again, I'm not focusing on Death Awakens (ugh still trying to figure out the title) and I've barely started to figure out the leads. But I see Lola as the kind of girl who's aesthetic would be all (Ripped) Tights, (Cheap) Leatherette, and (Torn) Lace.

She seems to be trying for this strange. . like. . .mishmash of a young femme fatale in the making that's deceivingly sweet but secretly badass. Except she doesn't realize how over-the-top it is or how silly it might come across.

So it's all pastels and heavy weaponry for her.

Cold room by Ana O. on Flickr

(Thank you for reference pictures, Pinterest. . .even though it's annoying that I can't always find the artists.)

That choice--of wardrobe and demeanor--mostly seems to be a defensive facade. Again, I don't know yet because I haven't written her yet. But it's there and it's informing her character in these early stages. And though thirteen-year-old me would feel immense guilt at the very deliberate choice of picking such a specific detail from my life--however mundane--and placing it on a character, I can't say I'll come to back down on it.

I like Lola and the torn lace. Its deeper nuances is something I'll have to figure out eventually. She wouldn't tear it on purpose. She wouldn't ruin her clothes just to have them look a certain way. No, I think it happens by accident, and she simply can't afford to buy anything else.

Maybe this seems backwards--like I started with a detail and then worked my way back to the reason for it. But I'd argue against that.

I think I saw my own bits of torn lace and connected them to Lola because of what I've seen of her so far. Of what I know of her. It just clinked in place.

It won't be such a bad detail to have.
~Becky

P.S: The Neighborhood is providing all Lola-centric music. Along with a couple of those Taylor Swift songs I discussed a while back.

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