Thursday, September 26, 2013

Writing Clothes

Yesterday I accompanied my friend to a cute clothing store down in El Segundo.  She needed a dress for a last minute club invite, and I was more than happy to get out of the office for a lunch adventure.  The entire time I was in there, all I kept thinking was, "Which one of my characters would wear these adorable clothes?!"  There were so many cute dresses, fun patterns, and sassy accessories that I knew at least one of my girls in Winter Lakes would have had a field day in there.

But then I think about the struggle of describing a character's attire when writing.  I remember in my fan fiction days receiving a comment from a reader who complained that she hated when writers described what characters wore.  This seems to be a common sentiment, even in critique groups where other writers shake their heads when people spend too much time talking about how their protagonist wore a leather jacket with his faded Levi's and steel-tipped motorcycle boots.  I've always thought the old adage of "the clothes make the man" rang true, especially in fiction where what someone wears could tell you just about everything you need to know about them. But apparently this isn't the case, and usually the description feels trivial and ends up making the reader disinterested.

During a crit group meeting, I was given a great suggestion on intertwining clothing into a scene so that it revealed mood and action.  So I went from a sentence like this:

He stood behind the country club in his black T-shirt.
To this:

He tugged the bottom of his black T-shirt that had become stuck to his skin from the humidity. 

With the adjustment, not only have I told you what he's wearing, but I've also made the sentence active and gave you a sense of the atmosphere.  Now I'm going to try to do the same with the inspiration I got from the clothes at this store!

If you have any other great tips for writing clothes, share it in my comments!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's Like Subway, But With Pizza!

Today was a fun food adventure day.  My friend and I headed to this new pizza place called Pizza Rev for lunch.  We didn't know what to expect, but it turns out the place is like Subway.  Only instead of a sandwich, you get a pizza!  You pick your sauce, then move down the line and start picking your toppings, and the best part is that all the pizzas are one price.  So if you want to get a pizza with pepperoni, meatball, sausage, bacon, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and buffalo chicken on it, it's the same price as your friend's who got a plain pizza with cheese and sauce.  I went with a plain red sauce, cheese, pepperoni, half Italian sausage, half sweet sausage, tomatoes, and garlic.  It. tasted. amazing!  And it looked good too.  Check it out!
Needless to say, I highly recommend.

Speaking of great food, over the weekend, the roomies and I hit up the LA County Fair.  We were greeted with booths upon booths of absolutely ridiculous food items that were either a) fried or b) wrapped in bacon.  We witnessed a man eating fried watermelon, a woman eating a fried Klondike bar, and a sign for such apparently delectable items as fried upside down pineapple cake and fried bacon wrapped shrimp.  The most amazing one I saw, however, was the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe.  No, I didn't try it, but our friend did try the Krispy Kreme Double Cheeseburger and gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.  I, however, stuck with my favorite food group...
It's like the fair knew I was coming and put this booth up just for me.  French fries = food of the gods.On the writing front, Winter Lakes book 2 is coming along swimmingly.  It's actually freaking me out how well it's coming along.  It's in a massive stream of consciousness state at the moment, but once it's done I can go through and edit it into a discernible story ready for reader consumption.  I feel bad that I haven't shared any of it yet, so I'll give you guys a random line I wrote last night.  I'll just close my eyes, point at the screen, and see where it lands:

They didn’t want to be here in this strange world, trapped against their will.

Intrigued?  You should be!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Contemplating POVs in the City of Angels

Guess who's back in LA?  In a whirlwind of events that occurred in the past three to four months, I've found myself back on the West Coast, and I couldn't be happier about it.  If you had asked me in July if I'd be back here and trying to make things happen, I would've laughed.  But life is funny and so here I am!  I don't know why, I don't know what's in store, but I know that I'm ready for this fun adventure.

The most important thing about this move is that it's helping me immensely with my Winter Lakes writing.  That's something else I never could've predicted.  I've been steadily writing and really seeing it move in the direction I wanted.  I haven't been this inspired in awhile so I'm running with it.  Winter Lakes!

Speaking of the Winter Lakes journey, I received great feedback from an agent on it!  She liked the first 15 pages I sent, but ultimately passed on it.  However, she did give me amazing and detailed feedback, which is a first.  Usually an agent just sends a form rejection back, so the fact that she took the time to really tell me what worked for her and what didn't is a huge deal.  I seriously can't thank her enough.  What she ultimately had a problem with is something that's a unique issue for this story.  As you guys who have been with the story since the beginning know, the story is told from multiple POVs.  This is something that is generally frowned upon or makes agents and editors roll their eyes.  Which makes me ask: Do multiple POVs really turn you off to a story?  And if so, how many POVs is too many?  I know what people "think" the right answer is because we've all been told to not do it, but in the practical sense, have you ever stopped reading a story because it was told from 3-4 people's points of view?

Also, is this a YA thing?  Because I feel that YA has so many more "rules" than general literary fiction, and I personally don't care for any of them.  I'm a fan of telling your story the way it needs to be told.  That certainly doesn't mean you just write something and throw it out there, but I think if you know, after revisiting and rewriting and reevaluating the story you're telling, that the way you've written it is the way the story works, then you should stand by it.  At least to a certain extent.

On that note, I'll leave you guys with a Vine of one of our first adventures in LA.  This is why you can't take me and my friends anywhere.