My heroine, Gina Covello, talking about the difference between being a fashionista vs. a trashionista.
And this wonderful Old Spice commercial.
“Break a nail?” I asked Marcy, wadding up my prize into the smallest possible package, the better to avoid having it swiped away. It was just my size—small—and color—fire-engine red. I knew just by eyeballing it that it would fit like a glove.
“N-no,” she stammered. Surprised, I left off ogling the shoe selection still available a quarter hour into the Bombshell Boutique’s annual midnight madness sale to turn and assess her freak-out level.
Her eyes were wide, and her arms empty. Her heartbeat was, of course, non-existent, us being undead and all. But I imagined that if she still had a working heart it would be pounding. Nothing short of structural nail damage or impending doom would cause my BFF to surrender a sales item. I knew from experience. I’d been on the other end of that tug of war.
“Eyes,” she continued.
“Eyes?” I asked, baffled.
“They flashed at me. Glowing amber, like a caution light.”
“You mean red?” I tried. Very old vamps sometimes got a red and dead glow about them when crossed. It wouldn’t be too startling to find another of the fanged and fabulous at a midnight madness sale. After all, they seemed tailor-made for us.
“Amber,” she insisted, “like a traffic light.”
Yellow…amber…it probably wasn’t worth arguing the finer points of the color wheel.
“Where?” I asked. “Which girl?”
Marcy grabbed my arm and started to pull me toward the shoes. “We’re off-duty,” she reminded me. “Come on, let’s go check out the kicks before our sizes are gone.”
More problematic for me than for her, since my feet were a normal size seven, and she had munchkin feet, but I let her steer me in the direction I wanted to go anyway…until another girl howled.
It was a perfectly human howl of pain and shock, but I pulled away from Marcy and spun to see a girl about our age yank back a slashed arm, blood dripping dramatically on the silver shawl she clutched.
“Right there,” Marcy said, when it was clear I wasn’t going anywhere. She pointed to a brown-haired girl just turning away from the commotion, her wild mane of hair bobbing above the crowd as she made her way to the door.
“I’m going after her. You talk to the girl who got gouged. Something’s not right here.”
“But…shoes!” she wailed.
“Later,” I promised.
“When all the good ones are gone,” she grumbled, but she let me lead the way back to the sales table we’d come from. When she stopped, I kept going. Already I was losing sight of the shopping slasher. I could still see her head above the crowd as she power-walked away, the path opening magically before her. She paused at the entrance when a suited security guy moved in front of her, but I could swear I heard a growl and suddenly he stumbled back.
He was yelling into his radio as I got there, and I didn’t even realize that one of the cries was for me until I was past and remembered the shirt balled up in my right hand.
Agently advice post for Magical Words on September 23
"A Writer’s Diary" for Magical Words on September 30
Better Living through Fiction
They say familiarity breeds contempt. They say write what you know. They say I was dropped on my head as a child. While that last part might be true, I beg to differ on the first two points.
I write a fashionista vampire. She’s confident, cocky, popular and fashion-obsessed. Oh yes, and she’s seventeen. While I will admit to once being seventeen (just yesterday), I was not at the time confident, popular, fashionable or fanged. I played D&D, wore shapeless shirts to cover up the figure I wish I had now, took extra classes, particularly in art and English, did drama and generally lived the life of a Gleek. I think what drew me to Gina (my character) was that she was so absolutely alien to me. My first YA, Vamped, was originally meant to be a short story called “Unlife Style” about a teen vamp who faces true horror when she claws her way out of the grave, totally destroying her manicure, and realizes she’s got to face eternity with no way to fix her hair and make-up. She decides to save her sanity by turning her stylist and starting an undead entourage.
I didn’t have to like Gina. I only had to live with her for about ten pages. Unfortunately, my writers group informed me that “Unlife Style” was more of a vignette and that Gina demanded more. Not exactly a surprise that my heroine was high maintenance, but did I have to be the one to cater to her every whim? The short answer is, of course, a resounding, “Yes.” So, I had to learn to live with Gina. I had to learn to love her. Which meant that I had to understand what made her who she was and discover her more redeeming characteristics. In short, I had to learn tolerance and acceptance for a character who was so alien to the real me. Gina changed as well, learning to open herself up a bit, becoming more human as a vampire than when she lived and breathed.
It didn’t occur to me until I sat down to write this blog that my path is more or less echoed in ReVamped. Gina, the girl whose most noble goal is to beautify the world, one person at a time, ends up having to go undercover as a goth…no color palette so speak of, more chains than a bike rack, and don’t even get her started on the shoes…. She’s sure she’ll have nothing in common with the goth gang, but they take to her instantly, particularly Ulric, who wants to be a whole lot more than her new BFF. She learns a lot of things, beyond what’s messing with the ley-lines and causing outbreaks of violence at her new school. She discovers that we’re all the same beneath our outer skins. Whether hair is shorn or dyed, spiked or gelled, whether flesh is pierced, tattooed or untouched, everybody shops. And whether you’re a biter or a bleeder, all life is precious.
You don’t necessarily have to start out writing what you know, but you do have to come to know that which you write. For me, familiarity didn’t breed contempt, but understanding and acceptance.
Special Note: one day left to participate in my mighty minions contest with a chance to win a Flip Video Camera or B&N gift card. Details are here! And tune in to Bitten by Books on September 15th for the virtual launch party for ReVamped and chance to win an iPod Nano with a special skin.