The Fashion Police: What Matters In Writing
I’ve heard critics complain that authors of Young Adult and New Adult books drone on and on about what each and every character is wearing. These critics cut down our books as mindless dribble that wastes words on telling readers that the character has on a blue shirt.
I disagree with those know-it-all haters who make these claims. In the world of YA and NA, fashion choices can be important in the story. Admittedly, there are times that the mention of what the character has on offers nothing but a few extra words.
However, many times the mention of the character’s ripped jeans and Metallica T-shirt is a way to convey the personality and likes of the character.
Still other times, clothing plays a key role in the story. Think of The Selection. Even the covers of that series are about what the main character wears.
In Cloven, I have one particular dress that becomes an important player in the story. It’s a dress that Anya is forced to wear to meet Lucifer. Here’s a snippet of the scene:
Within minutes, Iona has my hair pulled up and the pink ribbon tied to my head like a headband. “We’d best get you dressed, Miss.” She finds a strapless bra and a pair of lacy underwear in a drawer. As I slip them on, she unties the dress bag.
Yards of puffy, pink tulle leach from the white bag. When she pulls out the dress, the ruffles slide out like a man-eating flower searching for a meal.
“I’m not wearing that thing.” When I go into the bathroom to get my clothes, Micah stands up from the tub. The sight of him naked and dripping with water knocks the wind out of me. I look away and snatch my dirty clothes off the floor. When I return to the bedroom, Iona is wringing her hands.
“You can take that thing back to Dahlia.”
“Oh, no, please. She’ll have me beaten if you’re not dressed when she’s ready to leave.”
I throw my dirty pants and cammy on the bed. “I’m wearing my own clothes.”
“No. I beg you.” Iona’s face loses its color. “Please put on the pretty dress. It belonged to the mistress in the Kingdom of Heaven. She’s being quite generous to allow you to wear it.”
The desperate look on Iona’s face tugs at my heart. I don’t want to get her in trouble. I’m sure Dahlia will have her beaten if I don’t put on the dress. I glare at the giant pink monstrosity spilled on the floor. It’s the ugliest dress I’ve ever seen. “How do I get that thing on?”
She unbuttons the back and opens the dress for me to step into it. When she lifts it up my body and buttons it, I can feel the hideous thing eating away at my self-esteem.
Micah walks in the room, dressed in the white button down shirt and black pants. His face expresses my sentiments. “That dress is …” He looks down to button his shirt. “I don’t have the words to describe it.”
His reaction is the cherry on top of the ugly gown.
Micah makes his way to me and takes my hand. “I’ve seen the elders dress this way. They always receive the highest compliments.”
I step away from him, hold out my arms and spin around, causing the ruffles to fluff out even more. “Okay,” I say, stumbling to stay on two feet. “I want to hear an honest compliment.”
He hesitates then smiles the way a bearer of bad news does. “The color flatters you.”
I want to fall to the floor and hibernate in the mound of pink ruffles.
“Honestly, Anya, you’re beautiful.”
“Just because we’re in Hell doesn’t mean you should start lying.”
“I would never lie.” He’s as sincere as he is breathtakingly handsome. “You are beautiful.”
I run my finger under the scratchy, high lace collar. “She picked this on purpose to make me look like an idiot.” When the long, sheer sleeve of the dress catches on the sparking stones adorning the neckline, Iona rushes to help me free the fabric. “Miss, please be careful. The mistress has been saving this dress for a special occasion.”
Within this short scene, the dress became a character. Not only does it add humor to the story, it also gives away information about the woman who gave it to Anya.
Critics can say what they want, but I know not all YA/NA authors are mindlessly adding description of the characters’ clothes because we have nothing better to say. Sometimes what the character’s wearing is an important part of the story.
Be sure to click on my Pinterest page to see the inspiration for the dress Anya is forced to wear. Then let me know if you would have said YES to that dress.
by Georgeann Swiger
(The Trinity of Series)
What would you do if the only things standing between you and the angel you love were another angel and the fiery pits of Hell?
When Anya and Micah declare their love for each other, the battle for the souls of the star-crossed angels stretches across the heavens. With Heaven forbidding their love, Micah vows to protect Anya by sentencing himself to Hell.
But Anya won’t let him go without a fight. She goes into Hell after him, only to discover an angel from Micah’s past is willing to do anything to keep Micah in Hell.
With love and lies blinding Micah, Anya fights to get him to face his demons and return to Heaven, even if it means hearts will be broken.
The battle for the angels begins where it left off. Between Heaven and Hell is forbidden love.
Published: 21st October 2014
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23164435-cloven
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NSC1VPK?tag=penandmus-20
About the Author:
Georgeann Swiger earned her degree in journalism from West Virginia University, and then spent five years as an anchor/reporter at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, WV. After having children, she left television news to be a stay at home mom. During that time, she discovered creative writing was more fun than writing about real life tragedy. Imagining interesting character and having them come to life on the page is now her passion. When she’s not writing, she works as a substitute teacher. She lives in Reedsville, West Virginia with her husband, two kids, a beagle dog and a temperamental cat who tries to rule the house.
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“What are you two doing?” The deep voice coming from the hallway sends a happy
tremor through my body. I jump to my feet to run to Micah, but I’m stopped by the
piercing pain of glass going through my foot. I look down to see blood trickling on the
floor. When I sit on the couch to pull out the shard, Kieran and Emory hover around me.
“Why are you in my room?” Micah asks, angrily.
Kieran and Emory move to the side to give Micah a direct line to me. I look up and his gaze grabs mine. We stare at one another, caught in a wordless hello. Small expressions run over his face, telling me he’s relieved, happy, confused.
“Leave us,” he says quietly without looking away from me.
Kieran and Emory hurry out of the room, shutting the door behind them. Micah closes his eyes. He takes a deep breath, bows his head and mutters something under his breath. When he looks up, he stares at me in disbelief. He doesn’t seem to notice the glass crunching under his feet as he steps toward me. His lips quiver, trying to form words that won’t come.
The fire crackles and pops behind him. Micah’s eyes glisten while he studies my shaking hand, reaching for him. My hand finds his, linking our fingers together. The strong beat of his pulse thumps in his trembling fingers. I step cautiously to the floor, avoiding the glass. When I’m eye level with him, his pupils flicker. As soon as I open my mouth to tell him how much I missed him, he pulls me to his body and covers my mouth with his. Every pent up emotion is released the second he kisses me. I don’t know where this Micah came from. His mouth claims mine without reservation or fear of repercussions. I fall into his embrace, enjoying every bit of the intensity of the kiss that tells me he missed me as much as I missed him. The tension in his body falls away as his hands travel through my hair and down my back, over my hips and up my sides like he’s making sure I’m real. I’m real, Micah, I want to say but I don’t want to stop kissing him. The taste of his lips brings to life the forbidden feelings I’m done hiding. I can’t get enough of him.