Tagged with "creative writing"
Hair, it's our Crowning Glory Tags: creative writing hair fictional characters human hair trade Emma Tarlo hair in fiction

At least thatís what women are led to believe from an early age and the beauty industry is more than happy to divest us of our money in pursuit of that ideal. Iíve been thinking about fictional charactersí hair a lot recently. In films and novels Caucasian women often have character-defining hair. Black; witchy and duplicitous, red; fiery and vivacious; blonde; angelic or tarty, brown; plain and intelligent, grey/white; wise and intellectual, curly; unpredictable and bubbly, straight; cool and calculating. This left me with a dilemma because I was struggling to choose the hair colour and type of my young, female protagonist, but I didnít want to push her into any of those stereotypes.

In a Tangle

So I began to tackle the problem in a circuitous way and by happy accident discovered the fascinating, non-fiction book, Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair by Emma Tarlo. Now, like you, I knew that both men and women can need wigs for a variety of medical, cosmetic or religious reasons but I had no idea of the global, largely covert, billion-dollar trade in the procurement and processing of human hair into wigs and extensions. Sourcing hair generally starts in third world countries. Some women sell their hair to barbers for a short-lived respite from poverty in China, India, Myanmar and Pakistan. On the other side of the world, relatively wealthy women choose to boost their income by selling their hair directly to the client via the Buy and Sell Hair website. The reasons for sale are as various as the hair types on offer. Hindus have their hair tonsured in Indian temples as a way of showing thanks, or to seek rebirth; indeed the vast temple of Tirumala acts as a magnet for pilgrims drawing people and hair from all over India. Each year the tonsured hair adds around 20 million pounds to the templeís coffers.

Giveaway Hair

Sometimes, hair donation is purely altruistic as in the recent case of the Duchess of Cambridge donating seven inches of her locks to the Little Princesses Trust for children and young adults who have lost their hair through cancer treatment. How bizarre to think that a sick child somewhere will be wearing our future Queen consortís hair. Truly a crowning glory! The hair is sorted anonymously so no one will ever know that their wig contains Kateís tresses.

Decisions, Decisions

While all these hair stories make fascinating reading, it isnít taking me nearer a solution in my writing dilemma! What it does show me though is how important this decision is and how much identity and status are invested in luscious locks or lack thereof. Would Dennis the Menace be as naughty without his black, unruly mop? Could Heathcliff have been blonde? Could Pippi Longstocking have had mousey-coloured hair? Would Bond villain, Blofeld, have been as menacing if he werenít bald? How do you decide your charactersí hair colour and type? Can you think of fictional characters defined by their hair? Iíd love to hear your thoughts.

Keeping Track of Time Tags: creative writing timelines writing tools

Keeping track of time in any genre of writing can be a little like blowing on a dandelion or licking your finger to see which way the wind is blowing. I've struggled to keep tabs in my historical novels, often spending hours and hours sifting through my manuscripts with bits of paper and dates hoping that I'm making some sort of sense with the timeline. There are several systems or tools to help with this particular issue and here are three that I've used.

  • Good Old Fashioned Paper Calendar

I'm a paper and ink girl first and foremost and this was a method I used for some time in the beginning. Creating a calendar for events that happened in the past isn't difficult with word processing tools or even if you have to draw the lines yourself. It can become a bit messy if hand made, unless you write in pencil then events are difficult to change. But it's a tool nevertheless. I've used Time and Date calendar which also allows you to select a country and therefore highlights any critical events that may also help.

  • Excel Spreadsheet

I progressed from a paper timeline purely because it didn't really cut the mustard especially with long timelines that existed over several years, or even months. Understanding what time of year it is in your story line can be quite critical especially if you are using the weather, for example, to deepen the subtext. There are plenty of templates around, this one is nice and simple. Even so, I'm not a great Excel user, my brain isn't mathematical enough to even begin to understand it and it still didn't give me the detail I wanted.

  • Aeon Timeline Software

This is my new toy! I've secretly yearned to own this piece of software which has transformed my battle with timelines into an experience that is pleasurable (and possible yet another excuse for procrastination...) When I came across a deal a couple of weeks ago offering this at half price I couldn't stop myself. It's so intuitive and easy to use. You can create characters, events and story arcs within a timeline in the past, present or future. Over a long period of time or just within days. If you write in fantasy, you can create your own calendars with different days, months, years, adjust the length of any measurement of time and allow yourself to create a whole new world. And, if you use Scrivener, it syncs your work, so that any changes you make in either will be reflected in the other.† What's not to like?

So how do you track time in your writing?

This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: writers abroad creative writing expat writers

What's New This Week?

  • Vanessa has raised the fact that every time a blog post gets published automatically to FB, her image is sometimes used. I have tried to change things via Networked Blogs but if you use an image at the beginning of the post this should be selected...
  • Dianne has written the Blog post this week about plot and where to start your story. Some interesting points about doing things a little differently.
  • Lesley is providing the inspiration through the Monday Muses with some fab prompts, one very close to her heart and some great pictures. Loving the monkey one!
  • Both Crilly and Alyson have risen to the August Challenge... not too late to post something!
  • Where to begin on the Bragging Stool? The Ad Hoc'ers have done it again; Sue, Crilly, Angela, Chris and Laura. Sue also has achived first place in a poetry competition in the Writing Magazine, Jill has a secret to tell, but not yet and has been longlisted in the I Must Be Off comp, Alyson came third in Morgan Baileys 100 word competition and made the long list of the Exeter Creative Writing Matters comp... phew! We need a sofa, not a stool! Congrats to all and shout out if I've missed anyone.
  • Content required for the WA Mag Issue 7 has been posted in the Magazine forum. Filling up nicely. Deadline for copy is September 30th
  • And finally, the Formal Chat is this Sunday at 4pm, Agenda will be winging its way to you shortly.
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The House at Zaronza
tagged: writers, abroad, vanessa, couchman, historical, and fiction
Love is All You Need: Ten tales of love from The Sophie King Prize
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Out of Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, croft, members, and publications
The Duke's Shadow
tagged: the, duke-s, shadow, louise, charles, debut, and novel
Foreign & Far Away
tagged: writers, abroad, amanda, hodkinson, books, charity, anthology, 2013...
Losing Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
Enchantment
tagged: nina, croft, writes, and abroad
Conversations with S. Teri O'Type
tagged: writers, abroad, christopher, and allen
Break Out
tagged: writers, abroad, ninca, and croft
Deadly Pursuit
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
The Calling
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
Big Book of New Short Horror
tagged: featuring, wa, member, alyson, and hillbourne
Tiger of Talmare
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft

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