Sparkle in… Sequins

There is a great quandary that faces most sparkle-holics (and wanna be sparkle-holics as well) –  how do you get that shimmer and sparkle without being gaudy? With the holiday season in full swing now, I’ve decided to broach some tips on how to achieve this starting with trend of sequins.

Sequins are back. If you’ve done any shopping lately you’ve probably seen them in several places and styles. Unfortunately, as we all know, they can easily be overdone turning into 80s flashback mode. Nobody wants this.

To avoid looking like your hair needs another 10 lbs. of hairspray, keep in mind two things.
1) Sequins are best paired with solids, not more sequins or other shiny things. Depending on what you are dressing for this could mean jeans, a cotton blend or even a satin – preferably unembellished.
2) With your jewelry, keep in mind that too much bling is not the thing and proximity is queen.

For our first example…

A night out with the girls

sequin tank paired with trouser jeans, canvas military jacket, earrings and ring
Sequin Tank, DKNY – $125
The Slim Trouser Jeans, 7 for All Mankind – $198
Military Jacket, Willow & Clay – $60
Wound Up Ring, lia sophia – $40
Cutting Edge Earrings in Hematite, lia sophia – $28

When I originally went hunting for a jacket to go with this look I was thinking of blazer, probably of the boyfriend style. Then I came across this Willow & Clay jacket and what can I say? I’m a sucker for military styling.

Why did I choose these items to go with the tank? A little sparkle goes a long way. The structure of trouser jean and jacket not only balance the brightness of the sequins, but they also give them more of a modern edge. Because of the detailing on the jacket I refrained from adding a necklace, but instead kept to the textured hematite earrings and silver ring. Both pieces have character and that modern edge but don’t compete for the spotlight.

PS Mixing metals is in (they’re all neutrals), but if you’re not quite up for it yet, check out the Matte Gold Textured Earrings and Sophia Ring as a golden alternative.

Now for something a bit dressier…

ombre sequin cardigan paired with jersey dress, necklace and ring

Dixon Ombre Sequin Cardigan, Velvet – $196
Sable Scoop Neck Dress, Velvet – $128
Beyond Reversible Necklace, lia sophia – $35
Cluster Ring, lia sophia – $125

I actually stumbled across this cardigan while looking for a jacket for the tank and had to include it. I love that it was paired with a simple black jersey dress. It really makes the cardigan pop.

Continuing with the a little sparkle goes a long way theme, both the necklace and ring are simple but interesting pieces that add to the look without creating competition for the eyes. Another option would be to drop the necklace for ear candy like the Ink Spot or Studded Pyramid Linear Earrings

Next up – Velvet.

NaNoWriMo: Going for the finish

Three more days. Wow. This month has just flown past. At least it has for me.

Entering into these last few days the pressure is on to get those last words in before midnight on the 30th, but perhaps the inspiration just is not there.

Sometimes our characters reveal some facet that gets the creative juices flowing. My MC (main character) just revealed that he is, in fact, a spymaster in training. As the fourth son of a king it is not as if he is actually expected to ever take the throne. This one fact gives me a whole patch of raw material I can dip my fingers into, no, grasp whole-handedly to help make up my word count gap.

This is not always the case though, so here are a few other ideas of great things that can help your word count. Most of them can even provide you with helpful insights into your characters.

Describe an important place or character.

We have all read one of those stories where the writer just got a bit too caught up in their adjectives and descriptions. I am always reminded of The Scarlet Letter and that entire chapter devoted to a parade. That in mind, these descriptions may not make draft two or three, but the information is still good to have for reference so go ahead and give those characters and places some fine descriptive text.

Write a flashback.

Again, this may or may not end up staying in, but choose an important point in your characters life previous to your storyline and have them remember it. Maybe it is the death of parents like Bruce Wayne’s memories in Batman or a first love or even the first time the character ever had dark chocolate. Sometimes those little moments can be life altering.

Flesh out a conversation.

I do not know about you, but when I write out a conversation a lot of times I do a good bit of dialog and only put in the most important actions and emotions of my characters because I am more concerned with the flow of conversation then the rest at that moment. Putting the rest of it in there is not only helpful to getting the full feeling of the conversation but it also can add a nice bit to your word count.

Daydream.

If flashbacks help to see where your characters are coming from, daydreams help to show where they wish to go. Both are important.

The steamy scene.

This is something of a running joke in our region. Need words? Follow in the footsteps of a lot of those well known romance authors. One of our writers told me a few weeks ago that in a previous NaNo she got 5,000 words that way. Another told me she had done it but would never be able to show it to her mother and it was going away in her first revision. With as much as we joke about it I could not help but put in it the list.

Any other hot tips for word counts? Feel free to share them below.

NaNoWriMo: Filling in the Gaps

NaNoWriMo Web Badge

We’ve sailed past the halfway mark now and landed at just about every point along the writing path. Some have already hit their goal for this month, some are behind and some are just where they planned on being.

Good job to all you Wrimos still going for the goal (or having already surpassed it)! No matter where you end up at the end of the month in word count you’re a winner as long as you don’t give up. Life happens to us all. I know it certainly has happened for me this month.

On to tips for week three.

Hopefully at this point you’ve got an idea of where your plot is headed. If not, stop reading this post and take care of that. For everyone else, there’s a good chance that unless you are a strictly chronological writer you’ve done a bit of skipping around. Not necessarily massive leaps across the storyline, but smaller scenes that add to the overall story without being major plot points have been left in the dust of your writing.

Now is the time to revisit those and, no, I don’t mean edit them. Instead I am talking about those conversations that are all dialog and no context or the battle that is all clanging swords and no emotion. Be aware of your pacing in these places – don’t bog it down – but don’t leave them as bare bones either.

Other gaps may be between major scenes. Your MCs (main characters) rushed off from one major mess into another. Is there room for a quiet night in the journey to contrast the rushing with something a little different? Contrast is as important in writing as it is in any other art. Without the dark, would we know what light is? If everything is full of sorrow, how can we know that happiness is even possible? Of course, the reverse of all of those is true as well.

So, if you’re in need of a little inspiration, take a few minutes and review – not edit! – your story thus far to find the unfinished gems you may have missed in the initial writing rush.

Previous NaNoWriMo posts

Character Chaos
NaNoWriMo: Week One – Don’t Panic
NaNoWriMo: Preparation
NaNoWriMo: 5 Reasons I Choose to NaNo
NaNoWriMo: It’s not as crazy as you think

NaNoWriMo: Character Chaos

NaNoWriMo web badge

“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.”
W M Thackeray (1811-1863) Novelist (via @Quotes4Writers)

I completely agree with Thackeray. There are a thousand thoughts lying around we’re not aware of until the pen hits the… well,  the fingers hit the keyboard. In fact, some of them you aren’t even aware of until they’ve already poured out onto the page. Which brings us to the issue of recalcitrant characters.

Any NaNo author will confirm that once you get past that first week or so of writing your characters start to truly become themselves – even if its not the self you had in mind. They fall in love with the wrong person. They murder. They die. They decide to be a mystery instead of a romance (or vice versa). They start quests that never had anything to do with the plot points that you set out for them.

When this occurs you really only have two options:

1. Put them in their place.

You are the author. If you don’t like where the characters are taking you then rein them in and make them go the way you want them to. Mark that rebellious bit in red so that you know to come back and ax it later. They’ll learn their place soon enough.

2. Roll with it.

While some characters just have delusions of grandeur, others will open you up to whole new awesome and amazing plot lines that you never even conceived of before they showed up on your page. These you keep.

It really comes down to whether those character changes are going to enrich your story or detract from it.

P.S. If people start looking at your funny because you talk about your characters like they have minds of their own it’s okay. There’s no 12-step program for it, but your local write-in is a great place to find support for it.

NaNoWriMo: Week One – Don’t Panic

Don't Panic illustrative image

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Douglas Adams

Week One. Day Three. Far less words than I should have.

A few years ago I might have panicked at my current word count, but as a fifth year participant I am here to tell you it will all be okay.

See, there are still 27 days left and while I know that some will be as crazy as these last couple, I also know that there will be plenty of them that will not be. I’ve also learned that given a free afternoon and some quiet I can turn out 5,000 words fairly easily.

Other concerns not worth panicking over at this point:
– Plot holes
– Under-developed characters
– Editing (Got that? NO EDITING!)
– Impromptu character appearances
– Etc.

These things are all normal. Really, unless you main character died of a horrible accident yesterday or you already have a major unintentional paradox on page 3 things aren’t that bad. Even those things aren’t worth wasting precious energy panicking over.

Instead, take a deep breath, drink some nice warm tea and contemplate the best next step in your characters’ journey. Now type. One word. Another. Keep going. It will happen and remember, every word you type is one more word down than you had before.

If you’d like a little more impetus to help your word count, I hear a lot about ‘Write or Die‘ which will start deleting words if you take too long of a break from typing. If that sounds a bit too stressful, there’s also @nanowordsprints on twitter and, of course, attending a local (or online) write in. Sure, there will be some conversing, but those 10 and 15 minute word wars can do wonders for your word count.

Most of all – Don’t Panic.