Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Jimmy Choo, who?!? Plus a book giveaway...
**Giveaway is now closed**
Lian Dolan is one of the five Satellite Sisters, a group of real sisters who started out with a radio show and website in 2001 and now connect with a blog, podcast, books, social media, personal appearances and an online community. They have won EIGHT Gracie Allen awards for excellence in women's media, including "Talk Show of the Year." Lian has written her first chick lit novel, "Helen of Pasadena"(reviewed here), and has come to Chick Lit Central to explain how to write about fashion without being fashion conscious. She has even given us one copy of "Helen of Pasadena" to give away to a lucky reader in the US or Canada.
If you like what you've read here, check out her Satellite Sisters website, book website and blog. You can also visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
How to Write a Fashionable Chick Lit Novel... even if You're Not!
When I sat down to start my first novel, Helen of Pasadena, there were many aspects of the writing that I had to worry about: plot; character development; dialogue, creating a hot love interest. But nothing terrified me more than getting one of the essentials of chick lit right: The Accessories.
I’m not part of the Shoe & Handbag crowd here in my hometown of Pasadena. I covet other women’s Tory Burch flats, but I don’t buy them. If I had my druthers, I’d wear clogs to every event and still carry a back-pack with all my stuff. Maybe it’s disinterest or maybe it’s my bunions. Either way, I was in no position to write with authority on any aspect of fashion. My knowledge of designer clothes is only slightly more evolved than my knowledge of designer footwear. In order to make up for my Jimmy Choo deficit, I used a three-pronged approach to getting the style details right in my book:
Made Conversation: In the past, I’d never lean over to another mom and say,“ Oh, I love those shoes. Who are they?” because if those shoes couldn’t be sold in a European Comfort Shoe store, I didn’t care. But once I started writing Helen, I needed some fancy footwear, at least on the page. So I asked! At soccer games, PTA meetings, on the way back from communion. And women spilled! I even made some new friends! Because, “Oh, I love your shoes!” is the magic phrase for many women.
Read the Paper: I tried to study fashion magazine for everything from evening wear to belts, but I found the sheer volume of ads overwhelming. And, how could I decide which brands were chic and which brands simply had large ad budgets, but no real class. So, I decided to let the New York Times do the winnowing process for me. Everyday in the New York Times (or your city newspaper), there are ads on pages 2 and 3, just inside in the front section. These ads feature high- end luxury products with just the right pedigree. On Sunday, the style section is a bonanza of fashion advertising.
Found Myself a Rachel Zoe: Maybe I don’t dress like a celebrity stylist, but I have a friend who does. I admire Sally’s fashion bravado when it comes to clothes, even though I could never wear a single item she puts on with ease. So, I enlisted Sally to be my stylist for the book! We’d go out on our walks, and I’d ask, “Hey, Sal. What do you think a mid-fifties, divorced real estate would wear?” And Sally responded, “A Dana Buchman suit in winter white.” Or, I’d say, ‘Hey, Sal, I need the perfect evening gown for a Greek- themed charity benefit seen. Any thoughts? And Sally piped up, “Vintage Mary McFadden!” What a friend. Her only payment was acknowledgement in the book!
So, if you’re in the midst of writing your own Chick Lit novel and face a fear of fashion, use my three-pronged approach and relax. We can all be fashionable...on paper!
Special thanks to Lian for teaching us how to "fake" our fashion knowledge and also for the book for our giveaway!
How to win "Helen of Pasadena":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)
1. Please tell us: In what ways are you not fashion conscious?
2. Please tell us: What have you had to fake knowledge about in order to impress someone?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Monday, February 14th at midnight EST