Monday, 24 March 2014

Hat love...

I've just written a few lines in which a man is searching for his hat, only to be told that a small dog has run off with it. The scene is set in 1788 so the man's lost hat looks like this...

Only - now that I think of it, the story takes place in pre-revolutionary France, so there would've been a cockade in colours indicating the man's political affiliations (probably the dog had royalist leanings and so ate the cockade altogether...)

It reminded me of a similar few lines I'd written in a previous book, when a regency gentleman is wearing a hat so high it is blown from his head in a gale and caught by another man who favours a more countrified shallow crown (and whose opinion of gentlemen in overly-fashionable hats is not high...)

Then, when I'd noticed the coincidence, I realised I've actually named one of my contemporary characters Hat-man Dan because he is never seen without his hat. Only when he's really upset and his whole life is at the point of falling apart, does he remove his hat (he uses it to mop up his tears!) 
His hat looks like this... 

I had no idea I was so interested in (or fond of) hats. I never wear one myself. Because not many people do. And besides, I have the wrong shaped forehead.

A while ago, I read one of Laini Taylor's blog posts about coming across motifs in your writing. I can't find the post to link to it (you should read all her posts anyway - they're brilliant!) and neither can I remember which themes recurred in her writing, but I think she was surprised by one or two of them.

So, my surprise motif appears to be hats. 
Less surprising things I've included in both my books are mysterious paintings, secret tunnels and old buildings (the first book is set in a haunted castle by the sea - the second in a ch√Ęteau that burns down during the Revolution). I've also noticed that quite a few of my characters suffer from facial injuries which change the way that other people see them and in turn, the way they themselves behave. Although this wasn't a conscious agenda, my own face was paralysed half a dozen years ago, so I'm aware it's something that interests me. I've also included several cases of mistaken identity - people wearing masks or costumes and pretending to be other people, so this might be linked to that too. Or it might just be something that's really good fun to write. 

I'm almost at the end of my historical (French Revolution) storyline now and I've built up a collection of photos that help me with the mood I'm trying to create in my story. They're mostly from Sophia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette - which is one of the prettiest films ever made. The pictures are of frou-frou dresses, tumbly wigs, candy-coloured shoes and cake - all unapologetically girly. And - yes - I'm afraid I have been making more collages...

As for my contemporary storyline, the only plot-note I've made reads 'Add brilliant ending here.'
Right. OK. Finishing this one's probably going to take me a while then...  Au revoir!


  1. Bonjour! Hats eh! I wish I could wear a hat, they look so sophisticated (read cool!) on other people but on me they just look like I've got a plant pot stuck on my head! Got me thinking about reoccurring themes though - for me it has to be forests/trees. They seem to feature a lot in one way or another in my writing.

    Love all those girly colours. I take my hat off to you!
    Happy writing x

  2. Ooooh - yes - trees! I didn't notice that one - but I've got people wandering through forests in both books too (probably a result of my Robin Hood obsession.)

    And as for taking your hat off to me...I believe I've had to speak sternly to you about these kinds of puns before *High Court judge face*

    1. And there's me thinking you wouldn't notice *hangs head* (and smirks!)


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