USA Today Best of 2012

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dressing a character, by guest Stephanie Beck

Today I've got an awesome guest blogger, Stephanie Beck--author of the new Panties Optional.

Here's what Steph has for us:

When I was twenty-two my best friend took me shopping and very gently told me to quit dressing like a twelve year old boy. Looking back, I’m grateful for her intervention. T-shirts and jeans are fantastic and I still wear them all the time, but let’s just say...yeah things are better now.

Dressing characters is something I really have to think about because fashion to me isn’t that important. I know to some people, clothes really say a lot about a personality and I want the details to line up. A woman who wears long skirts and flowy blouses provides a softer feel. Piercings and tattoos give a completely different impression. That goes for men as well. The button up shirt, slacks vs. jeans, how they cut their hair—each detail adds another dimension.

Sometimes the clothes really mean something. If there’s been trauma a certain outfit or piece of clothing might be a comfort. It could add to a mask the character wears around others. Not wearing a certain item might signify freedom.

What a character wears or doesn’t wear can set a mood and tone of a story. Starting out by leaving the panties at home sets an immediate sexy scene where layering on long underwear, jeans, snow pants and parka...not so much.

Has a character ever had a style you wanted to emulate? A pair of shoes you really wanted?

Panties Optional-A One Night Stand Story by Stephanie Beck

Blurb: Maggie Chase has a wild night of passion planned with the help of Madame Evangeline’s dating service, 1NightStand. A single night with an incredible man, what more can a busy girl ask for?

Sam Peterson requests that Madame Evangeline help him find a woman who isn’t after him for his money. Maggie may just fit the bill, but with her list of fantasies in hand, she may be more than he bargained for.

Forever isn’t on either one of their minds, but maybe it doesn’t have to be.


“Maggie Chase?”

“That’s me,” she said, adjusting her purse higher on her shoulder. The big tote didn’t quite match her outfit, but the sexy clutch she preferred wouldn’t have held a change of clothes and her toothbrush.

“Follow me, please. Madame Evangeline has arranged for your caller to meet you in the lounge.”

Lounge. Which meant they were going to the super-fancy part of the Castillo. She loved how decadent she felt within the expensive, gorgeous walls of the hotel. Rare art and beautiful fabrics surrounded her at every corner. As an interior decorator, she recognized them for the treasures they were. Could they have held back on the gold plating? Sure, but it suited the hotel and Vegas lifestyle.

As they meandered through the crowd, Maggie wondered why she wasn’t more nervous. One-night stands and paid escorts never entered her normal strategies for getting laid. Not that she expected the guy waiting for her to be some gigolo, but still, hooking up with a stranger to get string-free sex should have felt at least a little wrong. And maybe it did. Maybe that little bit of naughty provided the catalyst making her so hot.

Her escort stopped short, and Maggie nearly tripped. She grabbed the booth end before she fell on her ass and embarrassed herself, while forcing her heels to stop before she impaled the poor man. The stilettos were tall and wickedly sharp. They were plain wicked, but that didn’t mean she wanted to draw blood with them.

“Mr. Peterson, allow me to introduce Ms. Chase. If either of you have a need, wave from here. I’ll be watching.”

With those instructions, the liaison walked away. Despite the dim light, Maggie could see the man across from her. A stranger. A hot stranger wearing a gray shirt too nice to be called casual but far from fussy. He stood and offered a hand, showing a slim-to-the-point-of-scrawny frame, but when he leaned forward, his face, lean like the rest of him, made her breath catch.

Panties Optional is also available from Amazon.


Sutton Fox said...

Funny, the first one that came to mind is from Nora's Face the Fire, part of the three sister's island trilogy. Mia Devlin was a magical woman and always wore silky flowing dresses or skirts, jewelry, and heels. So not me. But sometimes, I wish...and besides, she was tall. LOL!

Excellent post. I never thought much about the clothes, but you are spot on. Thanks for the great tip!

steph beck said...

Thanks for having me, Piper!

@Sutton I always wonder what it would be like to have the personality to fit with the flowy dresses and's just so not me!
Steph Beck

The Sweater Curse said...

Very interesting post. Clothes add layers to your characters.

Andrea said...

I enjoyed the post. Clothes do help set the scene.
The book sounds very interesting.


steph beck said...

Thanks for stopping by, Andrea and Leanne. I like how something as simple as the right wardrobe can give a character another angle of identity :)
Steph Beck

heather said...

I always like for the authors to give really good detail on what the characters are wearing. The same goes for the way they are sitting or standing, along with what they are doing with their hands. Great post :)

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