The Great Big Jump Presents: Nominated – The Polyvore Version

This post is brought to you by Claire Packard and Michael Grenoble.

Copyright by Stella M.Torres, 2012. Protected by a Creative Commons License for Attribution-Non-Commercial Use.
I had the chance to re-read Nominated again last week, in an attempt to pinpoint a few things that could help in improving the story. I tend to be more critical than most when it comes to re-reading my old drafts, so I wasn’t surprised to see that most of my problems come from the character of Claire; she’s not meant to be a saint by any means, but there were times when I would read a scene and think, “Good gravy, this poor woman is way too annoying to live.”
It’s telling, because Claire is supposed to be the hub of the whole enterprise; it’s through her viewpoint that we will get to know Michael, along with everybody else along the periphery. And still, there’s too much expository dialogue; we never get to see what makes her tick as an investigative reporter, let alone what she really thinks of Mike’s acting. 
So I did what I would do for a troubled female protagonist like her: examine her purse* on Polyvore.

*A genius idea that I borrowed from Indigo Grace, which I’ll also attribute to the awesome critique partner who suggested this to her. Thank you, ladies!

mama's bag

Having worked with TV news folks in one of my past lives in Honolulu, I’ve learned that most reporters are required to carry everything that they will need in case news breaks out and they have to report on-camera at a moment’s notice. (See also: this video of Emilynoel83’s TV makeup routine.) I would imagine, then, that Claire’s own definition of “essential” may be overwhelming to others, regardless of whether or not she’s actually on camera.

Which brings the question: If the “essentials” of Claire’s life are tied to her job, what happens to them when her job is taken away from her?

Essential #1: The technology. Like many journalists, Claire needs a reliable phone that she could use on the fly to send text messages. I would imagine that a Blackberry would be helpful for this because it has an honest-to-goodness QWERTY keyboard instead of a touch screen, which could pose problems if you press the wrong button or find your texts getting auto-corrected for spelling. That BB, in turn, needs a stylish case that can also hold her IDs, credit cards, press passes, and keys. The crown jewel of her arsenal, though, would be her iPad; she might not agree with the twee pink cover here (eek!) but   the ‘Pad is the first thing she reaches for when she meets Mike for dinner and asks him for a schedule. Aside from the record-keeping and web-searching functions on the iPad, it also acts as an impromptu video player (in case she needs to show people that YouTube video of Mike singing “Let’s Get It On”) and an excellent console for playing Angry Birds in HD.

Essential #2: The makeup. Claire strikes me as the kind of person who has to, has to have a case for everything, and her makeup is no exception. Since she doesn’t have to be on-camera as much as she used to, she can now get away with wearing a little less makeup: pressed powder and blotting papers to keep the shine down, a bronzer to warm up her skin, maybe some lip gloss for kicks. There are, however, a few things that don’t go along with everything else: MAC’s Russian Red lipstick, for starters, looks like something that she may have worn on that dinner date with Mike, and kept with her since; is this her way of telling herself that she’s too good for him? Likewise with that Juicy Couture fragrance: I’m not saying that she’s too old to wear this, but maybe she just grabbed it at Sephora – not so much because she liked the scent (though I think Viva La Juicy smells nice), but because she just needed something, anything, to remind her not to fall apart? And while having contact lenses on hand is understandable, she often ends up in situations where she practically sleeps in them… which means that, somehow, I’ll have to let her wear her glasses.

Essential #3: The accessories. I have my doubts that Claire is the kind of person who will pay full price for anything; if she does, it would have to serve the double purpose of being stylish and practical, like the Marc by Marc Jacobs hobo bag and the Cole Haan wristlet shown here. I also understand that she would still carry her sunglasses around to keep her eyes shielded from the sun, but I could also see her wearing them for whatever kind of cloak-and-dagger shenanigans that she wants to pull off.

Therefore, she is… Deeply troubled, and unable to see the forest for the trees. Whether it’s her past with Mike or her job as a reporter, Claire tends to hold on to a lot of things that she no longer needs. At the beginning, it seems like she has lost a part of herself because of her unemployment, and going into this strange agreement with Mike is no better than jumping off a freeway. Yet, it’s that “agreement” with Mike that will bring her back to life, so to speak, because it will test everything she knows about friendship, loyalty, and self-worth. And that, in turn, will teach her the meaning of love.

Revisions, therefore, are forthcoming. 

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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