Fiction & Fashion

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky
Recently I was browsing through pinterest, looking for images that would help to crystallise my ideas for my main characters and the elemental world they inhabit. About half an hour into this exercise, I realised that I was increasingly drawn to fashion pins – and that got me thinking, how important is fashion to a fictional identity?
In more visual media – television, film, games – fashion is a very distinct and defining feature; think Dean Winchester, Queen Amidala or Lara Croft…. (I really hope you all came back to finish reading this post after feasting on all of that eye candy…) 🙂
But books? How does fashion help to define a character? Aren’t their thoughts and actions and relationships better vehicles for understanding and relating to them?
It may seem easy to pass off fashion as frivolous, but think about how you and your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues dress. Fashion – from the clothes we wear, the jewellery that adorns us and the tattoos that are inked into us – is our primary statement about how we want the world to see us. In any given day, we may speak to a handful of people, we will share our innermost thoughts with even less – but with our fashion choices we speak to everyone who sees us.  Our choices scream our individuality (or lack thereof), our confidence levels, our mood, our personality.
Romance novelists understand this (either that, or just love to express their own fashion fetishes) – and many use it to emphasise particular character elements or create another personality layer. But fashion references (subtle or otherwise) need not be exclusive to one genre – I think it has a lot to offer speculative fiction as well.
Yes, steampunk and cyberpunk come already with their fashion milieu, but utopian and dystopian fiction can also utilise the power of fashion. Both utopian and dystopian worlds are strongly visual in their narrative – particularly in an architectural sense – and I think this opens up an opportunity to extend this design element to fashion. Like landscape description – strategic placement and relevance is key – but done well, fashion could provide another avenue through which we come to know our most loved (and hated) characters…
Fiction & Fashion

Writing Inspiration

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Sometimes I find it easy to get overwhelmed by the task in front of me. Surrounded by the complex characters and sublime worlds of my favourite books, I wonder if it is delusion and hubris to think that I can claim the title author. Recently in my search for advice to new authors, I came across this great blog post that shared tips from famous authors to new and emerging writers. This one I particularly loved:

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman

I love it because it says to me – you don’t have to be one of the great writers, you just have to contribute your unique voice.

Writing Inspiration

Space vs Place

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Hello and welcome to my very own piece of online space – my writing place. If you want to learn more about me, please check out my brief bio here. As a long time lover of books and emerging independent fiction author, this place will serve as the ship I captain across the dark oceans and calming waters of writing and word craft.

Having a place is important. In his book, Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces, Jon Anderson notes that, “Places are at once the medium and the message of cultural life. They are where cultures, communities and people root themselves and give themselves definition. Places then are saturated with cultural meaning” (p37). He goes on to suggest that, “Spaces are scientific, open and detached; places are intimate, peopled and emotive…Place then is the counterpoint of space: places are politicised and cultured; they are humanised versions of space. It is from the empty abstraction of space that different cultures take and make place” (p.38) (my emphasis).

The critical difference between space vs place is at the forefront of both a) the online place I co-create here with all of you and b) the fictional spaces and places my characters inhabit in my books. Undoubtedly, both will be influenced and shaped by the other.

And this, I believe, is what makes great fiction – an ambiguous and messy synthesis between the real world of the author and the alternative reality of the author’s mind….

What books or pieces of literature do you think provide a genuine and authentic sense of place? Let me know your thoughts…

Space vs Place