Is That What You’re Wearing? #amwriting

#4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, has hooked me on ANOTHER game. This one is called Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen, available for free for PC, Mac, and mobile devices. We play it on our phones. I’ve tagged this post #amwriting because — and Sara said it with me when I told her that — “Everything is about writing.”

Now, you must understand that, when we were each younger, we each hated shopping for clothes. Even now, I’d rather eat bark than pick out and try on clothes for realz.

HOWEVER, in Love Nikki–Dress UP Queen, you earn coins and stamina and diamonds and such by signing in and participating in challenges, and you use your coins and diamonds to buy clothes. To compete in challenges, you dress up your Nikki avatar according to a theme (Elegant Secretary, Fun on the Beach, etc.). You compete along the story line, or in the Stylist’s Arena. Or you enter a competition against other players.

And here’s where I come to my point (about time!). I’m not (generally speaking) a fan of hearing that your character “pulled on a straight black skirt cut above the knee, topped it with a long golden-yellow cable-knit sweater, went through her socks until she found the black silk with gold clocks, and stepped into her new black flats.” Thanks to Nikki, though, I begin to be more aware of what style choices say about a character. I begin to be more conscious of the importance of the differences in circumstances, events, and company have in how we choose to present ourselves, and how those choices affect the impression we make.

Since I’ve been playing Nikki, I’ve been more observant of other people’s clothing choices. Most people are just in the American uniform of jeans and a t-shirt with an advertisement on it. But an advertisement for what? What does that ad say about the person who wears it? Sometimes I ask, and sometimes the answer is, “I don’t know what this product is, I just liked the colors.”

In my imagination, though, the story could be more complex and more interesting.

Here are some of my Love Nikki outfits.

Sometimes, if a character isn’t talking to me, if a character just lies there, flat on the page, I jolt some life into them by visualizing something detailed about them. What’s their guilty eating pleasure? What do they drive; what do they wish they drove? And, yes, what do they wear to work, to play, to lounge around the house?

Love, Nikki will help with that, as do Pinterest and Polyvore.

PLU-UU-US, Andy Peterson, Editor-in-Chief of Fashionable, Inc., sent me a link to his website, Fashionable Hats. Hats for men and women! Hat stands! Hat cleaning supplies! I never thought of hat cleaning supplies! Think of a character with hats (or one beloved hat), with a hat stand for it and cleaning supplies! Derby hats! Cowboy hats! Pork pie hats! Sherlock Holmes hats! PITH HELMETS!

~whew~ So cool.

What’s your go-to place to visualize your characters?

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Pick one or more of my Nikkis, or one or more of Andy’s hats, and write a paragraph about the character the picture or hat suggests to you.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Is That What You’re Wearing? #amwriting

  1. Dan Antion

    August 14, 2017 at 11:10am

    Does the game include the “husband chair?” If not, I’d be shifting my weight from foot to foot the entire time it was running.

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  2. joey

    August 14, 2017 at 12:21pm

    One of my characters is an artist, so her clothes are VERY important, as she chooses them carefully.
    Like you, I hate shopping, especially trying things on, but what we wear is important to some people even when it’s not important to us. My standard uniform is denim, blouse, sandals and denim, sweater, boots. I don’t like to fuss and I like to look like a woman. What other people think is on them.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 15, 2017 at 8:17am

      Very true. That’s the context of the post’s title: How many times has my mother asked me that, with the implication that other people (or she) would think poorly of me in what I’m wearing?

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      • joey

        August 15, 2017 at 10:49am

        Right? What would the neighbors say? Ugh.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 15, 2017 at 8:12am

      How about Second Life, where you can spend real money on imaginary real estate — KNOWING it’s imaginary?

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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