Straight-Leg Jeans are not MY Staple

 Straight-leg jeans aren’t a trend, they’re a staple.

I recently ran this magazine quote by my husband, lamenting the fact that I have yet to find straight-leg jeans that flatter me.

His response? “The minute they say something’s a staple, a new must-have item will come out.”

He’s right–I’ve already seen a baby bell-bottom backlash.

What does my obsession with French chic and the perfect pair of straight-legs have to do with writing? you may ask.

The point is that for me, straight-leg jeans will not ever be a staple. I might not ever look as French as I’d like to (though I can rock a scarf, people!). And sometimes, just sometimes, we do the same things to our characters, trying to fit them into molds where they don’t fit.

This often happens mid-book, when you find one of your secondary characters has become far more important than you thought, and you cannot get him/her to quiet down. Or when you figure out that your MC is going to mess up, royally, and you hadn’t even planned that twist yet.

We have to let our characters breathe.

I know that sounds like some kind of writerly mumbo-jumbo. But you can plot and plan and get all your ducks in a row, and then realize that your character is totally irritating in some way. Or perhaps unrealistic, and thus boring, in his/her perfection. That’s when we need to step in and make that character real!

The coolest thing about humans is that beauty comes in so many shapes and sizes. So do characters. Embrace that slightly psychotic character; find the truth in his sputtered words. Or make us feel sorry for that perfectionist who has to make everything just-so. Have your MC fall for someone whose teeth aren’t gleaming white and professionally straightened.

And keep wearing those boot-cut jeans, if you aren’t a straight-leg kinda gal.

9 thoughts on “Straight-Leg Jeans are not MY Staple

  1. LOL. I sort of did a blog post on skinny jeans just a few days ago. I like how you tied the theme to developing character. Just because I'm not a skinny jeans girl, doesn't mean I can't have a character who squeezes into a pair.

  2. Hi Heather. How often do we try to make our boot-cut words fit into straight-leg expectations? I am trying to stick to the mantra of being true to thyself – authenticity before conformity – passion before popularity, etc. And yet it can be such a challenge! I'm not even sure what I write – I just enjoy it. We can so easily start thinking that it's not worthy to be posted – to be shared with others -that it's too simplistic or lacking in sophistication. I have been encouraged by a trend around the blogosphere suggesting that we need to do what is 'right' for us as individuals and be satisfied/content with our unique styles and idiosyncratic traits.I so relate to your comment re letting the characters breathe – writing is such an organic process and if we allow the fear of 'it not being good enough' to suck the oxygen out of the process – then we will forever be uncomfortable in those straight -leg jeans when the boot-cut pair was tailored made for us. I hope you have a great week. Best wishes. Jeff.

  3. Ha, ha, I don't have any style staples at all, although I do have a gorgeous pair of Tony Lamas that requires boot cut jeans. I say blah to straight, white teeth, although they are an indication of character on several levels–too American, too vain, or doesn't drink enough wine and coffee! Oh, and I do feel sorry for perfectionist characters. 😉

  4. I know what you mean, Jill, I don't have money to be fashion-forward much! Though I suppose I have old reliables (boot cut jeans!) that I fall back on. Funny how worldwide, straight teeth are probably a sure sign you're American! (Though some people do have naturally straight teeth.)

  5. You look adorable and I love your scarf! I know just what you mean – I'm a comfy-jean girl myself and I pity the girls (and GUYS!!!) I see in tight, tight, tight cigarette jeans or whatever name they give them these days. It's stupid that people follow what a stranger is saying is the "STAPLE" piece… I think we should all decide what pieces are considered staples in our own closets, eh? Have a great weekend!!

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