Shar 4: What Not To Wear in Mesopotamia

Today I looked at Lani’s last scene for this act and realized I’d wandered off from my research and not told her what Kami would be wearing. So I spent some hours on the net and figured it out. (I also took out the trash and made lunch and played with the dogs in the yard, but that’s not interesting.) At least I have enough to go back in and say, “Okay, she’s wearing a long floor-length cloth, probably embroidered, wrapped across her breasts and then crossed behind her back with the ends draped over her shoulders.” Later on, I will go get something out of my fabric stash and try this. I have a feeling that, with a couple of pins, this could work as a general laying around the house wrap. Or not.

Then I went back and looked at the elide and thought, “Oh, hell,” and added some things and cut some things.

Then I tried to figure out what the hell Shar’s story was by summarizing how she changes in each scene to make her act arc. In the first act, she changes from somebody who’s given up to somebody who’s a goddess; in the second act she changes from being unsure of using her powers because she knows there’s going to be a cost to being sure she has to use them to stop the antagonist. Now I have to figure out her arcs in Three and Four and then I think I’ll be able to write the last scene in Act Two, which is very cool because we set Monday as our goal for getting that done. And I’ll have plenty of time to work this weekend because we’re getting snow and ice tomorrow. Should be all thawed out by Wednesday or Thursday, though.

And I also caught up with Krissie in Campfire when she got home and then watched Project Runway because I had it Tivoed and needed to give my brain a break. So I didn’t get a scene written today, but I have a feeling that the work I did will make the scene i write tomorrow make so much more sense. And I did a four page Bible for Kammani, with photos, and uploaded it to Campfire so that Krissie and Lani know what she’s doing and what she’s thinking, which they will slice and dice tomorrow.

I can’t believe how much faster I write when I collaborate.

13 thoughts on “Shar 4: What Not To Wear in Mesopotamia

  1. I find collaborating fantastic when it’s with people that know each other thoroughly and still like each other anyway. I find there is a real buzz and flow with the odd self discovery about how I work along the way. I think I learnt the most about my working style when I colloborated with someone with a near identical style. To start with we had to really think before we said what we thought…then it eased and we could laugh about our quirks.There are times now when I work alone that I still might run something by them, especially if I’m on really tight deadline. I find the first day I’ve written something, before I’ve slept on it and had another look…. there is a part of me that thinks every word is gold.Collaborators/conspirators cut through the crap and free think past sticking points so beautifully.

  2. Hmmm….Kami’s outfit sounds…drafty in the back, in fact it sounded so drafty that I got out a length of sari fabric my daughter brought me back from Tanzania (not the fancy, embroidered, gold or silver-shot stuff, but we’re talking yards of fabric here) and tried it. It is drafty. I tried a couple of other ways to drape it. They didn’t work too well, and were so tight around the legs as to make it difficult to walk, much less lounge around in. May I suggest that she have some sort of petty-coat or long skirt underneath? The fabric ends also had a tendency to slip off my shoulders, necessitating constantly adjusting them. (Visions of household accidents here, in my case anyway…maybe goddesses don’t have these issues.) One earth-bound trick I learned from a Nigerian friend about clothes that wrap (conga’s…large pieces of cloth that you wrap around your waist and tuck) is strategically placed buttons with equally strategically placed thread loops to help stabilize things.

    I too love collaborating, although in my case it was for writing contemporary Christian musicals. There were four of us: One wrote the “book”, one wrote the music (my husband), I wrote the lyrics, one did the choral arrangements (the husband of the gal that wrote the book), but all of us brainstormed the story. I think the fact that the lyrics and the book were written by two different people (and the lyrics were written to fit to music that was composed first) made the stories much stronger, tighter and deeper than if it had been a solo effort. The fact that we were always writing to deadline (auditions were THIS date and the tour started YIKES!) also kept us moving along.

    Looking forward to the final outcome of this collaboration.

  3. Does Bob know that you write faster when you collaborate? Isn’t he the one who is always asking, “Book done yet?”

    Not to say that you write slowly with Bob- oh no- but he seems to have issues with your speed.

    I love hearing how you plan things out and how things evolve.

    And we WOULD be interested in hearing about you playing outside with the dogs. And what you had for lunch. You know us, we’d have 100 comments about your trash adventure, too! 🙂

  4. One of my best friends when I was a grad student at UC Berkeley, living at International House, was Indian. When the Indian student residents put on a Diwali program for the rest of us, she got the bright idea of dressing me in one of her saris for the occasion. It worked, eventually, (looked weird because the only blouse I had that worked under it was white and long-sleeved)–but I wound up with about sixteen safety pins and a profound sense of insecurity.

    I know there are sites online that tell you how to wrap a kilt and plaid (the kind that does not come pre-stitched); so I’ll bet there are sites that tell you how to wrap a sari or a sarong. You might look for them.

    Or look at a site for Greek and/or Roman clothing. Both women and men wore wrapped garments. If the Tigress is still hanging about, she can probably help with this.

    My personal feeling is that if you are actually LYING about the house, rather than standing or sitting, wrapped things are going to come unwrapped…

  5. I got that description from a book on Mesopotamian clothing styles. Possibly they wore it over a skirt? But the sari/sarong won’t work since I’m trying to be authentic.

  6. Glad you’re making good progress with the writing. I read somewhere they encrusted jewels and metals into the fabric to create trim and add color to their costumes. The style you mentioned sounds about right. They were very slim fitting, I think.
    Just looked up my one novel on Mesopotamia that I have on my bookshelf, Empire Rising, written by Sam Barone and set in 3157 B.C. He has a couple of romances in it and numerous battles. I wanted to see how he handled the clothing thing.
    “She wore a dress of fine quality, no doubt plundered…” “She removed her robe …” No specifics. Darn. For the men he referred to tunics, filthy, blood-stained tunics, then clean tunics.

  7. Off-topic as usual, but here’s a wedding cake topper I thought you’d appreciate, Jenny. /;+)

    Yes, playing with the dogs is interesting, especially with the personalities involved, yours included. ;+)

    On the garments, I’ve got nothing. I know you’ve looked at the carvings and so on. But, like someone said, there are websites for everything, so there may be one for Mesopotamian priestesses and their attire.

    Having said that, ooh, have I got a link for you: Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian & Persian Costume from Google Books. This is just the page that came up when I did a search, but there’s a whole book for you!

  8. Well, I did a search on that book on both AbeBooks and Alibris, and they both have it. So, if you like what you see on Google Books, you can have one for your very own!

    Here’s a quote from the listing:
    “Clothing was hardly a practical necessity in North Africa and what is today the Middle East. Often a luxury item in these warm, humid climates, it became more essential as people’s lives improved socially and economically. But even then, the drapery was light and tended to accent the body’s shape rather than conceal it.”
    *smile* Sounds like they had the right idea. And you’re on the right track, too.

  9. I think that’s where I got the wrap instructions from. Not sure. I did look through that book at Google Books though so it’s a good bet. But thanks for finding it on the other sites. I gave up when Amazon didn’t have it.

  10. Re: collaboration. Do you think it would work if your writing partner was virtual?
    As in imaginary as opposed to online?
    I am allergic to dog/pet hair and feathers so talking to the dog is out. Any ideas? Photographs perhaps?

    LOL Ray-Anne 🙂

  11. Nope. I need somebody pushing back. That’s what makes it so valuable, having the person to argue with, two or three brains on the project.

    And you definitely need a puppy not a photo.

  12. Every time I find an old book online that looks like something I’d like to own, rather than visit virtually or borrow for short periods of time, I check Abe, Alibris, and, if I’m desperate, Biblio. I’m amazed at how many times I’ve gotten things I thought I’d have to do an interlibrary loan for and wait two months.

    I was first pointed to Abe years ago at a writers conference held at a big indie bookstore near me (Book Passage). They were all big on it since, at the time, it was one of the few ways indie bookstores could compete online.

    Sorry. I spend so much time doing online searches for info that when I find a place that has just the books I want, I get excited. And proselytize. /;+)

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