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Saturday, 5 November 2016

12 Character Costume Ideas - and Not a Harry Potter in Sight!

By Olivia Levez, author of The Island

It's almost that time of year again.
That time when SCBWI members will be scratching their heads about What to Wear at the annual mass book launch party. Well, fear not. Here's a fail-safe list of 12 book character costume ideas that will delight, amaze and stun your writerly friends:

#1 The Wardrobe (CS Lewis)

Pros: Easy to get hold of a cardboard box.
Cons: Might not be able to get into the taxi.

#2 Mockingjay pin (Suzanne Collins)

Pros: Can wear normal clothes underneath.
Cons: Might accidentally spike someone.

#3 Cruella Deville (Dodie Smith)

Pros: That two-toned hair is instantly recognisable. No one will ask who you're meant to be.
Cons: Freaking terrifying.

#4 Mr Twit (Roald Dahl)

Pros: Easy. Just add cornflakes.
Cons: Might put people off their Prosecco.

#5 Princess and the Pea (Brothers Grimm)

Pros: Very ap-pea-ling costume.
Cons: Trying way too hard.

#6 Cleo (Lucy Coats)

Pros: Just need to dig out that liquid eyeliner...
Cons: Bare-armed Egyptian look might be chilly for November.

#7 Zombie Goldfish (Mo O' Hara)

Pros: Cardboard box time again.
Cons: Maybe not so cute on an adult?

#8 Other Mother (Neil Gaiman)

Pros: Just need two black buttons.
Cons: See #3.

#9 The Boy in the Dress (David Walliams)

Pros: Can go glam and enjoy looking down on all those sporting cardboard boxes.
Cons: David Walliams gets *way* too much press on World Book Day (lessons to be learnt from his character branding, folks)

#10 The Peach (Roald Dahl again)

Pros: Totally peachy for pregnant peeps.
Cons: A bit...wrong?

#11 Moaning Myrtle (JK Rowling)

Pros: I know it's more cardboard, but easy peasy costume, n'est-ce pas?
Cons: Do you really want to be in school uniform all evening?

#12 War Horse

Pros: Hahahahahahahaha!
Cons: There are literally no cons to this. It's brilliant.

And there you have it: 12 fail-safe ways to wow your fellow guests at any book character inspired costume event.
My job is done.
#costume #worldbookday #bookcharacters #fancydress #scbwi

A Room Of One's Own - why writers need their restorative niche

By Olivia Levez
I have a hectic people-filled day job.
My days are filled with corridors, metal lockers, scraping chairs, bags on floors, shoving on stairs, shrieks in playgrounds, banter, banana peel, homework-groaning, yawning, sighing, catcalling, laughter, humming projectors, hushing, complaining, tapping, flicking, shushing, crisp-eating, phone-buzzing, arguing, explaining, giggling, fire-drilling, bell-ringing...
So, when it all ends, I just want peace.
I am a teacher in a big secondary school, and I fit my writing in when I can. Impossible on a school day, probable at a weekend, and wonderfully possible in a school holiday.
I write in bed, when I'm at home, but when I can, I escape to my own little writer's paradise: my caravan by the sea in West Wales.

It isn't much, but it's mine. And it's a place where I can focus only on writing, and all that hectic hubbub of family, job, housework gets filtered out. There's no internet and no mobile reception, so that means no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram, no constant checking of my phone. If I need to call home, I have to walk up two lanes, where the view over the gorse hedge looks like this:
And somehow, looking at that view, the way the cornflower blue ocean turns milky where it touches the sky; smelling the wafts of coconut and honey from the gorse, and watching the wild violets tangle with the bluebells, my mind calms and a little bit of magic happens: I start to get ideas for my story and plot knots unravel.
I have found my restorative niche. Ideas flow. My word count grows.
So this post is homage to all writers and their dens. And also to George Clarke and his Amazing Spaces, because don't all writers want and need one? (George Clarke, if you're reading this, I'd like you to build me a tree house or hobbit hole. Please.)
We all know the familiar sight of Roald Dahl's writing shed...
And Dylan Thomas' boathouse at Laugharne...
There's Will Self's Post-it filled attic in South London...
And Stephen King's cluttered man-space...
But whether it's an empty desk, an upcycled shed or a Cupboard Under the Stairs (yes, I've always been envious of HP's first den), I believe that all writers need their own space to create, dream and shut off the noise of the pushing, shoving world. In Susan Cain's words (her book, Quiet, is a Bible for writerly, reflective types that need to escape once in a while. Read it.) you need your 'restorative niche'.
I've found mine. What's yours?

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