The Books I Wish I’d Written

I was in one of my seminars at university, when the fateful task was set. Simply, our tutor asked us, “Which children’s book do you wish you’d written?” In the final seminar we’ll have for the module, we have to present the book of our choosing to our smaller table group, and talk about why we wish we’d written it.

So, as I was rushing out of my seminar (being let out early because it’s submission day), and back to my flat to get some things together before my study session, I pondered on this question.

Which book do I wish I’d written? Out of all the books I’ve read, loved and read again, which one would I wish I myself had written? I’m a young writer, beginning to hone her craft, and really work on her voice on the page. What book would I have wanted to have written for children? Or indeed, any audience?

I should answer this question in three parts, the children’s book I would of liked to have written, the modern adult novel I wish I’d written, and the classic book I’d love to have written.

 
Children’s Book 



Ah, The Book Thief, which was adapted into a very successful, beautiful film last year. The story of a German girl adopted by a couple, during the Nazi regime. Told from the POV of Death, the story of Liesel, the Jew hidden in the basement and the books she steals after learning how to read, among other things is one that is haunting, funny, sad and beautiful all in one book. Using an outsider who is omnipresent to tell the story in first person, with little quips every now and then, is a really clever idea that I wish I’d come up with myself in my own literature. 

Modern  Adult’s Book



Had to be this one! Telling the untold version of the story of Oz, and how the Wicked Witch of the West became Wicked, and how Glinda the Good became Good.  It is intricate, complicated, dark and erotic, among other things. This isn’t a bedtime story for the kids, that’s for sure! The way that Maguire took an established world, and completely turned it on its head, making it his own world, is something I’ve always envied. I also relate to Elphaba, the green girl who becomes the Wicked Witch we all love to hate. Her story is told in a way that is sensitive and empathetic, all those who have been shunned and abused for being different are given a voice through this prickly, angry woman. I wish I’d written Elphaba myself!

Classic Book



How could I not? This was a book that saved me when I was fourteen, lonely and depressed in a foster home where I wasn’t loved. The confident, feisty Elizabeth Bennet was a girl after my own heart. I lived vicariously through her as she went to balls, toured big houses and argued with Mr. Darcy. 

But why do I wish I’d written this book? 

The characters put in for comic effect, of course! Mr. Collins is just ridiculous, pompous, kissing Lady Cathrine’s butt in order to get ahead, and talking stupidly about her whilst in company. Not to mention his lack of manners in social situations… (Sorry Darcy!). And who can forget Mrs. Bennet? The neurotic, loud woman who is determined to ensure all her daughters are suitably married, driving her poor husband, who’d married her when she was still pretty and sorely regrets it now, into living in his study all the time, pretty much. Without these two, the novel wouldn’t be as good as it is. And it is that skill in comedic character building that I want to learn from Austen.

So, that’s my answer to my tutor’s question done. OK, I’ve gone through two books that I couldn’t look at in that class, but I couldn’t resist! 

Halloween Makeup Idea = Elphaba!

I was bored last night, so I figured that I would practice my makeup for this year’s Halloween party, especially as there is a best dressed competition down at the SU. But it seemed pretty weird to just, well, green up without a perfectly good excuse, so I thought I would do a step-by-step how to on the Elphaba look.

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Elphaba is better known as the Wicked Witch of the West from the novel ‘Wizard of Oz’, which was made popular by the Judy Garland film. However, in 2003, a brand new musical, based on the Gregory Maguire novel of the same name, Wicked, brought a whole new story to this universally hated character, giving her a whole new story, and helping audiences and readers alike see this Witch in a whole new light. This is a picture of the makeup used in the musical, however, my tutorial will be different.

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This is because I shall be basing my Elphaba makeup on the promotional artwork, rather than on the makeup used in the actual production. If you do want to make your Elphaba look more ‘musical’, then replace the red lipstick with black.

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Here’s the products I used when creating Elphaba. I recommend that you at least have:

  • Your usual face cleansing routine and moisturizer
  • Your usual primer, concealer and foundation
  • Translucent powder
  • Green facepaint/stage makeup
  • Purple and Green eyeshadow (white and black are optional, I didn’t use them in the end, but these can be good for adding definition)
  • Liquid/Gel Eyeliner (Black)
  • Mascara 
  • False lashes are optional, I didn’t use them as I find them very fiddly)
  • Contact lenses if you wear glasses (or go blind, or just wear your glasses if they suit the look)
  • Plenty of brushes and sponges 
  • Bowl/Cup of water to rinse with
  • Red/Black lipstick
  • Green/Red nail varnish (I didn’t do my hands this time, but will do when I do the costume properly)

 

This is me Before Greening up!

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Right, here we go!

1. The first thing to do is to prep your skin. I am using my Lush products here (Angels on Bare Skin, Eau Roma Water and Imperialis) to do this. If you can, get all hair out of the way with a headband. 

2. Next, apply your primer, foundation and powder on as normal, but make sure you do this to all the body parts being greenified. This will give the green facepaint an even base to work on, and will help the green to not come off when it’s dry

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3. Here’s the fun bit! Get that facepaint and green up! Take care to let layers dry in between applications, otherwise you might undo the work you’ve done, especially when you do use water-based cheap facepaint like I did…

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Layer 1

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Layer 2

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Layer 3

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Layer 4

4. Once everything is dry, dust some powder onto the madeup parts, before you then grab your purple eyeshadow, and use it as blush. try not to do what I did, and let it become a doll’s cheek circle (this can be rectified slightly by rubbing with the fingers)

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5. Because Elphaba has green skin, she has to make the most of her other aspects. Her eyes are the most expressive part of her face, and need to be brought out. This is where dramatic eye makeup comes in. Once all the facepaint is dry, grab your green eyeshadow, and apply all over the eyelid, going right up to the eyebrow. Then fill in the eyelid with purple eyeshadow, and apply eyeliner in a cat-like style. Then apply mascara/false eyelashes to make those eyes REALLY pop!

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6. The final stage is to apply that lipstick. I’m using Strong, from Lush’s wonderful Emotional Brilliance range, though any good shade of red works, or black if that’s what you prefer.

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TaDah! That is a finished Elphaba Makeup!

I am rather happy with it, although I will be investing in proper green stage makeup for Halloween, I think!

So, I hope you enjoyed this how to guide, I enjoyed making it! Now,I really ought to get some work done…