Sunday, October 30, 2011

Idea Garage Sale: Make-up Magic

A kid/teen with a self-image problem - unfashionable figure, "ugly" (i.e. distinctive) features - has an acting ambition centered around "everybody's natural desire to be somebody else." Plagued by envy, thinks like a victim. Fascinated by make-up artistry, big fan of the Lon Chaneys, but doesn't understand the predeliction to make monsters. She wants to create perfection.

The make-up kit is an entirely neutral magic item, does exactly as asked, and can be cleaned off - possibly only with the cold cream that comes with, though. That depends on whether you prefer a scene where her identity starts to run in the rain, or one in which she wants to erase a failed ideal self and is almost out or can't find the jar. Try for beauty, try to be someone else, try out the opposite sex; eventually try out a monster identity as a means of expressing her increasing frustration.

The biggest problem for the author is wrapping up satisfactorily without being trite. Teens and kids are always being told to be themselves, and responding mentally (as I used to respond): "But what if yourself is somebody nobody likes?" There's no point saying such things out loud to grown-ups - all they do is tell you that's not true, like that should help, which it doesn't.

The biggest problem for me is, I don't use make-up. I never have. I don't know what most of it is for, or why you'd want to muck your skin up with it. It's made of dirt, you know! The closest I've come to stage make-up was smearing all visible skin with gray pancake to play a rock gnome in a LARP. I could research the matter, of course; but it's not intrinsically interesting to me.

By the way - the way I solved this problem? Went to college, discovered RPGs, became Queen of the Geeks. Not practical advice for a ninth-grader.

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