The last time we saw our heroine, Tookie De La Creme, she was rifling through some garbage for the Campaign Pin of Twu Wuv that Xenophilius Lovegood knockoff Theopilius Lovelaces accidentally bestowed upon her when he almost tripped on her prone body.
Or at least, I alluded to that in the previous post. Mostly I was enjoying putting up gifs of drag queens in hair couture. This time, however, I will be…doing more of the same. It depends on how interesting this chapter is.
And…it looks like we’re getting a geography lesson today, folks. After rifling through the trash to find the Campaign Pin of Twu Wuv, Tookiw steps out into the hot Peppertown afternoon to trudge back to her house. Peppertown is one of the four quadrants of the city of Metopia, each of which has its own distinct weather system.
Obviously, Peppertown is the one perpetually scalding hot. The winter wonderland is named Shivera (I DID NOT SEE THAT ONE COMING.); PitterPatter is “tempestuous”; LaDorno is “lovely”. Tyra tells us that because of this unique system, Metopia’s politicians “realized that a great many things could be produced there — and a great deal of money made”. Somewhere, in Tyra’s mind, that translates to Metopia becoming the “global center of the fashion and beauty industry”. Okay.
Not that I’m belittling the fashion world — I know that it’s a billion dollar industry that employs millions of people and Asian kids around the world — but with such a “diverse” weather system ranging from “tempestuous” to “lovely”, wouldn’t it have been better to produce staple foods for every country in the world? Just saying.
Anyway, other than providing us the lay of the fashion land, Tyra also drops hints to what I feel like will be important characters that may show up later on. There’s mention of a baroness involved in a “Yonzi” scheme that resulted in lots of people getting swindled, and Ci~L, a supermodel who suddenly disappeared from the face of Tyra’s imaginary universe. And yes, it is spelled Ci~L. Also, I know she’s important because a.) she’s a supermodel, duh, and b.) she’s on the illustrations on the book’s endpapers.
We also get introduced to Lizzie, Tookie’s best friend and possible candidate for Most Jarring Appeal to Take This Book Seriously. Lizzie is a fellow Forgetta-Girl who lives in a treehouse near Tookie’s home. Lizzie ended up in that particular situation because…ah, fuck it. Here’s Tyra’s own words:
“It wasn’t a home in the normal sense. The day Tookie met Lizzie, the nervous red-haired girl had been fleeing an invisible assailant and had dragged Tookie up this very tree with her.”
Don’t even ask, because Tyra doesn’t even explain about the invisible assailant or provide any background for Lizzie aside from the fact that she’s Tookie’s best friend.
Lizzie’s been gone for six months, because apparently she’s been at Shivera’s secret!mental!facility! where she’s not only been cutting herself but also having a hot “V for Vendetta” lesbian liaison with someone named Robyn. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to keep the nightmares at bay.
It’s not like you can’t just plop a maybe-suicidal character into the very early stages of your book. A lot of authors have done that to great acclaim. But Tyra, Tyra, Tyra, how can we ever take such a character seriously when a.) she’s written about as flatly as a preteen model’s breasts? And b.) you’ve put her smack in the middle of a world where the heroine is named Tookie De La Creme?
When you’ve built — and I use the term loosely — a world that reads like RuPaul’s ultimate drag fantasia on crack and steriods, the best thing to do is own it, run with it, and be the best drag fantasia you can be. You’ve already crammed so much ridiculous in the first chapter alone; there shouldn’t be any going back now.
Take, for instance, your revelation that school queen bee Zarpessa Zarionneaux goes dumpster diving (with a fashionable mask on!) because she apparently isn’t as rich as she makes herself out to be. It doesn’t really have that much of an impact because a.) we know nothing about her other than the fact that she’s Theopilius girlfriend and she wasn’t even mean to Tookie b.) your descriptions sound like you cribbed this particular scene from that episode of “Tyra” where you spend some time with the homeless. It was insincere then, it’s still insincere now.
You can’t just throw all of your brainfarts onto the page and hope that something sticks, Tyra. That is not the way to be on top. And I’m pretty sure you want to be on top.