Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest)

Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest)

My degree is in Costume Design and Construction, so I make the BIG MONEY! Just kidding, but you knew that already. What I love about costuming, especially on a big scale with a small budget, is just how creative you have to be.

I guess, when you look back at my life, my passion has been in the arts. I was a type-A student for the academics stuff, but I loved the arts. As I grew older, it wasn’t just being a dancer or an actress, the background/technical theater “stuff” became my new focus.

Now, I never made a living as a costumer, but when my son was in middle school, they did a small scale production of Pirates of Penzance. There was already a costumer on the show, but I enjoyed finding cheap alternatives for costumes… and that continued on into my son’s high school years. When they did a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I had a blast!

But I also had a huge headache!

How do you take $600 dollars and make a complete production with one seamstress (me) and my costume assistant (my son)? Well, my mother’s curtains became Peaseblossom’s bodice and hood, a bag of ripped T-shirts from Goodwill were cut into leaves for Oberon’s costume so he could hide as part of the forest…and on and on…

But my biggest “make it work” moment was Bottom’s donkey head. It started out as a random concept of putting foam on a hat and then adding the “skin.” So out I went to get foam scrap, some super glue, a yard of grey felt, and a few random odds and ends.

I had to chop the foam and stick it here and there on the baseball cap from my son’s peewee days, and then carve away the mound of foam until it looked like a donkey head. It’s a random, learn-as-you-go process, but that head cost me less than ten dollars and it was a complete labor of love…and creativity.

Now, why am I telling you all of this?

Well, writing a short story, for me, follows the same process.

Get the idea, gather some parts (plot points), and start adding in the magic. For the First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology I started with the idea…a rescue.

Firefighters. Good one.

Oh, a firefighter rescuing a firefighter. Okay…then what?

Rival firehouses? Okay…that’s good for conflict!

Maybe they knew each other in the Academy? And they were almost a thing? Okay, okay, keep it coming. And now that he…no, now that she pulled his hot ass from the frying pan…oh…someone’s getting lucky! Oh, wait! No, they both are!

Once I had those pieces together, I realized I needed more pieces. I went to a talk done by Kristin Higgins’ husband about firefighters, and when I asked him for his advice about what kind of an accident would require time off but not endanger his job or career, he answered and I’m so grateful.

All of this for a short story?

Yep! Absolutely! And writers? We do it over and over again. It’s a rush, it’s a drudge, it’s a crazy random happenstance sometimes! So, here’s hoping you’ll order your copy of First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology and discover the rollercoaster that I took Webb & Gina on!

You’ll also see them in my Center City First Responders Series! So make friends with them now!

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you’ll enter the giveaway, too!


Sometimes, we have to create on the fly. A missing ingredient in a recipe. Or a Halloween costume created from some bedsheets and bungee chord? Tell me what’s a moment that made you celebrate your own creativity!!

Win your choice of one of my books, like Justice for Sloane!

2 thoughts on “Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest)

  1. I am not sure if this counts but I found bargain book on making monsters and I am having lots of fun with it

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