Wednesday, November 09, 2011


By Maria C. Ferrer

Where do you get your ideas?  Don’t you just hate that question?  Luckily, my answer is simple—Paper Dolls.

Paper Dolls because I get most of my characters from paper cut-outs of magazine and newspaper photos—women and men.  Like Mister Geppetto, I use a picture, a face to create a ‘real’ person.  For example, I was looking through last month’s Cosmopolitan magazine and saw an ad for hair coloring. In the ad, the Lady proclaimed that “she was worth it.” The slogan and the woman’s face triggered a story and my Paper Doll came to life. 

I can see her in front of her bedroom mirror. Taking stock of the merchandise and bemoaning the fact that she has hit the Big Four-O, and how her life seems to be heading south – her age, her sex life, but worse of all, her boobs. Her boobs facing south really get to her. Can't you just see her in front of that mirror?  The beauty, the grace, the frustration.

But my Paper Doll has spine. She is going to think positive.  40 is the new 30, right?  So she’s thinking positive and making a list—Great things about turning 40:

• Closer to menopause and no more cramps. (“Woo hoo.”)

• The shutting down of the baby machine. (“One was more than enough, Thank You.”) [She made that clear as I was typing this post!]

• Closer to retirement. (“It won’t be much, thanks to those damn politicians, but, hey, every penny counts!”)

• Perfect age to become a cougar. (“Boy toys! Yum!”)

And so the story begins.♥

Maria C. Ferrer enjoys playing Paper Dolls and What-if?  She is a member of the Romance Writers of America New York City chapter, and the founder of The Latina Book Club, which won the 2011 Award for Favorite Literature Blog from Blogs by Latinas.  Maria‘s short stories have been published by Star magazine and Cleis Press.  Visit her at and

PHOTO CREDIT:  Woman Standing in Front of a Mirror by Christoffer Wilhelm


Jeanine said...

LOL - I use paper dolls too. Helps me describe facial features.
Thanks for the post.

Lise said...

I have a huge collection of clippings. People, fashions, but even more. I save photos of rooms - a glorious bedroom that I just know my heroine would bring her lover to. Pictures of houses, and property. Cars, vacation spots - anything that conjures up my characters' worlds.

Addison said...

What a fun post! Like Lise, I'm a clipping collector, too, but never thought about it as paper dolls - what a fantastic description!


Mila Ramos said...

I never thought about using paper dolls for character development. Its very interesting and frankly quite amazing! Great article!