Inspiration Comes From the Weirdest Places

One of the plot holes I’ve been trying to solve in Cerulean Bound revolves around a scene near the start of the book, when Eris and Varrin go to a place that has security-bots with facial scanners. It’s really awkward, because they’re supposed to be having a fun time, but at the same time you’re reading the scene and going “How are they so carefree, they could be identified at any moment!”

I was thinking about making them wear disguises, or something, but would that really fool the scanners? (In the Imminent Danger world, probably yes, lol.) Then inspiration struck!

So I’m sitting at my desk, noodling around on Facebook, when Mother announces she’s off to the post office to get the mail. This is more interesting than what I’m currently doing, so I get up and go see what’s happening. She’s in the bathroom in front of the mirror, using a concealer stick on her face.

“I should get one of those,” I say. “It’s a concealer stick, right?”

“Yes,” Mother says. “But be careful – if I put it all over my face, you won’t be able to see me! Hahaha.”

“Ha,” I agree, dubiously. “More like I won’t know who you are, because you’ll have concealed your identity.”

Our eyes both go wide.


So now I totally have a way to conceal their identities! I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but it’ll be some sort of black market cream that refracts light (OR SOMETHING) which messes with the security-bots’ facial scanners. That way they don’t have to wear elaborate disguises, and they don’t have to spend half the scene ducking and hiding every time a patrol rolls by. Woot!

In conclusion, inspiration strikes when you least expect it. That’s one of the things I find so fascinating about writing — how I can be stuck on a plot point for weeks, and then something totally mundane happens and all the pieces suddenly fall perfectly into place. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

That’s all! Hope everyone’s having an awesome week.


Unrelated media of the day:

My brother introduced me to a band called Porter Robinson over the holidays. This my current jam.


Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Inspiration Comes From the Weirdest Places

  1. My understanding is that people have developed makeup techniques specifically to confuse facial recognition technology. The idea, I think, is to use shading on the facial contours to obscure the shape of the face, since the software builds a 3-d model based on patterns of light and shadow. I can’t find it now, but I recall reading an article that had pictures and the makeup shown was obvious, but not strange enough looking that I would have thought anything untoward about someone in public looking like that.

    • Not sure if that’s how they work. I think facial recognition works by measuring the distances (or ratios of distances) between eyes, nose, ears, mouth, chin, hairline, possibly jawline, as well as widths of those features and angles between them in 3D. Faces can be lit from any and all angles so using light and shadow on cheekbones for example would be somewhat unreliable. However, if the people walk through a scanner area where the lighting is strictly controlled it could work but it would have to be a standardised lighting pattern and the reference shots for each person would also need to be made with the same lighting. Haven’t researched this but as a software engineer that’s what I’d be considering if I were to design such a system. It’s like motion capture for movies but using real facial features instead of dots.
      If anything, dark makeup around the jawline could confuse a system that scanned shadows but that’s probably the only place.
      But who knows? The security bots in the Imminent Danger universe could be focused purely on makeup!

  2. I think you could be on to something with your light reflection/refraction. It could make an eye appear bigger, wider, or the bridge more narrow. Of course in the fun world if Imminent Danger, if the makeup was applied in the wrong angle it could making an eye appear lower on the face or make an eyebrow look like something a cat threw up.

  3. I love the idea of inspiration coming from weird places, and I think your idea is a nice way of getting around the whole issue. I’m reminded of a Minor Report (the recently canceled TV series, not the movie) scene where the hero injects his face with something to change his features. This is done for the same reason as you mention here; to trick facial recognition. There’s a funny 5″ scene where his face reverts to the original state, leading to a little “elephant man” moment 🙂

    • Eek, well I definitely don’t want my characters injecting themselves with anything. Although there could be some potentially hilarious side effects … 😀

  4. Inspiration is pretty random sometimes! I love that concealer helped with your writing lol. 🙂 A clear cream that refracts light could be cool, or even a Ms. Doubtfire type product of shape-able gel that could be molded slightly but still look natural. The concealer has opened so many doors!! Huzzah! Good luck on the writing. Also, you don’t happen to know if there are plans for a boxed set of the books eventually, do you?

    • I’m thinking light refraction would be the easiest — that way I don’t have to describe their altered facial features, lol. I’d love to release a boxed set eventually, but have no current plans for it. I don’t even know how I’d do that with self-publishing! Maybe I could make my own boxes? Haha.

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