Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo Characters

My novel for NaNoWriMo is entitled "What Would Elizabeth Bennet Do?", and you can find out more about it here. After reading a character interview on Rachel's blog and Maria Elisabeth's blog, I decided it would be a great way to get better acquainted with the main characters of my novel. I'm going to post it here, but I thought it might be a good idea to give you a little background on each person first. I also chose a picture for each character, depicting them as they appear in my mind.

My protagonist (aka Female Main Character or FMC): Elizabeth Blank Markette. No, her middle name isn't Blank (are you trying to be funny?)--it's just that I can't think of a good middle name for her. Suggestions? I need something that sounds Victorian, since the story is set in that era--no Madisons or Natalies or Kendalls, please.

Elizabeth is sensible, thoughtful, romantic and self-conscious. She's a little bit clumsy (well, at least not as graceful as she'd like to be) and acutely aware of her social ineptitude. (She's working on it.) However, she prides herself on handling sticky situations in the way Elizabeth Bennet would. Whether she actually does or not is for the reader to decide. Elizabeth's family lost their money when the Vienna Stock Exchange collapsed in 1873--it's now 1881, and Elizabeth is working as a governess for the Crimp family to earn her living. She's determined to rise above her less-than-desirable situation, however. (Does this picture explain why I chose the header that's on my blog right now? This is also currently the background on my computer. It keeps NaNoWriMo in the forefront of my brain.)

Rodney Eugene Burke is the gardener slash cab driver slash stable boy for the Crimp family. He's funny, tenderhearted, good with animals, good with children, a terrible tease, well-read and a lover of books, and the worst singer in the world. He's the sole guardian of his little sister Mercy, although in his own words, "I don't take care of Mercy, she takes care of me. I'm the breadwinner, but she's the bread baker. That is, she attempts to be the bread baker. I wouldn’t quite call what she does 'baking'. 'Grilling' might be a more appropriate word. When she finally learns not to make charcoal out of our daily fare, we shall get on capitally. In the meantime, I suffer in silence."

Lavinia Solange Vivian Bancroft is a wealthy young socialite, living in the snootiest section of London and being pointedly rude to foppish young gentlemen at balls. Lavinia is sweet and loving, passionate and tenderhearted--she's also stuck-up, rather narrow-minded, a bit conceited and inclined to gush over clothes. Yeah, she's kind of complex.

Mercy Frances Burke is Rodney's thirteen-year-old sister, and their relationship rather resembles that of Mr. Darcy and Georgiana--only with much less formality. Plus Rodney doesn't have the money to buy Mercy a piano (though he would if he had the money, and if she knew how to play). Mercy is a little bossy, but very sweet.

Mortimer Jefferson Pendleton is the most annoying, self-centered character I've ever created. He's the younger brother of Elizabeth's employer (Mrs. Crimp) and spends most of his time sponging off his sister and brother-in-law. When he isn't having meals at their house and riding their horses, he's off playing poker and smoking foul-smelling cigars.

I don't like Mortimer, in case you couldn't tell.

Okay, so without further ado: my character interview. (I've made some remarks here and there--all the lines labeled "Me", obviously.)

Do you want a hug?
Elizabeth: Well, if you happen to be offering one. Yes, thank you.
Lavinia: My gracious, no!
Mercy: I suppose so.
Rodney: Depends. How hard do you hug? I do like my ribs, you know.
Mortimer: Absolutely not.

Do you have any kids?
Elizabeth: None at all, but I do take care of three, ah, sweet children.
Lavinia: Naturally I do not. What an impertinent question.
Mercy: No, I’m not married.
Rodney: Unless you count my little sister Mercy, nope.
Mortimer: I should say not.

Have you killed anyone?
Elizabeth: How horrid! Of course not.
Lavinia: I hardly think so.
Mercy: I wouldn’t!
Rodney: Well, I stepped on a caterpillar yesterday—poor little thing, may it rest in peace. Take your hat off, please, and show some respect for the dead.
Mortimer: No.

Love anyone?
Elizabeth: I would like to. But I’m not sure if I do… yet.
Lavinia: Not in the least. Though there are several ridiculous young men who fancy themselves in love with me.
Elizabeth: Lavinia, everyone will think you’re a horrible flirt!
Me: Don’t worry, Lavinia only says things like that to shock people.
Mercy: My brother Rodney, who is the best person in the world, no matter what he may tell you to the contrary.
Rodney: My sister Mercy, of course. And… uh, yes, Mercy. And my uncle Zachariah.
Mortimer: Love, what rot.

What is your job?
Elizabeth: I am a governess in the Crimp household.
Lavinia: I occupy no paid position—society is my pastime!
Mercy: I take in sewing, but I don't have many customers.
Rodney: Cab driver for the Crimps—I take care of the horses a bit as well—especially Virgil, the one with rheumatism in his left hind hoof. Horses suffer just as much as people do, you know.
Mortimer: Work? Bore.

What are you going to do when this tag is over?
Elizabeth: Reread Persuasion. I’m almost finished.
Lavinia: Try on one of my new hats. Perhaps I’ll write to Elizabeth.
Mercy: Finish trimming a bonnet for a client.
Rodney: Brush and curry Virgil and Opus.
Mortimer: Smoke a cigar.
Me: Eww!
Mortimer: Every young gentleman does it, miss, don’t be so easily offended.
Me: Rodney doesn't!
Mortimer: And who cares whether that idiot carriage driver smokes or not?

What is your greatest fear?
Elizabeth: Losing my position, perhaps—or falling from a great height. Oh, and I'm terrified of Mr. Crimp's French parrot.
Lavinia: Not being able to go to Lord and Lady Fagles’ ball on Saturday.
Mercy: I'm not afraid of anything.
Me: No, you aren't, are you?
Rodney: Being bitten by the ferocious toad in the back garden. He continues to refuse my offers of friendship--or at least a truce.
Mortimer: Losing at poker.
Me: You know, Mortimer, I’m liking you less and less. Not that I liked you to begin with.
Mortimer: Why should I care for your opinion, miss? [yawns]

What do you think of your parents?
Elizabeth: I hardly remember them. I wish I did.
Lavinia: They’re dear. I couldn’t imagine life without them.
Me: You’re being serious for once!
Lavinia: I can be, when the mood strikes me.
Mercy: Unfortunately I don't remember them.
Rodney: I loved them very much.
Mortimer: What a dull question. I’m bored to death with this rot. Are we finished?

Any siblings?
Elizabeth: I had a brother who died as a baby.
Lavinia: An elder sister, who is already married.
Mercy: Rodney, my older brother.
Rodney: Just one sister, Mercy.
Mortimer: Juliet. She’s all right. Her boneheaded husband has quite a fortune, which is highly convenient.

Eye color?
Elizabeth: Brown.
Lavinia: Dark brown.
Mercy: Light brown.
Rodney: Brown. I like to fit in with those around me, and everyone else seems to be wearing brown eyes this season.
Mortimer: Dark brown.

Are you good or bad?
Elizabeth: Not as good as I'd like to be. Only God is perfectly good.
Lavinia: I am a perfect angel.
Elizabeth: Lavinia!!
Lavinia: I have to tease you sometimes, you know, Lizzie.
Elizabeth: Don't call me Lizzie.
Mercy: I try to be good, but Rodney will tell you I'm far from perfect.
Rodney: I'm a sinner. But by God's grace, I'm slowly becoming more like Him. I'm far from perfect.
Me: So you CAN be serious.
Rodney: If I wasn't serious sometimes, I wouldn't be the hero of your story. And if I wasn't funny sometimes, I'd be the dullest hero anyone ever met.
Mortimer: I'm not as bad as some fellows I know.

Favorite season?
Elizabeth: Late spring, early summer.
Lavinia: Spring, of course, when the London Season begins!
Mercy: Summer.
Rodney: Mud.
Me: There's no such season as mud.
Rodney: Mademoiselle, you obviously have never been out of doors in the country.
Mortimer: Who cares?

Who's your best friend?
Elizabeth: Lavinia. She's really not half as shallow as she would lead you to believe.
Lavinia: Me? Shallow? How sweet of you to say that. Lizzie is my best friend, though she does persist in working as a servant.
Mercy: Maggie, the downstairs maid at the Crimps'.
Rodney: That toad in the back garden. I'm taming him and teaching him to read. Tomorrow he'll be studying his lesson on "Why It Is Rude to Bite People Who Are Only Trying To Get a Closer Look at You".
Mortimer: Whoever just "gave" me all his money at poker last night.
Me: I'm considering banning you from this interview.
Mortimer: Charmed, I'm sure.

Elizabeth: Reading.
Lavinia: Talking. Driving. Attending balls. Making myself beautiful.
Mercy: I love tending flowers when I get the chance.
Me: Really? Hmm, I could stick that in somewhere.
Rodney: Teaching dumb animals their ABC's. Spending time with the horses. Talking to interesting people. Reading.
Mortimer: Smoking, playing cards, putting my feet on my sister's sofa.

Do you care what others think of you?
Elizabeth: Very much.
Lavinia: Not in the least. As long as I have behaved myself with perfect decorum and ladylike behavior, what should it matter?
Mercy: Not particularly.
Rodney: Nope.
Mortimer: Blah.

Was this interview fun?
Elizabeth: It was indeed!
Lavinia: Excessively diverting. Be proud of me, Lizzie, I'm quoting your favorite book.
Elizabeth: Yes, I noticed.
Mercy: Yes, I enjoyed it.
Rodney: It was very interesting, though if I had written the questions they would have been much more amusing.
Mortimer: Whatever.

What's your species?
Elizabeth: Human; specifically, American young lady.
Lavinia: Human. Are you suggesting I'm something else? How dare you?
Elizabeth: Lavinia, stop it.
Mercy: Human.
Rodney: Carriage driver. Human, if you want to be technical.
Mortimer: A bored-to-death Homo sapien. I do hope this thing is finished, I have a poker game in twenty minutes.

That was way too much fun--hope you enjoyed reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it!


Hayden said...

neat! I'm going to have to do a "character interview" with my dear old characters sometime...

Ella said...

I love you charcters!
I enjoyed your interview with your charcters:)

Miss Dashwood said...

Thanks, Hayden and Ella! Hayden, I'd be very interested in reading your character interview. Do include pictures if you can!

Ella said...

Clara,Marie,or Sophia might be a good middle name for Elizabeth.

Abby said...

Oh this was so funny to read! I love your characters, although I think my favourite may be the vicious toad ;) I may do this for my Nanowrimo story, if I find the time.


Miss Dashwood said...

Ooh, I like the name Sophia. Thank you for the suggestion!

Yes, the vicious toad is one of my favorites tool. :) Actually Rodney is my favorite character... then Lavinia... then Elizabeth. I know I'm supposed to like the protagonist best, but Rodney and Lavinia are so much more fun to write about! :P

Rachel Heffington said...

Bwahaha! Love it. I love Rodney. He is absolutely hilarious. And Lavinia. :) Keep up the fantastic work, dear!

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Elizabeth sounds very interesting. I totally understand your header now, I like it either way, Miss Dashwood! :)
What about Elizabeth Rose, Elizabeth Victoria, Elizabeth Margaret or Elizabeth Frances?
I loved reading about Rodney Eugene Burke, his quote about his sister is delightful! :) Mercy sounds lovely too, and I like her name a lot!
Lavinia seems quite a contradiction but terribly "diverting". :)
I really enjoyed reading this interview with your characters! Rodney is such a funny hero, his answers were my favorites! :)

Miss Dashwood said...

I'm so glad you like Rodney! I was afraid I'd "created a hero whom no one but myself will much like", but I was proved wrong. :)

Miss Laurie,
I do love "Elizabeth Rose". That has such a lovely old-fashioned sound to it! Mercy's middle name is Frances, so I don't want to use that twice, but Victoria and Margaret sound good too. Now I just need to restrain myself from giving her six middle names. :)

Maria Elisabeth said...

Oh, that was so funny! I think you've just gotten onto my favorite authors list, so be prepared to be continually badgered to post your writing;P And Rodney is very high on my favorite heroes list. And that toad? Does he have a place in the story?

Anonymous said...

That was a great read, and very funny! I love your Roger, the fact that he loves animals and he's very funny! And the fact you picture him as Roger Hamley from Wives and Daughters doesn't harm either!

Melody said...

Haha! Lovely. I always like characters who like Jane Austen; and Rodney was funny, but my favorite was your own comments. Te he

During this part, I couldn't help thinking:

"Elizabeth: Not as good as I'd like to be. Only God is perfectly good.
Lavinia: I am a perfect angel.
Elizabeth: Lavinia!!
Lavinia: I have to tease you sometimes, you know, Lizzie.
Elizabeth: Don't call me Lizzie.
But if you must, just be sure you spell it with a 'y'. Lizzy with a 'y' is so much more Jane Austen-ish than Lizzie with 'ie'.

HAHA (That's sort of an Anne quote turned different, in case you didn't catch it. But I'd be surprised if you didn't. :P)

Good luck on your writing!! It will be fun reading your story, if I ever get the chance!

Miss Dashwood said...

Maria Elisabeth,
Yes indeed, the Toad has a prominent place in the story (well, okay, he appears more than twice). I think I may decide to kill him off in a few chapters, though, so have some Kleenex ready.

Thank you for your comment! I am so pleasantly surprised that so many people are liking Rodney--I was afraid everyone would find him annoying (just b/c I like him doesn't mean everybody else will :))

Naturally, I caught on to the Anne quote right away. ;) That's awesome! I laughed. A lot. I only wish I could put it in the book, except that this takes place before AofGG was even written. :(
I probably shouldn't have posted such a long excerpt. It's a bit daunting. If I do it again, I'll post something shorter.

Melody said...

Oh, yes, quite true. You could just change the wording a bit so it really didn't look like Anne's quote, and use something like it anyways, if you really wanted to. ha ;-)

Oh! I haven't even seen that post yet. Well, I saw it on the dashboard, but haven't clicked on the post. That's how short on time I've been. >.< However, if I have your permission, maybe I'll copy it onto a Word document and print it out, so I can read it at leisure. (I don't have much leisure presently, but at least I don't have only a certain amount of time allowed per week for reading, like I do for the internet. ha ha ha)

Miss Dashwood said...

Oh, yes, go right ahead and print it out! I don't mind in the least. :)

Melody said...

Haha, this thing makes me want to "interview" my characters, even though I'm not in this contest thing with the weird name...

You have to post more of the book, like, when Mr. Funny Guy comes along. =D

Miss Dashwood said...

"Mr. Burke will not be laughed at!" I cannot believe you referred to him as "Mr. Funny Guy". "Is this to be endured? it shall not be!"
Kidding. Just kidding. Please do interview your characters! What kind of novel are you writing?

Melody said...

Oh, dear! Well, with all due respect to your Mr. Burke, he is funny. Is not he supposed to be? Or would you prefer me to say he's silly? I don't know, but in any case he's interesting. Is Mr. Interesting better? *Somber face* if you prefer me not to laugh at him, I shan't.

Now if I'd read parts with him in the book, maybe I would have remembered his name and wouldn't have to call him Mr. F. G. because I was too lazy (or too short on time, most likely) to scroll up and check. :P

Oh, well, if I interviewed them, I don't think I'd put it on my blog. :P The novel...well, 2/3 of my main books are historical fiction, but this one (my main main) is present day. The main character is quite old-fashioned, however. And, of course, she's a Jane Austen fan. But as to the rest..."that's for me to know, and you to find out."

If you ever do find out. Which is rather doubtful.

Miss Dashwood said...

Oh, you may call him Mr. FG if you please, it makes no difference to me. :) I only wanted an opportunity to quote Caroline Bingley. He would probably tell you to address him as His Most Royal And Eminent Majesty, Keeper Of The Horses And Tutor Of The Garden Toad, anyway.

And about your novel--so it's to be "ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies", eh? To quote Edmund Sparkler, "this is so unfair!"

Melody said...

And I would tell him, that that address is far too long for my little brain to absorb, and I'm liable to shorten it to something unattractive such as Mr. Toad.

Haha! Edmund Sparkler is so funny! =) Well, I must confess I find it hard to believe that you would be that enthusiastic to hear about my novel. However, I will tell you no lies even if you do ask questions. :P (Where is that quote from?)

Miss Dashwood said...

LOL! Have you read "The Wind in the Willows"? Maybe I should give Rodney a motorcar--although they weren't invented yet when my story takes place.

The ask me no questions thing is just a truism--I'm not sure where it originated. I first read it in "The Railway Children" by E. Nesbit, but I've heard it used elsewhere as well.

Melody said...

No, why? Is there a Mr. Toad in there who has a motorcar? Tehe.

On sudden inspiration last night I copied your interview questions and did a partial interview with my characters, also with a few questions of my own. One of my characters did a lot of interrupting, I must say. ;P

Ah!! The Last Dance is playing! I so love that song. :)

Okay, I'm commenting way too much on this post...