Saturday, March 24, 2012

Beautiful People: Rodney and Elizabeth

It's been quite a while since I posted anything about my NaNoWriMo story (possibly owing to the fact that NaNoWriMO was four months ago), but I've been wanting to do a Beautiful People thingy with one of my characters for quite some time.  The only problem was, I couldn't decide which character to do, but this month's questionnaire solved everything.  March's Beautiful People is on relationships, and you can fill it out for any two of your characters that have a special kind of relationship (romantic, familial, friendship, whatever). 

Elizabeth Sophia Markette and Rodney Edgerton Burke are the male and female protagonists of Only a Novel, and naturally they end up together at the end.  (There, I just spoiled it for you.  Abject apologies. :P) I could go on and on and on, but I'll just answer the questionnaire for now and then if you're confused you can leave a comment and I'll do my best to clear things up.  

I do, however, wish to take a teeny moment and squeal with delight over the fact that I have found Elizabeth! There are few moments more glorious than that one where you know you are staring straight into the face of your character.  Now at last I can actually look at her and picture her saying the things I want her to say, etc. etc. etc.

Here she is, folks-- Miss Elizabeth Markette, in the flesh digital photo.  To some of you, she may be recognizable as Bella Wilfer from Our Mutual Friend  but to me she's Elizabeth.  To a T.  Except for her hair-- Elizabeth's supposed to be a dark blonde, but I can imagine her hair as being different than what it really is.  A certain literary heroine of which we know of was quite good at doing that sort of thing. :D

And to make things fair and even, here's Rodney, too.  Who you may already know as Roger Hamley from Wives and Daughters.  Rodney's actually a cross between Roger Hamley and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey, but this picture best fits my mental image of him.

Without further ado, the Questions.

1. Do they believe in anything that most people think is impossible?

Hmm... well, Rodney is an incurable optimist.  Elizabeth is more cautious and not too quick to believe in anything just at first (except for storybook endings, haha).  But as for believing in the impossible... not particularly.

2. Are they strong, or the "damsel/knight in distress" sort?

Ha.  HAHAHAHAHA.  Sorry.  I'm just getting too much amusement out of picturing Elizabeth as a damsel in distress and Rodney being Knightley and rescuing her... I think even Elizabeth would find that far-fetched.  And as for the idea of Rodney being a knight in distress... HA.

They found Mercy in tears—Mercy who supposedly never cried. Something cold and hard and terrifying settled in Elizabeth’s stomach.
“Mercy… what’s wrong?”
She didn’t appear ill or injured. It wasn’t Rodney, of course—it couldn’t be, because nothing bad ever happened to Rodney. Ever.

3. Do they have a special place? (e.g. a corner in his/her bedroom, under a tree...)

The place where they spend the most time together would definitely be the Crimps' stable.  Rodney works there, taking care of the horses and cleaning the stalls and whatnot, and Elizabeth brings the children she teaches (Jonathan and Isabelle Crimp) out to see the horses every so often.  Increasingly more often as the story goes on.  Heehee.

4. What occupation do they have, or plan on having?

Rodney is a carriage driver, gardener, groom, parrot catcher and man-of-all-work for Mr. and Mrs. Crimp.  (I think Mr. Crimp has a first name, but I can't remember what it is.  Dear, dear.)  Elizabeth is the governess for Mr. and Mrs. Crimp's two older children.  (The Crimps also have a two-year-old named Maria but she's of little importance.)

5. Describe their current place of residence.

Rodney lives with his little sister in a tiny apartment above the stable.
The apartment above the stables bordered on sparse. One room served as a sort of dining kitchen, and two doors opened off it into what Elizabeth presumed were bedrooms. “I cook our meals in here,” Mercy explained, “on Evangeline, and—”
“Evangeline?” It was rude to interrupt, but curiosity often overpowered manners.
“Oh, that is what we call our lumpy old stove. She is anything but sweet and dainty as the name might suggest, so one day Rodney was in a perverse mood and dubbed her Evangeline after Longfellow’s heroine, and the name stuck.”
(I'm not especially fond of this part because I think it sounds forced, but I haven't had time to revise it because I promised myself I would kill my inner editor and JUST WRITE the rest of the story before I started revising. :P  But I included that excerpt anyway because it's the only thing I have describing where Rodney lives.  I'm not big on description, in case you couldn't tell.)

Elizabeth has a small, whitewashed bedroom in the servants' quarters of the Crimp home. The room is uncarpeted and there are no pictures on the walls, but that's her own fault because she hasn't bothered to put any up.
 Elizabeth put down her pen and stared moodily at the wall. Heroines in novels always gazed wistfully out of the window, but the tiny table in her tiny bedroom faced the wall, not the window.

6. Explain their last crisis. How had they changed when they came out of it?

Heehee.  Well... for starters I suppose I should say that Only a Novel isn't a crisis-y kind of story.  It's about normal people, in a normal setting, who do normal, everyday things.  Because that's the kind of story I like to read, y'all, and so that's the kind of story I write.

But anyway, even though there are no death-defying rescues or heart-stopping disasters in my novel, there are quite a few crises in the form of Uncomfortable Moments.  Because, y'know, Uncomfortable Moments can seem like crises at the time.  And believe me, Elizabeth and Rodney (well, Elizabeth anyway) have (has) quite a few of those.  (This may or may not be because I get an evil delight out of putting my poor characters into cringe-inducing situations.  Muwahahahaha.)

To actually answer the question that's been posed, the last crisis Elizabeth and Rodney went through would probably be the ultra-awkward afternoon when Elizabeth ran smack into her friend Lavinia at Kensington Gardens.  Ran smack into her quite literally, I might add.  Elizabeth had taken Jonathan and Isabelle to the Gardens as per Mrs. Crimp's orders, and Rodney came along.  To drive the carriage, you know.  Anyway, the kids brought a kite with them, and... here.  It's easier to just throw in an excerpt than to recap it all. :)

“I want to fly the kite,” Isabelle piped up.
“It’s mine,” said Jonathan, “and I will get the first turn.” He glanced back at Elizabeth. “Just let me run ahead a tiny bit, Miss Markette.”
“As long as you stay within my sight,” Elizabeth conceded.
“No, you come with us,” Jonathan urged. “Cassandra and Maria [the baby and her nursemaid, reverse respectively] can poke along here as slowly as they want. You come with us, and you can toss up for me.”
“Toss up?” Elizabeth had never tossed up a kite before. Grandfather had always done it for her when they went out together, and after Grandfather’s death she had been too old to fly kites.
“I’ll do it,” Rodney offered, appearing rather disconcertingly at Elizabeth’s elbow. “No one is going to steal the brougham, and I’d be far more interested in helping with a kite than watching Virgil and Opus bite grass and chew it at each other all morning.”
Elizabeth had almost forgotten about Rodney. It would indeed be rather dull for him to stay with the horses all day while she and the children roamed the gardens. She was not entirely sure about the propriety of flying kites with a stable hand in public, but a cursory look around her convinced her that no one would be witnessing the unladylike deed.

So they fly the kite and have a great deal of fun, but then Jonathan and Isabelle start fighting, which turns into a Heart-Stopping Chase Scene (okay, so maybe it isn't heart-stopping, but it IS a chase) which turns into Elizabeth's tearing after them to tell them to stop running (haha).  And she ends up practically knocking down her friend Lavinia Solange Vivian Bancroft, who just happened to be out walking with her Auntie.  (This is getting long-- I'd better wrap it up.)

At any rate, Elizabeth is much mortified, and Lavinia is even more mortified at the idea of her particular friend racing around in a public place in the company of a stable hand.  So naturally she is quite cool and frosty to poor Elizabeth.  Rodney, of course, is completely unfazed and seems to think the whole thing rather funny, but Elizabeth wants nothing more than to go home and thunk her head against the wall.  In frustration, you know.  What comes of all this is, actually, a bit of a light-bulb moment for Elizabeth.  It's the beginning of the end of her uppity-ness (a big problem at the beginning of the story) because it begins to show her that Lavinia's attitude towards people-of-the-working-class is silly and snobby, and that she (Elizabeth) has been behaving in the exact same way without realizing it.

Long answer, there.
Oh, and as for Rodney-- for him it just provided some amusement.  And a chance to show Miss Bancroft that stable hands are gentlemen, too, because of course he was unflinchingly polite and didn't laugh until it was all over.

7. If they could drive any kind of car they wanted, what would it be?

There were no such things as cars in 1881 or 1882, so... next, please.

8. How do they deal with change?

They're both pretty good with change.  Elizabeth, at the beginning of the story, is faced with the loss of her grandmother (her guardian) and utter financial ruin.  She takes the whole thing in stride and sets out to earn her own living.  With a few romantic notions, of course, that get a bit ka-squooshed as time goes on.  It's a learning experience. :)

Rodney lost both his parents when he was still a teenager, as well as his family's estate, and like Elizabeth he didn't let it get him down.  He simply went looking for work and did his best with what he had and didn't waste time feeling sorry for himself.  (Did I mention I liked this guy?)

9. If they had to amputate one body part, which one would they choose?

To quote Anne-girl, "Gross!" Um, probably a foot?  Neither of them would take kindly to giving up their hands.

10. What would their favorite be at the local coffee shop?

Rodney takes his coffee black, with sugar (yes, there's a little of me in him) and Elizabeth would probably take hers black without sugar.  They're not the creamer type.

The questions about their relationship.

1. How did they meet?

They met when Elizabeth first came to work for the Crimps-- she was out taking a stroll around the garden and tripped over the gardener.  The rest, as they say, is history. :D

She was just beginning to calm down again when she found herself stumbling over a person kneeling at the edge of one of the flowerbeds. The person, oddly enough, seemed to be talking to the flowerbed.
It was a young man, dressed in rough outdoor clothes: obviously the gardener. He jumped up immediately to apologize. “I’m so sorry, I had no idea anyone was out here,” he said. In his left hand he held a trowel and in the right, a large garden toad.
Elizabeth was not afraid of most wild creatures, but the sight of the toad so startled her that she nearly screamed. Of course she did not do such an indecorous thing, but she came very close. “Er, no, I beg your pardon,” she said, swallowing twice. “I wasn’t looking where I was going.” Her eyes were glued to the toad, which blinked at her quite sleepily and rearranged himself more comfortably in the young man’s hand.
“Allow me to introduce my friend,” said the young man with a courtly bow, removing his hat. “This is the Toad Who Inhabits The Back Garden. I haven’t actually named him yet, but if you have a suggestion I’d be most eager to hear it.”

2. How do these two deal with conflict?

With each other, or conflict in general?  Elizabeth doesn't like confrontation and will most likely back out of an argument if things get heated. Rodney doesn't go looking for a fight, but he will stick to his guns and not back down when something important is at stake.  "I will never sacrifice truth on the altar of politeness. But I will also do my best to be civil at all times."

3. Do they have a special song, phrase, item, or place?

Well, they don't, but I as their author do... the song "I See The Light" usually comes to mind when I'm writing about their relationship.  Just... because. :)

4. What kind of things do they like to do together?

Talk about books.  Talk about life in general.  Laugh.

5. Describe their relationship as a whole in 3 words or less.

Took long enough!
(That's a slightly paraphrased quote from Rodney's sister Mercy, by the way. :D)

And to cap it all off, I present you with a picture of the lovely couple.  I amaze myself with my amazing Photoshopping skills at times.  Quite lovely, no? (It's okay.  You can say no.  I won't die of anguish.  Well, I might, but I won't tell you and so you won't feel bad.)


Hayden said...

heehee...great doctored photo. For laughing purposes. :)

Your story sounds delightful!!!! I want to read it SO badly- and from what I have read, the actors you chose look very much like how I would picture your characters :)

Rodney sounds awesome :)

Emily said...

ooh I loved this!! Your book sounds SOO good! I want to read it! Lovely post! =)

Alexandra said...

HAHAHAHHA!!! I did TONS of photoshopping for our various stories. I love yours. Hmmm, you might recieve a present of a photoshopped pic in the future now that I know the characters...

And wasn't this tag so fun? I LOVED your answers!!!!

Miss Dashwood said...

If it made you laugh, it fulfilled its purpose. Heehee. :D
I'm so glad you like Rodney. "I must confess that I think [him] as delightful a character as ever appeared in [any of my stories], and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like [him] at least, I do not know." :P

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

Well, really I shouldn't call it Photoshopping because I didn't use Photoshop (and don't know how, heehee). More accurately, it would be Fotoflexing. :D
This tag was WAY too much fun! I'm looking forward to next month!

Melody said...

Oooh! So that's what Elizabeth looks like! I am glad, because I've always liked the looks of Bella Wilfer. :D
I can't really imagine away her brown hair however... I'm sorry I'm not the thing. *snorts* (Bleak House quote...)

Haha... I like how you spelled 'Knightley'. :D

Hehe, the part about the window/wall MMG.

I have to go, so I'll read the rest & comment later. :D

Jessica said...

Thankyou for commenting on my Reading Room wall words. ;-)I almost forgot about "tootuz"! Sad how quickly children grow up. :-( Melody did tell you where she got that, right? Ha

Miss Dashwood said...

Don't apologize for not being quite the thing-- after all, you ARE a child, only a child, right? :D
Heehee, I did restrain myself from calling him Austen the Knightley, as you might have noticed. :P

Yep, Melody told me where she got that. :D It's become a catchphrase with us now, and she suggested that I say it to you and see what you said. :)

Anonymous said...

This is Melody... I just don't want to take the time to sign in... I'm in a hurry...

Finally read the rest! =)

Austen the Knightley??
Oh! Yeah. I had almost forgotten about that. (Nooo, of COURSE that wasn't a hint...;) )

Hahaha, Jessica, that's funny that she actually did that... hahaha...

I have to go. (Don't forget to chuse 2 characters for me, Mousie. But I think you might end up with a lot of skipped questions. Just a Warning. ha)

Hope's Treasures said...

this sounds like a sweet normal story, I think we have lost the beauty of a normal story in the day in which we love, simple and yet heart warming. I will be happy to hear more about it.
Rachel Hope