In Which I Analyze My Own Character by Means of Fictional Ones

Two orders of business: firstly, if my language sounds stiff it is because for the past week I’ve been studying St. Thomas More for school, and having both read a book by William Roper on the subject and finished watching A Man for All Seasons less than an hour ago, using contractions seems… odd.

Secondly, I am writing this in a notebook on the way to Algebra tutoring, as I have limited my computer time to an hour a day for Lent – because of which the blog has suffered. Suffice to say, it’s Holy Week now, so I should be back in the swing of things post-Easter. (Speaking of, I’m so excited!)

On Saturday I got into a discussion about my favorite characters in books and movies, and how they all tend to be grouchy or unpleasant. It’s not the case 100% of the time, but it seems that more often than not the characters I like the most are the endearingly (I think) cranky ones. I think it’s interesting to contrast the characters I most relate to with the ones I most admire – I think it says something about who I am.

When I was younger, I always loved the fiery characters: the ones with the bright red hair and the sizable tempers – usually in the form of princesses who refuse to marry and go off to be knights or something instead. I admired feistiness. (Still do.)

Aside from this, I’ve always had a love for the snarky and slightly cranky characters: Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh (funnily enough, I was never too fond of Rabbit – I liked Tigger too much, I guess: “T-I-double-guh-errrr…”), Lucy from Peanuts, Miss Piggy from the Muppets, Grumpy from Snow White, Constance, the sleepy, grouchy, hyper-intelligent three-year-old from The Mysterious Benedict Society…

I think I loved them because they were a little like me: sarcastic, a little bit pessimistic, and overly fond of scowling. (I like to pretend I’m more mature now, but as I routinely make displeased groaning noises, roll around on the floor in protest of things, bare all my teeth like an uneasy chimpanzee when someone pulls out a camera, and frequently use the word “Pooh!” as an expletive, well… I perjure myself if I deny the evidence.) As I’ve grown, this affinity for the characters everyone else thought were mean grew with me – I still have it.

I love Artemis Fowl and I have loved him from book 1, even when he was kind of a jerkface who, despite his genius, didn’t quite have any common sense. I love Holden Caulfield, who’s a little annoying. I love these characters not only because they personify my lack of patience with a good 90% of society, but also because they have hearts, and big ones – you just have to look for them. The crankiest people are really the biggest softies…. You just have to crack the shell. (But you knew that, I’m sure you’ve seen Up.) Artemis and Holden are scornful by nature, and big sissies inside. I love them.

Looking to literature, the characters I identify with speak volumes about me, but the characters I idealize speak just as much.

For example, in my favorite Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing, I am very much like Beatrice – a little rude, witty, always looking for a laugh… and sometimes I can be unintentionally mean. However, as dear as Beatrice is to my heart (especially how she melts for Benedick), I long to be more like the Lady Hero. (You’re getting insight into my name, if you haven’t caught onto that yet.) Hero is cheerful, goodnatured, mild, and polite… She is liked by all, laughs a lot, but can pull off a wicked prank when she wants to.

This says nothing about myself that I didn’t already know; when asked what I would change about myself, I always say I wish I wasn’t quite so loud. Gentleness and a cheerful temperament are things with which I was not born, just a desire for them. I am not Snow White, I’m a bit like Alice – tripping over my own feet as I get lost in my insane Wonderland – shouting at things and being clumsy. It’s a bit of divine irony, that I was born as a Beatrice who wants desperately to be a Hero. (Though, if memory serves, the original Beatrice wants to be more like her cousin, too.)

At the same time, I do recognize that while this divine irony exists, God made me as I am for a reason. My mom told me once that when other homeschool moms said they wouldn’t let their daughters do this or that because they wanted them to have a “quiet soul”, she thought it was frankly ridiculous – some people are born with quiet souls, but others are not… After all, becoming a saint takes audacity as well as humility. That being said, let’s keep going with this analysis.

The next character is Jo March, from Little Women. I love Jo – I love how she’s tomboyish and loves to read and isn’t always a little ray of sunshine. She accidentally sets things on fire and isn’t afraid to scowl. She’s got a big heart and an even bigger personality. I relate to Jo very much, but I relate to Meg as well, in her love of pretty things and, well, her vanity. Of the “little women”, I most admire Beth – once again, for her quiet, cheerful gentleness.

I want to be a saint and I want to be meek and ladylike. I’m not – I try, but I’m not predisposed to it – so my track to sainthood looks more like the track of St. Athanasius, who used his stubborn and argumentative nature to debate and defeat heresy, or St. Thomas More, who stood true to the Church in difficult times. A Man for All Seasons portrays St. Thomas as stubborn, resolute, and a little bit of a crank. I am more like him than St. Therese of Liseaux or St. Bernadette – I’m loud, and I think I’m loud for a reason. I need to figure out how to be a saint in my own boisterous fashion.

The rest of this post is devoted to Jane Austen, as she’s been on my mind thanks to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries ending and the fact that I worked a quote from her into my Richard III paper and I am exceeding pleased by it. (“The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man.”) There are two Austen characters that I’ve been told I’m quite similar to: Emma, from the novel of the same name, and Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice (specifically in the incarnation of Lizzie from the Diaries –  Frankie once asked me if I’d gotten some of my mannerisms from her; I hadn’t.)

I’m like Emma & Lizzy both in my frequent inability to think before I speak. Emma likes to meddle – I’m kind of meddlesome. My friend Nick calls me a matchmaker: I don’t like to sit and watch things happen if I can help along the process. I am, as D says, a mite “pushy”. I also see a similarity to myself in the way Emma acts rashly and then bitterly regrets it. “It was badly done, Emma.” Boy, do I know the feeling. As for Lizzy, I am predisposed to judge – all too quickly, it seems – only to have my opinions change upon further inspection. Like Lizzy, I am sometimes injured by those of the male race – and have to cope by proclaiming them losers and laughing at them, vowing to become an old maid, like Lizzy does, because there’s not really anything else I can do unless I want to go mad. I also see myself in how Lizzy always has a snappy comeback and isn’t afraid to admit her shortcomings. I wish I was Jane, but I’m not, and that’s okay. In 16 years of life, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s to like who I am. If I don’t, everything becomes grey and miserable. In fact, there’s a St. Catherine of Siena quote that fits the situation quite well: “What is it you want to change? Your hair, your face, your body? Why? For God is in love with all those things and He might weep when they are gone.” Why do I want to change myself? Adopting virtue, growing in grace, those are good things to change about myself. But to throw myself over entirely and become someone else? Would God weep?

So I’m me: Emma/Jo/Lizzy/Meg/Alice/Thomas More/Mr. Frederickson/Holden/Oscar the Grouch. I am loud, stubborn, hardworking, snarky, outgoing, unabashed, meddlesome, clumsy, spirited, and I never shut up. But I have a heart so big it sometimes makes me wish I had otherwise, and like Lizzie, Jo, and Beatrice, I can see when I need to step back and strive for the virtue of Jane, Beth, and Hero.

Well.

I try, at least.

Best wishes and much love to you all,
Hero

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In My World, It’s Sunday

To be fair, it’s technically still the weekend, since it’s Memorial Day. *pwn*

Anyway, here’s the last bio before Camp NaNo starts on Friday. Enjoy! 🙂

Name: Eila

Age: 21

Height: 5’1″

Eye color: Red

Physical appearance: Gaunt, yellowy-white skin, sunken eyes with glittering red irises, chapped, bleeding lips, matted black hair, ragged fingernails, and hands permanently stained blood red. She’s always covered in a layer of filth and scratching and rubbing at her hands, trying to get the blood off. Saliva drips from her mouth.

Strange physical attributes: Um, how about the red eyes and the bloody hands?

Favorite clothing style: Longs for her former wardrobe of gowns and tiaras and luxury, but all she has to wear now is the tattered remnants of what used to be her undershift.

Where does she live? Eildur – in the dungeons of the castle. [Random Tale of Despereaux reference: “To the dungeons! To the dungeons!”]

Defining gestures: Always snarling and muttering to herself, eyes madly darting about, fingers twitching.

Things about her appearance she would most like to change: She doesn’t care – all she wants is a crown on top of her filthy matted hair.

Speaking style: Varies from frantic muttering, growling, screeching like a banshee, and whispering slowly in a smooth, alluring tone.

Pet peeves: Everything. Basically.

Fondest memory: Her former life in the lap of luxury as heir to the throne.

Hobbies: Manipulating people and plotting how to break out of prison. You know. Standard stuff.

Special skills: Magic, for one; manipulation, seduction… She sort of has a lunatic/genius thing going on.

Insecurities: Doesn’t have time for insecurities. (Also, thinks she’s the greatest, ever, so even if she did have time, she wouldn’t have any.)

Quirks/Eccentricities: I think it’s pretty obvious at this point, but to reiterate: the woman has freaking lost her mind. She is a raving lunatic. 

Temperament: Crazy. And evil. Obviously.

Negative traits: …Everything. She’s got serious anger issues, she tries to kill people all the time, she wants to topple society and rule her own little twisted version of the world. Prospect = not good.

Things that upset her: Setbacks, not affecting people the way she wants, not getting what she wants, and people who question/don’t respect her ‘authority.’

Things that embarrass her: Failure and disgrace. [“Honorrrrrr!” *dies*]

This character is highly opinionated about: Herself. And everyone else. And, yeah.

Any phobias: Pure magic.

Things that make her happy: Successful plans, power, and knowing that she has deprived someone of something they’ve deprived her of – she enjoys ‘restoring the balance’, as it were.

Family: The royal family of Eildur. Used to be good and noble rulers (and still are), but have become shells of their former selves since the death of their [SPOIIIIIILER] and the imprisonment of their raving mad daughter.

Deepest darkest secret: This woman is nothing but secrets.

Other people’s opinions of this character: They are afraid of her.

Philosophy of life: I do what I want and get what I want and I dispose of those who get in my way.

Physical health: Pretty bad. Aside from being stark, raving mad, she’s malnourished and weak. A rather inconvenient side effect of prison.

Dream vacation: Anywhere outside of prison… Probably going on a trip to oppress her subjects of Eildur – she would enjoy that.

Description of her house: The castle, down in the jail.

Description of her bedroom: Jail cell. Fleas, rats, straw, stone, rot, and some bars on the window. You get the idea. It’s also an enchanted jail cell – there’s no way out besides death. Once that door is closed, it’s closed forever.

Pets? Yeah. [SPOILER.]

Best thing that has ever happened to this character: She was named heir.

Worst thing: Probably her discovery of magic. It corrupted her.

Three words to describe this character: Stark. Raving. Mad.

Antagonist Questions

Why is she facing off against the protagonist? Caerwyn put her in prison, and she’s the one keeping her there. Eila can hold a judge.

Any likable traits? She is very vulnerable, which isn’t exactly likable, but it shows that she’s human. Unfortunately, she tends to exploit her weakness by using it to inspire pity/sympathy.

Weaknesses: PRIDE.

Note: Eila wasn’t always this crazy and evil – it’s like she’s been possessed, honestly. As a teenager she discovered magic, but because she fueled her magic with pride, it turned to Poisoned Magic and completely corrupted her. She just lost herself to the magic.

On a random side note, I got a job! I work from home on the computer, which is awesome. 🙂 Also, for the first time in weeks I practiced my orchestra audition pieces to my satisfaction… And I still have six days until my audition. If I practice like this every day, I just might make it! I am momentarily not freaking out. Let’s hope it lasts. *deep breaths*

Of course, now that I’m not freaking out about that, I have to find something else to worry about… Namely college. I still have no idea where I’m going/what I’m doing, and since I am now a rising junior, that’s starting to stress me… My mom mentioned the other day that I should consider law – I never liked the idea, BUT I’ve had so many people tell me that I would be a great lawyer, so I won’t rule it out just yet. 😉

Oh – and could you guys please pray for my mom? She has a splitting headache and has been in bed, sick, all day. She’s feeling really crummy. 😦

Thanks!

~Hero

P.S. 

Yes.

Heh. Heh. (Eoin’s Bio)

…Hi guys. So I’ve been plot charting. And watching The Legend of Korra. And then going old school and watching the original series. (“SECRET TUNNEL! SECRET TUNNEL! THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS! SECRET TUNNELLLL!”)

I also watched Return of the King last night and cried like a little girl. I can’t help it! They bow to the hobbits! And Legolas and Aragorn and everybody… and then FRODO LEAVES AND PIPPIN CRIES AND I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT!!! *bawls*

So, yeah. I’m still freaking out about auditions, of course, but I’m pretending I’m not… Right now I’m just reveling in how awesome it is to be an earthbender and pretending my cello is not sitting twenty feet away from me, nagging me to practice.

*ahem*

Anyway, as promised, here’s Eoin’s bio. (I completely love Eoin. Just saying.)

Name: Eoin

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Appearance: Red hair, thick and long enough that it grazes his eyebrows, but not so long that it obscures his eyes or covers his ears. Pretty muscular, makes him look slightly chunky. Has a big goofy grin that endears him to everyone. Fairly tan, but not brown.

Height: 6’1″

Strange or unique physical characteristics: Is much more graceful than he looks.

Favorite clothing style/outfit: Actually enjoys getting into his official initiate uniform and dressing up for parties (unlike Caerwyn, who hates anything fancy or stuffy).

Where does he live? Eildur Castle.

What is it like?  See Caerwyn’s bio – note that Eoin doesn’t spend time in the dungeons, as they’re not his assignment.

Defining gestures: Talks with his hands, waving them around all over the place; when he’s trying to figure out what to say, he furrows his brows and scowls a little.

Things about his appearance he would like to change: His weight – he feels like a baby-faced kid.

Speaking style: Loud, animated, fast. He’s very talkative.

Pet peeves: Arrogance, same as Caerwyn, but also negativity (on the part of others). He hates it when people mope around and are depressing all over the place.

Fondest memory: When he received the request for him to begin Initiation – he never thought he’d make the cut.

Hobbies/Interests: He, like Caerwyn, doesn’t have a lot of free time, but he very much enjoys music and wishes he could play an instrument. His main hobby is making people laugh.

Special skills/abilities: He puts people at ease. People feel comfortable talking to him.

Insecurities: He feels like a dork and that Caerwyn will never love him because he’s too derpy. [Oh my goodness, my brain while I was writing.]

Quirks: Laughs in a strange way – sounds like he’s hiccuping/weeping. [If you’ve seen any Messy Monday outtake videos, think of Jordan’s laugh – it’s like that.]

Temperament: Easygoing. Comfortable and content. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have drive, but he’s happy in every stage and moment in life on the way to where he’s going.

Negative traits: Doesn’t give himself enough credit. He also belittles himself.

Things that upset him: When the people he loves are hurt or upset.

Things that embarrass him: Himself. Eoin finds a lot of things about himself, or his words or his actions, embarrassing.

This character is highly opinionated about: What’s right and what’s wrong.

Any phobias? Nope – nothing you could label a phobia.

Things that make him happy: Eoin is happy all the time, generally, but Caerwyn is what ‘makes him happy’, per se.

Family: Oldest of seven kids – he’s always been under a lot of pressure to be a good role model, and never felt like he was.

Deepest darkest secret: Is hugely in love with Caerwyn.

Reason he has kept this secret for so long: Is afraid of rejection, of course, and it’s not like it ever came up.

Other people’s opinions of him: He’s friends with everyone, and everyone likes him. They don’t like how he’s so down on himself, though… It gets annoying.

Favorite books: Doesn’t have a lot of time to read, but he enjoys a good fantasy story – dragons and whatnot.

Favorite foods: Stew from the castle kitchens, fresh out of the pot, in the company of good friends.

Physical health: Very good – strong, fit, healthy.

Dream vacation: Doesn’t care. He’d go anywhere as long as he was with Caerwyn.

Description of his house: He lives in the initiate’s dorm, like Caerwyn.

Description of his bedroom: He’s in the standard dorm – plain stone walls, three simple beds and a chest at the end of each bed.

Best thing that ever happened to him: Caerwyn [This bio is a lot sappier than I thought it was when I wrote it… Whatever.]

Worst thing: The princess. Also [SPOIIIIIILER].

Superstitions: Slightly afraid of magic because of the princess going NUTS.

Three words to describe this character: Content, loyal, strong.

Supporting Character Questions

Relationship to protagonist: best friend & love interest

Favorite thing about the protagonist: her humility and her perserverance

Similarities to protagonist: white initiate like her, also very loyal like she is

Differences: more talkative, slightly more optimistic, but also less humble than she is (in a self-derogatory way)

Anyway. I’ve changed Princess Serafina’s name to Princess Eila – it sounds more Gaelic, and it makes sense that she’d be named after the kingdom (Eildur) since she’s royalty. I’ll have her bio up tomorrow.

Caerwyn Bio [Part 2]

Good morning! For once I’m posting on time instead of last minute. 🙂

Today I bring to you the rest of Caerwyn’s bio and a quick update on what I’m doing… But we’ll save the best for last as an incentive for you to slog through the rest of this bio. 😛 So, without further ado:

Other people’s opinions of her: Most view her as loyal and hardworking and a friendly girl, but some people give her a hard time because she’s famous for catching Serafina [the evil princess]. [She has the ‘Mr Potter… Our new celebrity…’ syndrome.]

Favorite books: Not much of a scholar, but she does enjoy fairy tales when she has time.

Favorite foods: She’ll eat anything, but she loves hiking outside the city walls with some bread and cheese in a cloth and eating up in a tree somewhere.

Religion: Vaguely Christian… Her morals system follows the Christian teaching, but she also believes that if you put good in, you get good out. (Some sort of loose karma system.)

Physical health: Very good. She’s kept on a rigorous exercise regiment with her training.

Dream vacation: A week in the countryside all by herself with no one to please and nothing to do. She’d go nuts after two days, but she figures it would be better than being constantly kept on her feet.

Description of her house: The initiates’ dormitory is on the east wing of the castle at the very edge. The castle is tall and made of white stone [this is a tie-back to Caerwyn… Ten points if you can figure it out] and the hallways are hoping and airy, with lots of light coming from open walkways. The castle bleeds into the city walls, so you can feasibly get from the castle roof to anywhere on the outskirts of town.

Description of her bedroom: Caerwyn can’t be put in the normal dormitories because she isn’t a boy and can’t room with one. So her bedroom is the disused library on the top floor. It’s two levels, the top of which is an open loft type thing, about 5′ by 6′, where Caerwyn has put her mattress and hung a curtain for privacy. All her clothes are kept in a trunk on the main level next to a changing screen. It sounds spacious, but it really isn’t – the main floor is only 11′ by 12′ because the walls are lined with deep bookshelves, and some of that space is taken up by the stairs to the second level. It’s small, but it’s clean and it’s home – Caerwyn loves it.

Best thing that ever happened to her: Eoin (yeah, this is cheesy, but it’s true and you’ll see it)

Worst thing: Discovering the [SPOIIIIIILER], still [SPOIIILERING] out into her hands.

Superstitions: Nothing really scares her except Serafina.

Three words to describe this character: Determined, loyal, and humble. [Basically, she’s a Hufflepuff, haha.]

Wednesday is Eoin’s bio! I love Eoin. 😀

Anyway, yesterday I spent the day at a Catholic Homeschool conference, and even though I didn’t do a lot, I talked to some students at Catholic colleges, and one of them is starting to sound really awesome to me… I won’t say which one it is in case I end up going there, but it looks incredible, and I can’t wait to go visit the campus. 🙂

My friends Violet and Kaira had their graduation yesterday and it was awesome. Kaira’s slideshow thing made me cry… It was so cute.

My orchestra audition is coming up soon and I’m completely terrified. Aughhhh… And then Camp NaNo is coming up and I haven’t finished as many of my biographies or plot charts as I want to, but then again, that’s NaNo. 😛

Anyway, I should probably go practice my cello. Talk to you Wednesday!

~Hero

Caerwyn Bio [Part 1]

So, I’m really, really excited about Camp NaNo. Like, really excited. I’m so excited about my novel idea and my characters… I’m thinking about it 24/7. (You know, when I’m not freaking out about my cello audition… But that’s a given.)

Proof:

Those are my Theology of the Body notes from Sunday, on which I doodled my four main characters in profile. (Rhys was more difficult than the others, lol.) Serafina (the girl with the huge fuzzy hair) is the bad guy – I’m considering changing her name, because the other characters are Caerwyn, Eoin, and Rhys… Gaelic name, Gaelic name, Gaelic name, and then a name that sounds like it came out of a Barbie movie. Suggestions welcome, leave them in comments.

Anyway, because I’m so excited, I am going to devote my blog posts from now until June to revealing bits and pieces of my novel. Starting today with my protagonist’s character biography! It’s rather long, so I’m going to split it into two posts. Apologies for how scattered this is – it only really has to make sense to me, so I tend to write the way I think… In short, fragmental bursts.

Name: Caerwyn (currently last-name-less)

Age: 17

Gender: Female

Appearance: Very tall and muscular, but not overly so. Has defined muscles, but not bulging. Long wavy brown hair, tied back with a white ribbon. Brown eyes that glow with a silver aura when she performs magic. Not really tan, but not super pale either. A few freckles.

Height: 5’10”

Strange or unique physical characteristics: Stronger than she looks, terrible singing voice unless she’s using her magic.

Favorite clothing style/outfit: Loose tunic and breeches for training, or official uniform when on duty. Anything but the gown she’s forced to wear for galas.

Where does she live? Eildur Castle.

What is it like?  – Eildur Castle is the capitol of the kingdom – the city & castle walls are built of white stone. The streets are bustling and safe. The only unsavory part of the city are the dungeons… Unfortunately, that’s where Caerwyn spends most of her time.

Defining gestures: Punctuates her sentences with hand motions, chews her lip when she’s thinking, curls and uncurls fingers before performing a spell (focusing on the rhythm of her hands clears her mind)

Speaking style: Tends to be more thoughtful. She’s short and to the point, unless she’s with her friends.

Pet peeves: Arrogance. She knows that a true knight is humble, so the jerk initiates get on her nerves. Also ignorance.

Fondest memory: Her father giving her her first sword during the initiation ceremony.

Hobbies/Interests: Swordplay, juggling, going down to the tavern with her friends, dancing.

Special skills/abilities: Magic, for one. She’s a fast learner and a good listener.

Insecurities: She worries that she won’t make full knight, that she’s not good enough to hold back the princess, and on the rare occasions that she wants to feel pretty, she doesn’t.

Quirks: Mind is quietest before a fight. Thinks better if she’s doing something with her hands.

Temperament: Not shy, but not outgoing either. Everyone knows her, but she counts very few as her friends.

Negative traits: Lets her anger and emotions build up inside of her until it all comes out in one explosive outburst.

Things that upset her: Disappointing her superiors, feeling inadequate.

Things that embarrass her: Screwing up a drill or screwing up on the job. Also waking up and realizing how drunk she was the night prior. 😉

This character is highly opinionated about: DUTY.

Any phobias? Not anything major.

Things that make her happy: Being with her friends, accomplishment.

Family: Mother and Father are nobles from an outlying kingdom. Always taught Caerwyn that she could be anything she wanted in life – didn’t expect her to run off and become a knight.

Deepest darkest secret: Serafina terrifies her. She still has nightmares about the ‘incident’.

Reason she has kept this secret for so long: She’s afraid that she will be removed from her post and deemed unworthy for full knighthood.

And that’s it for now. I’ll post the second half on Sunday.

In other news, I crashed my bike yesterday, but I’m okay aside from some bruises and a sprain in my neck. C’est la vie. See, Nick, this is why I don’t exercise. It’s dangerous!

~Hero