Today I’m participating in Beautiful People, a monthly linkup about WRITING hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In! One of my goals for 2016 is to slowly but surely become more comfortable sharing and talking about my writing with others, and one of the ways I intend to do that is by participating in this linkup every month!
I talked about my short story about zombies in both January and February, so I want to talk about something different in March! This time, I’m going to tell you all about Jill and Alexandrina, the lead characters in a new story I’m working on.
WELL. Technically, it’s an old story. It’s about a necromancer (Jill) and her alchemist girlfriend (Alex), and I started writing it last semester for my Creative Writing course. I put it aside for a while because A) I was having trouble figuring out how I wanted the magic system to function and B) I couldn’t really afford to spend any more time trying to figure that out at the moment since my deadline was rapidly approaching.
But now I’ve picked it up again. In my last post, I mentioned that postponing my plans to study abroad gives me a whole year to work on the writing samples I will include in my 2017 application, so… my goal is to finish this story and hopefully include it as part of my application! Even if I don’t end up using it for that, I always enjoy writing stories with happy LGBTQ+ characters… and I had a ton of fun writing this post and brainstorming more ideas about Jill and Alex!
Anyway, I’ve rambled on for long enough. Here are my answers, and I hope you enjoy learning more about my characters!
P.S. You can read more about my other stories and characters featured in previous Beautiful People posts here.
What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off of?
A conversation with Miriam Joy @ Miriam Joy Writes gave me part of the idea, but now I don’t remember how much. I know we talked about a necromancer, but I can’t remember who came up with the bit about her alchemist girlfriend. I’m pretty sure I thought of the bit about how neither one knows the other can use magic so that they both end up sneaking around their apartment trying to hide it, though.
Anyway, these two characters are named after two of my friends because on the day when I was looking for names, I was also talking to Jill (who goes to college with me) and Alex (who blogs at Miss Alexandrina Brant) on Facebook, and decided to use their names because I had nothing better at the moment.
I’ve grown to quite like my choices! Jill was super amused that I’d given such an ordinary – Midwestern-farm-girl-ish, even – name to a necromancer. And I love Alexandrina as a name because it’s not super common but you can still shorten it to a nickname that is common if you want.
In terms of looks, I saw this photo of Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey from a Game of Thrones photoshoot and it’s basically the exact aesthetic I was going for? HAPPY AND CUTE YET EVIL GIRLFRIENDS. If there were a movie, I’d want Emilia to play Jill and Lena to play Alex, mostly because I… purposely described these characters as in accordance with the actresses’ appearances.
Describe their daily routine.
I’m still trying to figure out what sort of jobs they each should have. Originally I thought Jill should work in a morgue, but that seemed too morbid and cliché. Also, it seems way too easy to just have her take bodies from the morgue – I have to make things more difficult! I need action and tension and stuff in my story and while some of that is already present because of the whole not-knowing-their-significant-other-is-magic thing, I think it would be fun if Jill had to sneak into the morgue after hours. OR MAYBE SHE GOES GRAVEROBBING.
So in version 2.0, Jill works at a flower shop. And Alex spends her days at a lab doing chemistry research, because I thought it would be fun to have one cliché – that parallel between chemistry and alchemy, you know?
Apart from jobs, one of their routines is Jill making dinner because Alex, despite her proficiency at mixing chemicals/elemental stuff, has no idea how to cook. I love writing inept characters. They remind me of myself.
If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
WHAT EVEN IS THIS QUESTION I DIDN’T GO TO HIGH SCHOOL. I guess… I guess it would be fun to go against the clichés again, because making Jill emo is too easy. She’d probably hang out with whatever group was happiest, because Jill is a happy gay ray of sunshine even though she’s a freaking necromancer.
Alex would hang out with the nerds BECAUSE SHE’S A NERD.
This question is making me think more deeply about my characters’ magical education, which can only be a good thing. CAN YOU GO TO GRAD SCHOOL FOR ALCHEMY?
Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Example: Certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives…
- Other graverobbers stealing all the best bodies
- Alex’s inedible attempts to cook
- Running out of test tubes
- People who don’t clean up their messes in the lab
- Not having figured out how to turn lead into gold yet
- Being hungry
- Those times when Jill isn’t around to make food
How do they react in awkward silences?
I’M GLAD YOU ASKED. Because they have a lot of awkward silences. Someone is always trying to hide something magical, and someone else is always freaking out because they think the other person knows about their magic when in reality they’re just trying to cover up the evidence of their own – i.e., potions or dead bodies.
In short, they both react by being even more awkward than the situation really calls for, and they get super suspicious and start spewing the most ridiculous excuses.
Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?
Jill pretends that she knows everything and is super tough, but she’s actually kinda terrified of water since she spent so much time learning magic as a kid and basically always ignored learning more practical skills such as… not drowning.
Alex can’t really swim, but she can manipulate water to some extent since her alchemy skills involve using the elements.
…now I really, really want to include a scene like this in my story, where Jill freaks out and Alex is just like “chill, I can do the thing.” AHHHH SO CUTE.
What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
I mean… to be honest… meeting each other has been super important because they’re both small and sappy gay nerds BUT other than that, finding out about magic really shaped their lives. Necromancy, alchemy, and other forms of magic can be performed by the very young without even knowing that what they’re doing is magic, but in order to get better at it and learn to control it you have to study it for years, so they were both able to do a little bit of magic when they were younger and then eventually were told that magic is real. So, pretty life-changing.
What things do they value most in life?
Magic, each other, and privacy – and not necessarily in that order. I’ve talked about magic and their relationship a lot already, so I’ll touch upon the privacy thing: The non-magic community would freak out if they knew about the existence of magic, so keeping things under wraps is a must.
Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
I mean, the plot of my story centers on how they find out that their significant other A) can do magic and B) has been hiding this from them, so yeah. They do believe in second chances.
In terms of trust issues, I think it would be fun if one or two of their non-magical neighbors in the apartment building found out about their magic. Alex and Jill would get super worried but everything would be fine in the end because it doesn’t really bother their neighbors that much. (No, not even the dead bodies or the occasional explosions.
Your character is having a rough day… what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
Jill likes to do something creative, especially if it involves making things. Alex just tends to bury herself even deeper into her work in order to distract herself, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Both of them talk to animals and inanimate objects when they’re super stressed and there are no people around to talk to, but ideally they would talk to each other, or sometimes Alex calls her mom because adulting is hard and alchemy is even harder.
What have YOU written and/or revised lately? (Have you ever included magic in one of yours stories?!) And feel free to leave a link to your Beautiful People post in the comments section below so I can read it!