I’ve decided to participate Beautiful People this month. It’s a monthly meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further In in which writers answer questions about their characters.
This month I will be focusing on Yuliana, the narrator of the epic fantasy project I am 40,000 words, or just under halfway, into rewriting.
What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
I’m not sure. Her personality is a lot like mine. I suppose that aspect of her is inspired by myself, but not much else is. Her appearance, personal history, and interests are very different from my own.
I tend to write a few scenes from the perspectives individuals with various characteristics until I find which character(s) I feel are most capable of telling the story, and even then a lot about the narrator(s) changes throughout my first draft.
The first character I cast for the role of this story’s protagonist was actually male, and his personality was about as close to the opposite of Yuliana’s as it’s possible to get. That draft didn’t last long.
Describe their daily routine.
My main character’s routine changes in a way that makes going back to the way things were at the beginning of the story impossible very quickly. For this reason, I will be sharing what her routine was like before the story started because her routine throughout the story is radically different.
For this to make sense I need to give a little background information. In the first chapter of the book Yuliana is a palace servant who doubles as a spy for the queen who also happens to be her mother, but this fact is known only to the two of them.
Yuliana wakes up early in the morning to take care of delivering breakfast to the palace nobility and taking care of whatever else she has been assigned to do that particular morning. Often she’ll spend an extra long amount of time with her mother in the morning, especially if her mother has any particular information she wants Yuliana to gather on someone in the palace that day.
The rest of her day is spent trying to find a way to work getting as close as possible to whoever she is supposed to be gaining information on while completing the tasks she’s been assigned for the day. That night, she will report her findings to her mother and go to sleep exhausted.
If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
Not sure that she would fit into any. She’d probably spend a lot of time compiling information about her fellow students, but not really joining any clique. She gained her current education by spying on the nobility’s children during their lessons, after all.
Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives…
- The fact that her mother won’t publicly acknowledge her as her first born child.
- The frequent threats on her life.
- Her mother’s refusal to talk about her father.
- Her half sister, the crown princess, with whom she has a love-hate relationship.
- The looks most people give her in the rare times that they acknowledge her existence.
- Dairy products, she’ll eat them if they’re the only food available, but does not like them.
How do they react in awkward silences?
She experiences these quite often, but it depends heavily on the circumstances and who she is talking to. If they’re someone important she might wait for them to dismiss her. If not she might flee the room on her own or wait for someone to continue speaking.
Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?
It’s very hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that some people can’t swim. Where I live everyone learns to swim or they will die– okay, not really, but they’re at a significantly greater chance of it.
My protagonist’s culture is similar in this regard, but worse. As in, if you can’t swim you really will die. Yuliana learned when she was too young to remember. Probably with some of the palace staff’s children.
What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
When Yuliana was younger her mother sent her to live with a group of people who didn’t care for her very well for a few years. The queen was worried that if Yuliana remained in the palace her ancestry would be too clear. Yuliana hated living there, and having to hide everything about herself from everyone.
When her mother, the only person who knew the truth about Yuliana, came back into her life she was terrified to lose her, and with her the ability to talk to someone openly, again. She became entirely devoted to her mother so she would never have a reason to send Yuliana away again.
What things do they value most in life?
Yuliana doesn’t own much in the way of physical possessions, but she highly values the island where she lives and her own anonymity.
Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
She gave her mother a second chance after feeling like she’d abandoned her, so yes. However, both as a result of what happened with her mother and keeping so much about herself a secret Yuliana has major trust issues. She basically doesn’t trust anyone at the beginning of the story. She trusts people at various levels throughout the rest, but it’s hard for her.
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?
Yuliana tries to keep herself busy when things aren’t going well. She’ll find so many things to do that by the end of the day she will collapse into an exhausted heap. Who she will interact with to try to make herself feel better varies heavily based on which part of the story is being referenced.