I read a LOT of (mostly young-adult) books, of numerous genres, and so I’m familiar with the stereotypical characters you get in each. The feisty, doesn’t take shit from anyone heroine; the poised, beautiful but deadly girl who’s witty, charming but who is insecure about her abilities; the tough one who realises it’s okay to express emotions, that you don’t have to have your guard up all the time. I’m guessing you’d know a fair few people who could fit into the ‘typical’ mould of a protagonist. You could even fit yourself into that picture.
Then, there’s me.
With my, errm, unique personality traits, disposition and tendency to be paranoid, not believe anything people say to me, unflinching curiosity and the ability to get annoyed easily, I would simply be a disaster waiting to happen in a novel.
I will show you. This mainly consists of dialogue – enjoy!
The first meeting of the Dissenters was held in the abandoned Arena. Almost crumbled to ruin, outside the jewelled City walls yet unravaged by the Pillagers that frequented this side of the Divide, it was a perfect place to meet as not a soul would suspect this little group of going out of the Gates, or of daring to step foot in such a decrepit building. Standing, awkwardly in the centre of the room was Elm, clothed in the traditional wear of the Aschians.
“Erm, she muttered, shuffling her feet. “So, we’re all here today and I’m glad we could all make it…”
“Yeah yeah,” one of the people standing in front of her called. “Do you actually have a plan?”
“Of course I BLOODY WELL have a plan!” Elm suddenly screamed, hands clenching into fists in front of her. “You think I’d actually risk my entire life coming out here, when we might die – have you considered that? Have you thought that we’re going to fucking die one day and there’s nothing we can do about it – our Termination Date is set; you can’t escape that, and even if you could, you’d just die anyway! So NOW you ask me if I have a plan? Of course I do!”
“Elm?” murmurred another person. Please, calm down… You’re getting stressed, and that’s not good for the morale of the people-”
“Ha, you take me for some sort of leader? Yeah NO; I can’t even lead a herd of sheep and that’s why they put me on Conformity duty!” She breathed heavily, eyes narrowing.
“Sooo… You have a plan, then?”
“If I didn’t, we’d be screwed – and yes I will tell you what it is; I’m thinking; be patient! Bloody hell I wasn’t even stressed earlier – I was fine – oh Upholder, this is going to fail!”
“Just calm down! Please!”
If the spaceship had been any more decadent, it would have been visible from Earth, with its apparent turrets and inner light, from a mysterious source which eminated from the heart of the monstrosity. Corridors echoed with the clamour of unfamiliar machinery, sounds of the ‘life forms’ trapped in ponds on the ceiling, and panicked exclamations from those who had vocal chords. It was a pity, then, that Elm couldn’t really see the bustle around her: only a few flashing lights, the blinding white of the floors made of an indefinable material and the what seemed to be red, fluctuating energy which spread out from a square object in front of her.
She extended her hands, cautiously, flinching back as a strange sensation caught her fingers. “What the fuck is that?” she yelped, staggering back a step.
“That would be the Preson Generator – is that what they call it?” The voice to her left startled her, so much so that she whirled, hands coming up and forward to jab at her supposed assailant. “Woah! Woah, it’s only me; you’re safe!”
“Safe?” Elm snapped. “Right, so you expect me to believe it’s you? Yeah, I can’t see you and you know I don’t care about that but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the matter! I don’t know where I am, I don’t know what these sounds are so I’m sorry if I get pissed off at you because I don’t know what’s what any more!” Breaking off, she took in a lungful of recycled air, choking a little.
“You alright?” The figure stepped forward, gripping her arm. She stiffened.
“Yeah I’m fine, just tired, you know?”
“You always say that! Either that, or you’re tired for no reason; if you say that it’s irritating I’ll kill you!”
Elm sighed. “Right anyway – what does this thing do?” She gestured vaguely behind her, coming into contact with the substence again and shrieking in pain.
“Stop! We’re in the middle of a crisis and you’re not panicking for once – that’s an achievement! But just get away from the thing; I don’t know what it is – don’t touch it!”
“Oooh it’s so cool! Look I don’t know where to go, so I’ll just stay here…”
“Elm… Oh hell, I give up.”
The girl stood in front of Elm, wringing her hands nervously. Elm seemed just as perturbed, her hands twisting in complicated knots, her face slightly pale.
“Look, the girl whispered. “I needed to tell you… I love you, Elm.”
The only response she got was silence, followed by a slightly crazed laugh. It grew, crescendoing into a guffaw so loud that it bounced off the walls, tears of mirth sliding down her cheeks. “You… What?!”
“I-I love you. I needed to tell you before we left.” She only began to notice the vaguely unhinged look in Elm’s eyes when they were – by chance – pointed directly at her.
“You love me? Why – why would you?” Her voice was incredulous.
“Because… Because of your personality. And you’re pretty, and-”
“What specific part of my personality though? What makes you like me? It’s not like I’m anything special, and also, I’m short, and my voice sounds like a horse!”
“Your laugh is cool, and you’re helpful to others!”
“I have feelings for you too but I’m pretending I didn’t say that – and also, bullshit – I’m sorry, how can you though? It makes no sense!”
“Yeah, it does – why won’t you just relax?”
“Because I can’t – EXCUSE ME! But are you sure you like me? Love me?”
“Yes of course!” The girl was looking slightly annoyed, lips pursed, glaring at the other in front of her.
“But how do you know? What if I do something stupid? What if-”
So, there you have it. Me in a novel would be… Interesting.
How do you think you’d have reacted if you were in that situation?
From Elm 🙂