Making Alice as complex as Sherlock Holmes:

ImageCharaterization for female protagonists is made harder by gender expectation. I read an article about how few female characters are allowed to be as complex as Sherlock Holmes. Challenge Accepted!!!

Making Alice as complex as Sherlock Holmes:

Brilliant: She is the equivalent of a Professor of Botany at 17. Her enthusiasm and curiosity to ‘know’ and ‘learn’ makes her brilliant. She can ‘understand’ a new concept quickly, and then explain it to others who aren’t experts in the field.

Solitary: not by choice, but her studies have made her solitary by nature and something of a social outcast as an ‘educated woman’ in an era where women are treasured more for their decorative virtues and their ability to have children.

Abrasive:  She does have a tendency to look down upon women who choose to remain ignorant, and men who want women to remain ignorant.  She speaks her mind. As well, what might be considered assertive for a man will be seen as abrasive in a woman or girl. She might be considered very abrasive by the pompous men of the Royal Society, simply by existing and refusing to be cowered.

Bohemian: one who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices. Friends with Felix and other social outcasts on the ‘edges’ of society. As well, Amélie has a wide range of friends in the Arts, which she introduces to Alice.

Whimsical: some of her experiments have certainly been whimsical in nature: the glowing flowers, the floating flowers.

Brave: When she wakes up alone in a strange room, she doesn’t panic. Even in small ways she is brave, like in the first time we ‘meet’ her entering a hall full of pompous old men who she knows disapprove of her.

Sad: she is sad on a lot of levels. She still mourns her parents, missing and presumed dead (though she still has a faint hope they will be found alive). She is lonely for friends her own age and intellectual level.

Manipulative:  Now, she is flirting with James to make Mark jealous. Should work on this characteristic to make it more overt.

Neurotic: She can’t leave the idea of a ‘green man’ alone. She needs the approval of the Royal Society. She isn’t certain of her ‘femininity’ thanks to the constant pressure to conform to society against her intellect and nature.

Vain: intellectually and physically, she is very vain. And proud.

Untidy: Generally careless of her hair and dress. Extremely tidy in her workrooms and lab, much less so in her rooms and wardrobe (to the despair of her personal maid). Make her maid more of a character? Have her ‘grooming’ the maid as an assistant and as a friend.

Fastidious: Very much so with her laboratory and library. Very organized and extremely picky about the quality of her implements, equipment and materials. Painstaking her work, wanting everything to be perfect.

Artistic: drawing and painting her botanical specimens!  Being friends with Felix has drawn her into poetry and theatre. Likes to read novels for relaxation, and worries that her tastes are rather ‘low’ in her reading matter.

Courteous: Always polite to all and sundry. Her manners are perfect, as she is a natural lady.

Rude; Is very rude once her blood is up … James and his father find out exactly how rude. Doesn’t suffer fools and cruelty.

Polymath genius: Along with Botany, interested in every biological science to some extent, so an excellent understanding of zoology, ecology, geology and climatology. She loves astronomy, and believes the moon and stars effect the growing cycles of her plants (and is undertaking a long term experiment to gain empirical data to support her theory). She has to be a pretty good anatomist and chemist (fertilizer and hormones and such) to make her green man. Very good at math, as she has to make calculations and measurements, keep a good track of time and make excellent notes. She is well read and can play the piano (rather badly).

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Filed under Characterization, Steampunk Work-in-Progress, writing

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