Sunday, October 23, 2011

Character Study, Jody Ellen Shafer:

This is a character sketch for my upcoming novel, Death Angel, which l hope to write in the month of November for NaNoWriMo, which I have signed up to participate in.

 Jody Shafer is a supporting character. In a "prior life," (3 years ago), Jody Shafer drove to Mexico with Rune Carmichael.* Rune went for an interview at a summer program for archaeology students. Jody went for the fun of it, and to keep her friend, Rune, company. And to drive--they drove Jody's car, a Miata, because Rune had a motorcycle which was not up to the trip. They counted hawks they saw along the way, saw coyotes and a rattlesnake. Also an armadillo. Jody had read that they could stay for free in a jail if they ask, so in some Podunk town out west, they do that. Rune is unhappy about it, but goes along. It is Jody who speaks to the Sheriff and makes the arrangements. She looks at it as an adventure. They are locked up and left alone for the night and Rune is frightened and doesn't want to do it again, so they camp at some spot with fire ants where they both get bitten. Jody is annoyed with Rune, thinking that the fire ants were much worse than the jail. (None of this happens in this book, but it is a theme for Jody and she refers back to it--much more often than Rune does, although Rune enjoyed the trip.)

 Jody loves to travel, loves road trips, smokes dope for fun (with Larry and other friends, but not with Colin McHaggerty) but is not dependent on it, has natural platinum blond hair that is almost, startlingly bright blue eyes, pale fair skin, and a smattering of reddish freckles across her nose. She dresses in faded jeans, pale-colored flannel shirts or blouses in tans and whites or beige open at the throat, and tan cowboy boots she bought on the trip to Mexico. She sometimes wears a cowboy hat. Jody is quietly pretty. Her features are regular and pleasant, her chin and nose just right, her lips sometimes pouty. She is sturdy and shapely with an inclination toward growing fatter if she isn't careful. She is excitable, cheerful, smiles a lot. Talks a lot, hugs a lot. Quick hugs with a step back afterwards. Jody loves white wine, which she shares with McHaggerty on a regular basis. She remembers getting so plastered with Rune that they fell down on the sidewalk and had to crawl back to the dorm. Rune barfed in her boots and Jody barfed in the bathroom sink. She likes to bring this story up, too, much to Rune's discomfiture.

 Jody was the only child of rich parents, had a nanny, went to a private school, and hated it. She is not at all "stuck up," and rarely tells anyone about her rich family or private school. Her parents named her Jodi, but she spells her name Jody to be less highfalutin. She often feels lonely. Jody is a senior at Syracuse University with a joint major in criminal psychology and sociology. She thinks she wants to go into police work and has already met Kathy Collins (?), the lady cop who is interested in the McHaggerty case. It is she who tells Rune to call Kathy. Jody comes into the investigation before Bart does. Jody, who was a virgin when she met McHaggerty, is having a long-term affair with the professor. She is tired of it and wants out. She doesn't know how to break it off. She uses the hospitalization and McHaggerty's affair with Eliza as an excuse to stop screwing McHaggerty, but she still cares about him--she can't help it. She feels confused about her sexuality and attracted to Rune and remembers their trip to Mexico with great fondness, wishing it had occurred to her then to make a pass at Rune. Now that Rune is on the rebound from a bad marriage, Jody thinks she might have a chance with Rune. *Note: I have changed the name of the main protagonist from Marcy Elmsford to Rune Berkana Carmichael, because I used the name Marcy for another main character in a different Ms, and do not want them to become confused in the reader's mind. Rune is the main character; Jody Shafer is a best (or good) friend.


John said...

What colorful and interesting characters Mary.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks, John--I'm so sorry about the formatting, I can't seem to get it fixed. I have so much more to do before the first! AK!