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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Character Clinic: Evelyn Oneeye

Before I forget, you have two chances to win my Writer's Guide to Personality Types! Click over to read the guest post I did at Keli Gwyn's blog and at Tori's Book Faery blog! I'm also doing a giveaway of one of the four guides at Kathy Harris' Divine Detour blog, so please stop by! As if that weren't enough, I'm also over at Casey Herringshaw's blog. Whew!

This week's assessment is for Timothy, which will be my first free mini-character assessment from my website (meaning, Timothy filled out my character intake form found if you click here).

Timothy's writing a medieval fantasy about Evelyn Oneeye*, a woman disowned on her wedding night when she ran off with Tobias*. The two lived as happy bandits until Tobias died, leaving Evelyn pregnant and alone. Five years later, she has become the personal guard to Baron Damian Lutin, but she isn't thought of very highly in court and is something of a anomaly because of a large crocodile tattoo that coils around her face and body and the fact that she has one eye and wears an eyepatch. Her son is her outward protection against any romantic advances. When all of humanity shift into centaurs, Evelyn finds solace in an abandoned town and a wounded champion fighting dog she nurses back to health and names Horrible. She learns that her son didn't survive the change and Tobias' spirit visits and tells her to go back to her family. Evelyn exposes Baron Lutin as a traitor and earns the title of Kingsman (she is now Lady Evelyn Oneeye). She has a run-in with her father, Sor, who seeks reconciliation with her after all this time.

* Names have not been changed to protect the fictional. It is fictional.

Timothy wants to know: How long might Evelyn use the dog Horrible as a sort of substitute lover? What can I expect when she finally meets someone who isn't trying to betray her or screw her over and lets him inside the walls? I'm just shooting in the dark with her father disowning her. Apart from a motivating factor of fear on Sor's part, what would cause him to seek reconciliation? What can I expect when her father attempts to reach out to her?

My first all-out fantasy! Centaurs? Awesome.

Evelyn --

You believe you have to be seen as tough, yet deep down, you're vulnerable. You put it all on the line for the love of Tobias, and it cost you. The death of a partner, especially a young love such as the portrait your author painted (and you were only together 5 years or so, right?) is very traumatic. Generally it takes 2-3 years for a person to feel ready to move on, so you're well past that rule of thumb guideline.

You meet up with Horrible who is even more vulnerable than you are. You probably instantly connected with this animal, and perhaps even see him as a substitute son since you don't have yours around. It's a fine line between Horrible as a substitute lover when you think about it--your author mentioned that you used your son to ward off romantic attachments. Now you're using the dog, only instead of an external shield, he's an internal one.

Horrible doesn't demand anything from you. He's loyal, faithful, would do anything for you. You might even despair of ever finding a true human/centaur match that will quite measure up to such a high bar. Horrible is comfortable, and doesn't bring the threat of possibly opening up to someone else. However, it's important for you to realize that Tobias wasn't perfect. After all, he left you to an early death, however not his fault that might have been. This fact, more than others, might come to make you more bitter towards Tobias than deifying of him.

About your're initial thoughts of him trying to reconcile with you to have someone to look out for him in his old age are just that...initial knee-jerk reactions. When you can get past the immediate defense that his attempt at reconciliation inspires in you, it might be helpful to realize that Sor is in the Late Adulthood phase of Erik Erikson's Stages of Development (which is 55-65 to Death).

Sor is trying to make sense of his life, and that includes all the choices he had to make, right or wrong. At this point in his development, he's warring between integrity and despair. Integrity is what he's grasping at by approaching you. He wants to fill content with like, that his life has meaning and that he's made a contribution to the world. He's fighting despair at his perceived failures (clearly) and is likely doubting whether anything he said or did was worth it.

I hope this has been helpful, but I'd love to see you back on the couch to go deeper.


McKenzie McCann said...

My, you really have a gift. Everything you said makes so much sense. I always learn so much when I read this blog.

Lucy said...

Jeannie, is it possible/likely for someone to enter that Late Adult tug-o-war between integrity and despair earlier in life? If it's triggered by a series of traumatic events or crises?

I just realized that that's where my character is at, and the poor man is only forty-two! (No, I am not nice to my characters. Most of them would like to send ME to the couch.)

I love this blog, and I will be sending my own characters your way, once I get my preliminary work done.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

mckenzie - thanks so much for your kind words. i'm so appreciative of them. :)

lucy - consider the age brackets as general guidelines, not set in stone. the age you mentioned falls in the middle adulthood, which erikson said was more of a struggle between generativity (being active at work) and self-absorption/stagnation (the whole mid-life crisis thing). you can google Erik Erikson Stages of Development to read more.

i'll be looking for your characters. :)

Gyran Gymble said...

Thank you very much for the assessment, I hadn't considered that she could be bitter towards Tobias and that's already given me reason for (yet another) rewrite :)

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.