Character Interview: Lydia – Mandatory, Personal, Familial Questions

31 Jan

Note to Gwen: I promise I had this name the night before your recent flash fiction!

I used to like the idea of a “character interview” a lot, but never got very far with them. I think that’s because I knew the characters I was working with so intimately. For me, these work a lot better when you’re planning your characters rather than when you have them already. Lucky me, a little plot bunny bounced up to me out of the blue this morning with a little mini-character riding between its ears, so I thought I’d try to dig out some questions again. I used to have a formatted document with a bunch that looked nice printed out, but that went the way of the dodo a few computers ago, so I found these questions online instead. There you go–give or take 100 questions for your enjoyment. If you want to answer them for your own characters, I recommend going to the site. Aside from saving you the hassle of deleting all my answers to put your own in, I may have skipped a few questions that weren’t relevant to the character or story. (I believe these questions were developed for roleplay rather than novels).

I’m only going to do a few sections at a time. Otherwise, it would probably be more than anyone would want to read through all at once!


Mandatory Questions

1. What about you is heroic?
My ability to change and go against my very (stubborn) nature in order to seek truth and justice–after some persuading.

2. What about you is social? What do you like about people?
I enjoy interacting with all of my peers, learning the latest gossip and determining what they can do for me. I like that people can be read so easily, and that they are predictable.

5. Invent an adventure/plot that your character would actively undertake (as opposed to just tagging along)?
If ever there was an attack on my immediate family or personal servants, I would actively seek revenge with or without the help of the authorities.

Personal Questions

1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?
My birth name is Lydia Marienne (LAST NAME TO BE DETERMINED). I am known by a variety of things–Lady (LAST NAME) to the court, of course, though I tell my friends that’s my mother. Miss (LAST NAME) among my acquaintances, as we are largely equals and find the niceties tedious at times. Lydia to my family and dearest friends, and milady to the servants, of course.

2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it? 
My parents will sometimes call me Lydi, and it is a right reserved only to them. When I was younger and less decorous, my younger sister called me Lydi and I pulled her hair.

3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features)
I took after my mother in height–a middling five-foot-four. My sister must have taken after my father, as she’s just about as tall as me and not done growing yet. I was gangly in my youth, but time has seen me fill out: curvy in the hips if not, so much, in the bust (though I hardly look like a child). Cheeks and arms just plump enough to show my health but not, of course, overindulgence. My skin was once creamy-white, but the people in my new home respect the strength that comes with color in one’s cheeks, and I’ve enjoyed my time in the sun, if not the burns that sometimes come with it. The sun has also lightened my hair, bringing out golden streaks in the usually muddy blonde-brown. My sun-stroked features have brought out more blue in my eyes, which looked more like a storm-tossed sea against my pale complexion. A smattering of freckles has appeared across my daintily sloped nose. When I choose to smile–a real smile, that is–it is wide and shows nearly all of my top teeth. I am wearing my hair down at the moment, which I’ve told my mother makes me look like I’m no older than my sister. She says sixteen is no time to start acting like a grown woman, but that I may wear it up for the engagement announcement.

4. How do you dress most of the time?
In gowns, of course, of every color of the rainbow. It is the style these days for gowns to have short or even cap sleeves, often trimmed in lace like the neckline and hem, and embroidered with shiny threads in all those places too. The climate is too warm for the elaborate underskirts of the north, so the dresses largely hug the upper figure and drape over a lady’s hips, sweeping the floor. As such, we are spared the need for uncomfortable footwear and often walk about in simple slippers instead. The gowns are made from a lovely breathable material which has been a saving grace in these summer months. My very favorite gown at the moment is a green and cream affair beaded with pearls and silver. Mother said it wasn’t right for me to impose our beaded styles on the Southerners, but I overheard Lady Nickren say she was ordering one just like it for the next picnic. I am not allowed a hat yet, but I have plans for a large one topped with more flowers than you could find in the Queen’s garden.

5. How do you “dress up?”
That depends entirely on what for. There haven’t been many balls lately, as recent months have been hard, but for those we are given to fuller skirts that move with us as we twirl around the room. For riding, the southerners have done away with skirts altogether, for which I am most thankful. It’s breeches and a riding coat instead, which poofs out from the hips in a semblance of a skirt. It makes it possible to ride on hunts–and they expect that we accompany the men. It’s an entirely different affair for weddings, of course. I will be sweating in my long-sleeved, multi-layered gown, when the sleeves will come down to little points at my wrists and the train will be as long as Main Street, but I will look gorgeous every minute in purple and dove gray. I have already sent my plans to the dressmakers, they’re just waiting on father’s money.

6. How do you “dress down?”
I don’t understand this question.

7. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
A nightgown, of course. Usually white, to save on dyeing, with barely any lace or embroidery at all. There is no one to impress while you sleep.

8. Do you wear any jewelry?
Yes, of course. Necklaces simply aren’t done in the South, where the embroidery around the neckline is simply too much–anything else would look gaudy. Earrings and bracelets are more the thing, simple drops and bangles. And rings, of course–a family ring, a Sixteen ring (which everyone receives on their sixteenth birthday with their own personal seal), and, in my case, a lovely engagement ring with a sapphire in the centre.

9. In your opinion, what is your best feature?
My modesty.

10. What’s your real birth date?
(to be determined when I next get my hands on my birthday book!)

11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
In the palace, of course. I love it here–there are so many people. Back home we lived on a secluded estate on the woods, with only father’s boring state visitors and our servants for company. The palace here is far grander than any castle in the north, made for beauty rather than withstanding war. My family and I have an entire wing to ourselves. My suites themselves are generous, and I have been told that I may decorate them however I like. I’ve commissioned several paintings, but they haven’t arrived yet.

12. Do you own a car? Describe it.
I don’t know what a car is. A mode of transportation, you say? I see. Well, I have a horse–a lovely piebald mare gifted to me on my arrival. My family has a fleet of carriages, too, but those are hardly mine alone.

13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
My Sixteen ring. A piece of jewelry it might be, but it has barely any value to anyone else. I’m able to use it to seal my own letters now, which means I am under my own authority, and nothing else could mean so much to me.

14. What one word best describes you?

Familial Questions

1. What was your family like?
I grew up with my mother, father, and sister in a northern castle where my father worked as an advisor to the king. I never knew other family–I think father’s brother came to visit once when I was small, but I can barely remember him. My grandparents and a few aunts and uncles are certainly still alive, but they don’t visit us and there’s never been an opportunity to visit them. I don’t mind much–the castle had enough people in it to feel like family.

2. Who was your father, and what was he like?
My father is Sir Clement (LAST NAME). He grew up as the younger son of a wealthy merchant and went to war with the king when he was just a little older than me. He doesn’t talk much about the war, so we don’t know what happened, only the result: the king knighted my father and two other comrades and granted them titles and lands. I suppose it was for bravery or good deeds on the field. Whatever it was, it made our fortunes great, and he still acts as the king’s key advisor. He’s a very busy man, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have time for us. From dinner to breakfast, he sets all work aside and spends his time with his family. Once the king himself knocked on our door while we were playing an evening card game, and he sent him away saying he was far too busy to see him at the moment. He says there’s many a man who worries so much about providing for his family that he forgets to spend time with it, and he wasn’t going to be one of them.

3. Who was your mother, and what was she like?
My mother is Lady Angeline (LAST NAME). She was born into a prosperous noble family and was known in her youth for her style and ability to throw the best parties. She still has a party once a year in the winter months in order to raise everyone’s spirits, but has largely settled into a role of instructing young noble girls in etiquette, a job she foisted on herself in my youth after meeting one too many of my friends who she didn’t believe to be acting properly. I’ve never had a problem with her rules myself and don’t consider her to be particularly strict, particularly not when she allows me to purchase just about anything I like from shops so long as I tolerate her coming along and stuffing me into every kind of fabric in the store.

4. What was your parents marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?
My parents began courting some years after my father was made a “Sir.” My mother’s family believed she was marrying below herself, but my father had become quite popular and was a favorite of the king, so no one could make too much of a fuss, not that I’m entirely certain my parents would have paid heed to what anyone said, anyway. They were quite in love–still are. There are arguments sometimes, of course, but never big ones, except when my father announced we were moving to the South. For a while I thought my mother would insist he go by himself, but she was persuaded in the end. They never stay mad at each other long, and I can’t see that anything would tear them apart.

5. What were your siblings names? What were they like?
I have one younger sister named Colette. She’s ten. Mostly people have quite a few more siblings than just one, but mama struggled to have Colette, and when she was born the doctors told her any more babies might do more harm than good. Colette takes more after mama than I do–she’s very talkative, outgoing bordering on boisterous, able to make friends easily and take people as they are. She’ll get in trouble with that later in life–not everyone can be trusted like she thinks they can.

6. What’s the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What’s the worst thing you’ve done to one of your siblings?
I think I mentioned pulling her hair once. When she was quite small, Colette spit up all over my brand new dress–IN FRONT OF PEOPLE–which was extremely horrifying, but as she was only little I decided to forgive her. We are far enough apart in age that we don’t see each other much during the day, so we don’t have much chance to bicker. Colette adores me, and I think she can be cute (sometimes).

7. When’s the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?
At breakfast. I suspect father’s taking luncheon with the king, while mama is entertaining some of the ambassadors’ wives, and Colette is eating with the other children in the school room. I’m hungry, too, come to think, so maybe we should break for now and come back to the rest of your questions later.


2 Responses to “Character Interview: Lydia – Mandatory, Personal, Familial Questions”

  1. Nadia February 1, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nadia February 1, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Here ya go. I have to work on a job application, so only a few questions so far and they're very sparse. But for all I know this character will never actually exist. So far I have a setting but no characters or story to drop into it. This is a first stab at one of them. Start of a character interview.

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