Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beautiful People: Annette Pickering

This month's Beautiful People centers on villains, and I leaped at the chance to get to know my villain a little better.  Ladeeeeeez and gentlemen, may I present Miss Annette Florence Pickering, a lovely, accomplished and selfish young woman with an ego the size of something really, really big.  

Tiny bit o' background: Annette is the oldest child in a fabulously wealthy English Victorian family, with everything she could ever want at her disposal.  And believe me, she likes it that way.  She likes nothing better than to be the best at everything-- to be the prettiest girl in the room, the most popular young lady at a ball, the most fashionably dressed woman in her circle of friends... yeah, you get the idea.  Her younger brother Wilfred (whom I covered in another BP) lives pretty much under her thumb, and Annette likes things that way, too.  

1. What is her motive?
Excellent, excellent question-- and one I hadn't really considered until about a month ago, when my sister and I were up way too late one night talking about villains (and many other things related to writing).  They DO have to have a motive, and I'm afraid Annette didn't have one when I first created her.  So I hastily went back in the story and altered a few events... and everything slid into place, and now Annette has a motive and one aspect of the story is in far better shape than it was before.  Yay!

Oh, but I didn't yet tell you what Annette's motive is.  Right.  Okay, so Annette has always thought herself better than everybody, right?  She always associates with the most upper-crust people, and it is to her advantage to be "friends" (yes, the quotation marks are necessary) with Lavinia Solange Vivian Bancroft, another extremely wealthy and influential young woman.  That is, until one day when Annette and Lavinia go for a walk in Kensington Gardens.  They're strolling along talking about nothing (typical) when they run (literally) into Elizabeth Markette, a friend of Lavinia's who is a...wait for it... governess.  GET THE FLY SPRAY, because ewwww.  A governess is of the working class, you know.  *shudder*  Elizabeth is in the act of chasing down an errant child, and needless to say, it's a bit of an awkward meeting.  From that moment on, Annette ceases to associate with Lavinia.  Why?  Well, read the previous few sentences.  People who associate with servants (or nearly-servants) are not people who associate with Annette Pickering.  Therefore, Annette Pickering shuns Lavinia from that moment on.  Figuratively, of course.  They still are obligated to speak to each other in Polite Society, but their conversations are... interesting.  (And quite fun to write, I might add.)

Also, Annette makes things pretty doggone uncomfortable when her brother falls in love with Lavinia. *dramatic music*

2. What is she prepared to do to get what she wants?

Pretty much anything, as long as it won't soil her Parisian gloves.

3. Is she evil to the core, or simply misunderstood?

Evil to the core.  Ehh... well... she's mean to the core.  Not really evil.

4. What was her past like? What about her childhood? Was there one defining moment that made her embrace her evil ways?

It was never any one defining moment-- just a childhood spent in being spoiled rotten and given her own way in everything and brought up to believe that she was a little princess.  Unfortunately, her parents forgot to teach her about the whole noblesse oblige business.  It was more of a "might makes right" thing.

5. Now that she's evil, has she turned her back on everyone, or is there still someone in their life that she cares for? (Brother? Daughter? Love interest? Mother? Someone who is just as evil as she is?)

Annette really doesn't care for anyone but herself-- though it's not a question of turning her back on loved ones.  She never truly loved anyone in her family, because she's consumed with herself.  Deep down, however, I think she really is yearning for a friend.  Her insecurity and fear of not being accepted is what makes her so selfish and gives her such a drive to be the best.

6. Does she like hugs?

Is the pope a Muslim?

7. Is she plagued by something? (Nightmares, terrible thoughts?)

Annette doesn't allow herself to be plagued by anything.  (Eeep, I'm seeing some rather eerie similarities between her and another character, Lavinia--who is a good guy.  Er, a good girl.  She's a good girl, she is.  Aowwwww.)

8. Who is she more similar to: Gollum or Maleficent?

Since I'm not familiar with either character, having never seen Lord of the Rings or Sleeping Beauty (though I know the story of the latter) I'm going to substitute Chauvelin and the evil stepmother from Cinderella for that question.  And the answer is that Annette is more like the evil stepmother.  "Me, me, me--what's in it for me?"

9. If your villain could have her choice of transportation what would it be?

A carriage better than the Queen's. :P

10. If you met your villain in the street, how afraid would you be? Is she evil enough to kill their creator?

Good gracious, Annette would never kill anybody.  What a messy business that would be.  Besides, one might get in trouble with the law, and Society would certainly frown on a murderess.  No indeed, I would have nothing to fear from Annette in that regard... and actually, it might be quite interesting to meet her on the street.  She's so dreadfully snooty that she's actually funny at times, and I'd probably have a good laugh afterwards.

Does the dark side really have cookies?

I have no idea, having never been there.  I would imagine that they do, but I'd advise you to ask the Phantom.

P.S.  Apologies to any and all Keira Knightley fans... it isn't because I hate KK that I cast her as Annette.  It's simply that she looks exactly like the mental image I have of the character.  It is not my own fault. 

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