This post is a response to a question meme for fic writers
asked: 1. Describe yourself how you would describe a character you're introducing
But like, introducing into what kind
of story? And in what role? Because how I introduce a person depends very much on what they are going to do
, and what they do depends (obviously!) on genre and story length and stuff.
Liz Culmer lived possibly the most boring, predictable life known to humankind. She had spent many years very carefully arranging it that way, so she would have more time for reading and writing, and was often quietly happy as a result.
This state of peace and solitude lasted until one month before her thirty-fifth birthday, at which point her younger sister abruptly quit her own job, broke the lease on her apartment, and moved three hundred and fifty miles north to take up residence in Liz's spare room while she worked on 'finding herself'.
Liz was halfway convinced she and Vicky would murder each other within a week. But family was family. And she had to admit, it might be nice to have somebody around who knew all the parts of herself she'd let fall by the wayside over the years.
Maybe, on some level, she'd also been looking for a change...
"Werewolves," Liz said flatly.
"Well, sort of," said the woman who'd knocked insistently on the door of Liz's apartment at the barbarous hour of nine AM, introduced herself as Lindsay Martinez, and announced that the dog attack Liz had halfway thought was a hallucination (dog bites, in her understanding, did not simply vanish overnight) had in fact been something even more implausible. "Were-everything, really. People only shift into one animal each, but it can be pretty much anything you have a tangential awareness of. I'm a were-parakeet, for instance."
"That's nice?" Liz said. She twisted the copper ring on her right middle finger around and around, and wished she had something more substantial to do with her hands. Like filling out a form. Or maybe dismantling a retractable pen. Something that would let her feel like she still had a grip on the world. "Um. So, if it's not all wolves, is the thing about the moon...?"
Ms. Martinez shrugged and smiled in a way Liz knew intimately: the customer service expression that said she'd heard this question a thousand times before but didn't hold it against Liz for asking the thousand-and-first time, because everybody did and she'd long since come out the other side of annoyance into weary and vaguely amused acceptance. "I'm afraid so, at least for the first year or two. We'll want you to come to our safehouse for your first shift, of course, in case it turns out to be something awkward."
"Right. Yeah. That makes sense," Liz said, and wished she could think of more intelligent questions to ask. She'd just learned magic was real (for some value of magic, anyway), and all she could think of was that this felt like every job interview she'd ever gone on, only without the chance of earning money at the end.
She'd probably turn into some kind of newt. That seemed to be the way her life was going these days.
When Sneha and Jill hurried into the rental office five minutes before it closed, there was a new woman at the front desk: white (they were always white), round face, short hair, and looking faintly annoyed for a second before she dredged up a bright, professional smile. "Are you here for a package?" she asked, setting down the cell phone she'd been fiddling with.
"Yeah, uh, for both of us," Jill said, setting her carryout box on the counter.
"Mine's actually for my roommate," Sneha added. "She has an evening class but she really wants it tonight. Is it okay if I pick stuff up for her?"
"Absolutely," the woman said, standing up from her chair and walking toward the package counter. "What's your apartment number?"
The first is clearly a story about two sisters and how a change in one's life spills over to affect the other. Right now it's contemporary realist litfic; it could veer into more interesting genres, but probably not in a really dramatic way since I didn't signal that in the opening paragraphs. The second is obviously urban fantasy, and the main character is strongly implied to be suffering from depression. And the third could be anything, except I'm not the main character and the POV characters don't care much about me. :)
(All of these stories have been fictionalized to various degrees, btw.)