Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Character-Character relationship yet to be defined

You would think; 8 years spent getting the same story perfect, you'd have a handle on how certain characters relate to each other.

My central relationship: Nina & Jonas is easy.
She's somewhat enchanted by him, wants to know more about him.
He's somewhat enchanted by her, and for the first time in his life, wants to know more about someone else, lowering all his safeguards it makes getting him one step closer.

There's a magnetism between them that develops very early on. I have yet to address this in the story. There's one loose end that's always kind of been there... the two collide in the cafeteria, rendering Nina blind and otherwise incapacitated, unable to stand on her own two feet. I finally came up with a reason for this occurrence. It just simply happens and is never mentioned again, because obviously, Nina recovers quickly. The next time she wakes up, everything's back to normal.

It's very much implied that Jonas isn't your run-of-the-mill definition of normal. He has abilities that he either takes pride in or fears. I've defined his psychic powers being from two schools of thought. One is the mind-reading thing, but it requires direct contact with a person. Jonas comes in contact with Nina's forehead a couple of times, during which he intercepts one thought in her mind.
At the nurse's office, he just gets her name and generates an air of calm that eases her transition into unconsciousness, a place she was already heading when everything came down.
The second time is after they have a simple conversation at lunch where he doesn't give too much away about himself... being a little self-conscious about what could be overheard. Here, he intercepts her location, her house being on the other side of the forest where he happens to live. Ironically, I've had Nina mention a couple of times her desire to go into the forest, which definitely looks enchanted. I mean, there are fireflies that make it look like something out of a dream. Truth of the matter is that the enchanted entity is on the other side of the woods.

Quite obviously, Jonas is the voice in the wind that Nina heard her first day at her new home, but he isn't entirely aware of this power. He does it unconsciously a couple of times during storms, but has no recollection of anything afterwards. I think this power more or less comes from him being a reincarnated angel, but that's the only power that he really has that relates during to that fact.

As far as the collision goes (and by using the word "collided," I might have to listen to Howie Day's song called "Collide" to see if the lyrics have any relevence to this), it comes about like this.
Jonas is in the lunch line for whatever reason (I thought he was a brown-bag-it kind of guy but for some reason, he's there that day). Nina is rushing through the doors as soon as she sees her friends, wanting to join them as soon as she came. Sensing something like a disruption in the air, a new presence he hadn't felt anything like before. He slowly turns and sees her mere seconds before she bumps into him, landing on the ground while he's just a little shaken up. In the collision, I believe what happens is that his usual psychic defenses came about at the last second to react directly to this. Somewhat of a barrier surrounds him, causing her to bounce off him. In addition, when they come into direct contact (I entail later, as two halves of the same soul), an unknown entity they both have come into contact with one another and the sensation is so powerful that it rends her in the state she's in. Jonas, meanwhile, having had these powers his whole life isn't affected by it at all. He only knows that a) he has to help no matter what it takes, beliving her state is directly because his abilities got out of control again, and b) there is something about her that he has a good feeling about, feels a connection with her.

Aside from the rich blonde hair (shoulder length complete with bangs) and hazel eyes, I didn't really give much definition to Nina. She's very innocent, very pure of heart (well, duh... two halves of the same soul, meaning she has some of that sacred element "pure heart" that Jonas has possessed the entirety of his soul's existence). As curious as she is, she's respectful of others privacy, lets people be themselves and is determined to form her own opinions. This is why she waves off Mai's concerns about Jonas, not thinking that he's anything like what she says. But of course, part of that is due to chivarly, the fact Jonas took his time to help her even when she annotated the incident being her fault.
In essence, both parties are guilty: she wasn't watching where she was going and his abilities rendered her in the state she was in.

As the story goes on, Nina remains very accepting and accomodating of Jonas. Except for maybe one scene, which I may or may not see to erase... there isn't any major need for Jonas to encounter one more accident which results in temporary deafness. Although it does play a small part in bits and pieces later...
there's a scene where Nina is helping their friend Corey write a song and Jonas feels left out of the process because he can't hear what's going on... almost believing there's something going on between the two, which is somewhat ridiculous. As the song is for Mai, the dream girl who happens to be very popular

Nina and Jonas have a defined relationship that includes a sense of selflessness between the two.

Jonas and Mai, on the other hand, is something I have yet to really bring a solid definition to.
And primarily, the undefined factor that's driving me a little crazy is how Jonas feels about Mai. Does he resent her? Does he entertain her notions despite how wrong she is? I've contradicted myself a couple of times in the chapter I just finished.
When Jonas is talking to Nina, he is very wary of the people on the other side of the table. He believes they're going to get a piece of information about him that they're going to use in the wrong way. Anything little bit of information gathered about him, he knows is going to circulate among the student boy. For the longest time, though, there have been few rumors really addressed in the school paper.
Which kinda doesn't make sense in the first place. It has to be student-run or else the gossip columns Mai writes wouldn't make the paper. An academic advisor would veto it right away, saying it's either a violation of privacy or it's plain mean.

In the sequel I wrote of the story where Jonas finds out that he has a twin sister and is unknowingly ushering her around the school as part of a program with the homeless shelter where a group of teenagers integrate into the school system for a semester, living with host families and such. It's part of his senior project. One of the new friends he makes is a girl named Raquel, who he eventually feels comfortable enough around to allow her into his "inner circle." That's a term I use to describe the group of people Jonas trusts enough to let in on all of his secrets.
He tells Raquel and her sister (on that note, it's pretty ridiculous that he doesn't figure out until several chapters later that she is his sister... I guess my narrative needs to be ironed out a bit) about how he came to be the way he is. Here, I wrote a backstory for him that takes place after the groundbreaking incident.

The incident being that in 2nd grade, the only time in his life before Nina when he had a best friend, ongoing conversation overwhelmed him. In that instance, he erects a barrier around himself, forcing everyone within a foot of him away from him as a matter of self-defense, only he has no control over it. As a result, Johnny seeks to transfer to another school and ironically, Mai is the only person who remembers the incident. As a saving grace, I gave Jonas an additional ability to erase memories as if things didn't happen that gave him away.
Instead, I might consider doing away with that and in its place, I'll just say that the times he lost control were so frightening that through the convenience of repression, everyone who isn't a main character doesn't have any recollection of it. It's either instantaneous or after they sleep that night. This occurs on the last day of school as well, which gives ample time for everyone to forget that it had occured. But when it comes to Mai, for whatever reason, she remembers everything and if not, she knows deep down that Jonas isn't normal.
This goes on for a couple of years. Jonas refuses to seek consuel in his peers, doesn't talk to anyone, but all the while, Mai tries to get a word out of him. At first asking if he was proud of himself because Johnny transferred after the incident... they talk a couple of times throughout the year and by the end of grade school, they make peace.

Jonas doesn't see Mai again until 8th grade, after which she went through a drastic transformation. I assume part of it has to do with coming of age. She was always pretty, but overnight, she apparently became movie star beautiful. I don't really impress on this fact, but part of that is due to her now being a C or D-cup opposed to being nonexistence in that region. Popularity found her and maybe after prodding from her friends, she starts to generate her theories about him. This results in a couple of columns in the school newspaper. Afterwards, people are turning heads when he walks by and in finding out what Mai had done, he's very upset with her.

So really, Jonas should be very wary of Mai instead of what he does with Nina, dismissing her caressly, being amazed by her theories. In the length of time between the two incidents, it doesn't seem possible for Jonas to be so forgiving, so at ease with saying this or that about her. I wrote that in 8th grade, he found out she was generating the rumors and Nina arrives in 9th grade.

Is it really possible to be wary of a person and at the same time, dismissing their opinion matters to them?
I'll post a couple of examples of things the two have said about each other and if anyone feels like commenting, they can be the judge.

Mai on Jonas:

“Yeah, but I can’t help thinking there’s something… strange about him. I ask around all the time and report to my girls however little I find out. They tend to romanticize his isolation more than I do.”
“His actions yesterday weren’t his usual M.O. He usually goes out of his way to avoid being in contact with people…”

“He’s got a way of disappearing sometimes. During the rainy season, he will sometimes be gone for days at a time. Then he comes back and the teachers don’t ask about it. I think he’s hiding something and they’re all in on it.”

Jonas on Mai:

His eyes shifted towards the other end of the table for a millisecond. “I see you met Mai, our resident gossip queen. I assume she already told you a great deal about me.” He softly grinned. His tone was very casual.

As she spoke, his eyes flickered towards Mai again. He responded with a disbelieving chortle, “Would you mind if I explained myself later? I’d feel a more comfortable without all of these people watching us.”

[quick side-note: when they're alone, Jonas reveals to Nina that he has some psychic abilities. He is so at ease with her that he lets her in on this secret, but he had to show her rather than tell her. But it's important to note here that he only reveals it when they're alone because he doesn't want that detail to be overheard and taken the wrong way]

As if sensing the tension in the atmosphere, Jonas changed the subject. “Mai will be eating this up on Monday after you tell her all the details.”
            Nina couldn’t help noticing the grin he wore. She bit her lip. “I don’t have to discuss this with her if you don’t want me to.”
            “No, it’s fine. I know you have become really good friends with her and her group. I’d been meaning to set her straight about a few things.”
            “Doesn’t the fact I’m here suggest that maybe I don’t care about what she says about you?”
            “Yes, and I appreciate the support.” He braced Nina’s shoulders. “But the rumors need to stop. I’d been taking this for a few years and have just about had enough.” He quickly added, “It isn’t like she’s getting any closer to finding explanations for my stranger habits.”

“I’d never been so sure of anything in my life.” She paused, “well, until today when I was positive that you were a good person. Mai seemed pretty intent on convincing me otherwise.”
            “She’s always been that way. Being on the school paper inflated her ego. Apparently, she’s under the impression that people should listen to her.” He pondered, “As far as I know, she’s the only person who has some recollection of what happened to Johnny. He transferred to another school district as soon as he could, didn’t want much to do with me.”
            “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go back there.”
            “No, it’s fine. I never discussed my past with anyone before, so it’ll get easier if I do it enough. You’re a good listener.”

Well... on the other hand, it sounds like he's very cool with talking about Mai the way he does. He dismisses the fact that her rumors matter to him, but if you read between the lines, perhaps there you can gather that he's putting on a brave front when he's a little bitter about the whole thing.
There's going to be a scene in a couple chapters (chapter 7, I believe... let's see... Chapter 4 is Saturday, Nina meets Jonas's animal companions, Chapter 5 is when Jonas & his "uncle"- for all intensive purposes, have dinner with Nina's family, Chapter 6 is Sunday where they go to Spring Lake- a small lake on Jonas's property... his "uncle" owns quite a few acres... and Chapter 7 is Monday, during which Jonas gives Mai what she's needed to hear for years)... that's when the true nature of the relationship is going to come out. Jonas will be as cold as he can get towards Mai, Nina has his back so he'll be more relaxed with giving her the bottom line... by the end he impresses that it'll take a while for him to forgive so long as the rumor stop

I'd given Mai's three other friends a little more to go on this time around. All three seem to romanticize Jonas being the loner, which makes him very mysterious. Marcie is particularly smitten by him, but in the end, as much as they are in awe of him, they respect the relationship unfolding between him and Nina.

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