Find Yourself Part 1 - Meet the Characters of NaNoWriMo '09!

But first... NaNoWriMo suggest you stock pile some prizes for when you finish the challenge and want to celebrate. Since part of my lifestyle change was to not use food as a reward for anything, that's out of the picture. But I've finally found out what my reward will be: Left4Dead2 and Star Trek 2009.

That's right, people, I'm going to try and hold off on viewing/playing these until I've reached my 50K mark... yeah, we'll see how long that lasts. The good news is, it'll last at LEAST 17 days, starting Nov. 1. lol.

NOW... I've been meaning to flesh these kiddos out for a while, so for the next couple of days I'm going to spotlight a few characters from my story. Come November 1st, I will provide a synopsis of the story, excerpts from the story as they are written, and little things like what songs inspired my writing on certain days and blah blah blah... but for now, consider this a "sneak-peek" into what's to come!!! So, without further ado, I present:

"Find Yourself"
(An in-depth look at the characters of When All Is Said & Done)

NAME: Vivian Ballard.
AGE: 18
GRADE: Senior in College
EYES: Blue
HAIR: Black, medium length
FAVORITE BOOK: The Odyssey by Homer
MOVIE: O, Brother Where Art Thou?, A Beautiful Mind
MUSIC: The Hush Sound, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin
ACTOR: Holly Hunter
LOOKS UP TO: John Nash
BASED ON: Kate Beckinsale

BIOGRAPHY: Vivian Ballard was born on October 22, 1990 to Grace and Alex Ballard. With the exception of her first two years - which were lived out in her birthplace of Christchurch, New Zealand - Vivian grew up in San Francisco, California.

As a child, Vivian was quiet and kept to herself. However, once enrolled in kindergarten, she proved to be extremely intellectually gifted, reading at an 8th grade level by the end of her kindergarten year. Noticing this gift, her parents pulled her from Jean Parker Elementary School, in favor of the Hamlin School for Girls, where she tested into the third grade, skipping first and second completely.

Vivian thrived at Hamlin academically, but socially she continued to keep to herself. Even around her parents, Vivian said very little. She carried books around with her, and was often found reading, studying, or both. She partook in no extracurricular activities, and appeared to have no friends. This seemed to bother her parents more than it bothered her. By the time she reached 8th grade, she was utilizing Hamlin's extended day program to her benefit, even though she didn't need it (at least one parent was at home at all times).

When she made the move from Hamlin to the Drew College Preparatory School, Vivian tested in at the Junior level. By this point, Grace was actively making sure she not only stayed out of extracurricular activities, but that she refrained from staying after school as well, fearing that a 13 year old would be easy prey. If this irritated Vivian in anyway, she didn't show it. She still said very little around her parents, or anyone else for that matter, but had finally managed to make a friend in 16 year old Jordan Williams. Williams was a year ahead of her grade and thus the two had something in common. Around Jordan, and her twin brother Aaron, Vivian finally began to come out of her shell, displaying a personality not unlike that of most High School Juniors.

As graduation drew near, Vivian received word that she had been accepted to the University of California in San Francisco Medical School, and was set to start in the fall semester after graduating from Drew. However, as the day grew closer, she began to feel unsure about med school and - without warning or letting her parents know - she turned UCSF down in favor of the University of San Francisco, and a Chaos Theory major. Half way into her first semester, she added an English Literature minor to her plate after falling in love with Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar and Homer's The Odyssey.

Her senior year of college, she was finally old enough to live on campus, and promptly moved away from home in favor of rooming with Jordan and her roomate, Stephanie Miller. Indifferent to the "college scene", Vivian was simply glad to be allowed to live on her own, spread her wings, and officially be considered an adult.

Then the dreams started. A few weeks into her first semester as a senior, Vivian began having strange dreams. She ignored them for a while, but they grew steadily worse, until she awoke constantly through out the night, screaming. At first, she couldn't remember what they were, just that they felt more like memories than dreams. As time persisted, she began to remember more and more in the following mornings, and began writing them all down. For some reason, the writing of the dreams calmed her and it became a type of ritual. She kept the dreams to herself, for fear people would think she was insane (the dreams were so vivid that she feared she was suffering from Schizophrenia, a disease from which her role model John Nash suffered).

INTERESTS: Vivian discovered early in life that she could disappear in literature and numbers. She almost never watched TV or movies, claiming the worlds her own mind could paint while reading were far more interesting than anything someone could show her.

She found a sort of poetic truth within Chaos Theory that allowed her to accept the world around her... something she had been unable to do until first reading Mr. Nash's theory when she was 10.

One movie she ended up watching was "O, Brother Where Art Thou", because of its connection to Homer's Odyssey, as well as the tv show Xena: Warrior Princess, after seeing an episode that depicted Ceasar's death better than anything she had yet to see. Once in college, she began to get into cinema, allowing her to gain respect for actress Holly Hunter, whom she admired for reasons that were mysterious even to her. It wasn't long before she was turned on to the Lord of the Rings movies and books, and ultimately, fell in love with fantasy. This led to Sci-Fi, which eventually led to mythology. In no time at all, Vivian found she could be best described by one word: Nerd. Regardless, she managed to maintain her mature and shy reputation.

FUN FACT: Vivian has never been attracted to anyone. She has had many male friends, and been on many blind dates, but she has never been attracted to any of them. She is convinced that she is incapable of attraction, and thus tries to be stand offish with men who seem interested. This, however, made her seem stuck up, so she stopped in favor of chatting up the interested party and leaving them without so much as a number when the evening is out.

NAME: Eric Baker
AGE: 18
GRADE: Senior in High School
EYES: Green
HAIR: Black
FAVORITE BOOK: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
MOVIE: Smokin' Aces
MUSIC: Flight of the Conchords, Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, Shinedown
ACTOR: DeForest Kelley
LOOKS UP TO: Stephen E. Ambrose
BASED ON: Karl Urban

Eric Baker was born on October 22, 1990 in Adelaide, South Australia. His parents, unable to take care of him, left him on the nearest doorstep. That was where Michael and Suzanne Baker found him. When he was 3, Michael Baker's job moved them to San Francisco, CA, where Eric would spend the majority of his years. Eric pushed through Jean Parker Elementary school without any incidents: he was an exceptional student, and well behaved.

By junior high, he had begun to catch the attention of a number of young girls. This, however, did not change his performance as a student. He kept his grades high and remained well behaved... for the most part. By 8th grade, Eric discovered the joys of getting into trouble. Still, he never crossed too many lines and, besides his looks, pretty much flew under the radar.

Over the summer after his 8th grade year, he picked up guitar. At first, it was just a hobby, something for him to do to keep him out of trouble. But, as time went on, he found he loved it. He took to it with an almost savant-like quickness, learning the basics in no time. By the end of the summer, he was composing his own songs.

He had also become a bit of a "celebrity" amongst the local girls. At first, the constant attention was flattering. However, he quickly grew tired of all the empty "I love you's" and shallow, superficial attempts to "hook up" with him. He began to long for something real, and it seemed he was cursed to never find it. For this reason, he let himself fall in love with music.

By the time school started up, Eric had become the most talked about student at Urban. To his disbelief, he had somehow become "the popular kid". This only brought on more shallow attempts at hooking up, as well as unwarranted and misdirected hate from the lesser popular kids. This bothered Eric because it meant the friends he wanted hated him, and the friends he had, he didn't want.

Everything turned around, however, when he was approached by Aaron Williams about a band he was trying to start up. He had heard Eric was talented when it came to acoustic guitar and wanted to see how he sounded with electric. Aaron seemed like an okay guy - as a senior, he had managed to do what Eric wanted to do: fly under the radar - so he agreed, and to his surprise, electric guitar came to him easier than acoustic had. He and Aaron got along well enough, and were a fairly good team when it came to writing music. He found himself growing more and more content with his life, and began to wonder how it could get any better.

Once Aaron found a bass player and drummer, he found out. The band had it's first gig over the freshman-sophmore summer, and played to a packed house. Audience response was amazing, and by their next gig, word had spread quite quickly about them. Eric loved the response, ate up the screams and loved the reactions people had to his music. The fact that he could create something that brought a form of happiness to other people delighted him to no end. And what was more, he could usually leave the "groupies" to the other band mates.

By his senior year, it seemed like Eric had the world eating out of his hand. He had been accepted to USF, was going to graduate high school with honors, and was part of a very popular band. However, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. At first, he thought it was just him, wanting to find that one person, but as the feeling grew stronger, it seemed to him that he was searching for a specific thing... a specific someone. Problem was, he had no idea who he was looking for, thus had no idea where to start.

INTERESTS: Eric approaches life with a very fun-loving attitude. While he can and does appreciate the great literary kings of the past, he finds himself more drawn to things that make him laugh. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies set him off on a zombie kick. Something about them being mindless and yet wanting to eat brains made him laugh uncontrollably, and the fact that they seemed to be invading every form of media greatly intrigued him. He loves reading, but will often pick movies over them, finding it more social to watch a movie with a group. Like books, he appreciates all different kinds, but prefers ones that make him laugh, or that he just enjoys watching. The same can be applied to all forms of media.

FUN FACT: Eric believes in true love more than he believes one needs air to breathe. However, he also believes he is doomed to never find it for himself, based on the women that seem to be drawn to him. Nothing is more attractive to him than a woman indifferent to his charm.

FUN FACT #2: Though Eric is from Australia, he doesn't have a permanent accent... his parents, however, do. And whenever he spends large amounts of time with them, he acquires a slight one, as well.

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