Lisa Winfield is probably the breakout main character of my 2008 Nano book, ‘Chatterboxes.’ (I also wrote over 50,000 words of one of my Firefly Kaylee fanfics during November 2008, but that’s another story, literally.) Chatterboxes was originally conceived of as an ensemble book, but Lisa was the one who I spent the most time on prep with, so she’s the most vividly characterized, and the book begins and ends with her point of view.
I drew a lot from myself and my family to flesh Lisa out. She lives in Stoney Creek, not that far from my own apartment on the East side of Hamilton, where she and her best friend Kay share half of a duplex. She works at a Pizza Pizza franchise, spends a lot of time in trivia chat rooms online, and wonders if she’ll ever get back together with her ex-fiancee, who cheated on her but who she still loves. Like me she’s an extreme introvert who tries tof force herself out of her shell in certain situations and is often dissatisfied with the success of her attempts. I also borrowed somewhat on the character of Meredith Grey, from ‘Grey’s anatomy’, particularly in connection to some of Lisa’s verbal tics and her sarcastic attitude.
I’m not quite sure what else to say about Lisa in a blog post, except possibly to share one of my favorite moments with her, which comes from a fairly intense scene near the end of the book, where she and her new friend Kelson have been captured by a villainness who is trying to find out their secret.
I never knew what true pain and fear were like, until I had to spend that, something like thirty minutes at Lorrie Renald’s mercy. Always thought that I was strong, that I was stoic, that I was brave, but going through something like that… if I could still speak, if the aftereffects of the various cocktails and preparations hadn’t reduced my voice to a kind of misbegotten wail, I’d have been babbling out all the secrets I knew just to try and get her to stop it, to hope that she’d have pity on my and minister to the wounds that she’d caused. I’m almost sure I’d even have volunteered the big one, or the big ones, the facts that would have truly betrayed my new friends – that Andrew Sheldon, of Clacton, Essex, England, had something that Renald would need if she wanted to get the power over the internet that she wanted, along with the contact information that she’d need to catch him by surprise.
Don’t tell me that torture doesn’t work… of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone would react this way, but anyway. I do remember raging inside my head, wanting to convey to Renald the idea that if she weren’t so stupid as to have silenced me, I could tell her what she needed to know. Then again, she’d probably done that on purpose, because I’m smart-mouthed her so often at the start, (out of sheer bravado,) that she thought my being able to speak out loud would have an effect on Kelson that would be unproductive for her.
If only she’d known. Kelson had handled the whole thing like a bronze-medal champ; sure, he’d given away a few confirmations and stray facts, but the truly important stuff he’d managed to divert her from, and as the session had progressed, he’d even managed to slip a few very misleading half-truths into the proceedings without getting immediately called on them. (It helped that by that point he was incredibly tense, shaking and shuddering even when he was giving the right answers, so she didn’t have as much of a stable baseline to compare his reactions to. Or at least, looking back, I think that made a difference.)
I’d focused on keeping count of the various nefarious concoctions that she’d been using on me, giving them names, and reciting the list inside my head to try and distract from whatever discomfort the latest one was causing.
What do you think? Does that passage give you a sense of what Lisa is like?