27 Oct 2013

NaNo Prep 2013 - Sarah Ione Mackenzie

With just 12 (edit, thanks, mathtans:) 4 days to go, time to figure out my lead character enough so that if I head off in an odd direction, I will know exactly how she would react.  The plot is, ultimately, driven by the characters, hero and villain alike*.  The more I know the characters, the more I'll be able to write myself out of corners.

I'll borrow the format from Subject 13 for the basic info.  Tables are good at displaying information.
Name: Sarah Ione Mackenzie
Birthdate:         December 1982
Birthplace: Ottawa, ON
Sex:         Female
         Eyes: Green
         Hair: Brunette
         Distinguishing Marks:
Mother: Lise Mackenzie, nee Flynn, born in 1955
Father: John Mackenzie, born in 1952
Sister: Amy Marie MacKenzie, born in 1989
Education:         B. Math
        M. Sc in Math
Employer:        Government of Canada
Ione prefers using her middle name; she was one of far too many Sarahs in her classes and decided to go to her middle in high school to avoid being Sarah-with-an-h M yet again.  She grew up in Ottawa, with frequent trips to visit her grandparents in Montreal.  Ione can speak French; it's just with an accent that will have her stand out in France.

The employer is vague.  If asked about her job, Ione herself answers, "I'm an analyst in the Public Service."  It's truthful, but vague.  Ione is an analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, decrypting messages and analysing patterns.  A career that should normally be boring, along the lines of Ian Fleming's early description of James Bond; "A man with a government job."

Ione's home life is simple.  She rents a house near Little Italy with Karen Higgs, a friend from their Waterloo days, and Diesel, a cat.  The cat just moved in after Ione and Karen did, as cats are wont to do.  The house, based on one found on a search is a two-floor, two-bedroom building with narrow kitchen.  Ione's bedroom has her bed, dresser, an office chair, a desk where she docks her laptop (Windows), tablet (Android), work cell phone (Blackberry), and personal cell phone (Android).  Her bedding is typically green, with a quilt made by her grandmother.  Ione also maintains a Linux box in the living room to act as a server for the various other electronics around, including a Playstation 3 and Karen's Mac laptop, iPhone, and iPad.  The Linux box also lets Ione do extracurricular work, including the work that leads to Chapter 1.

Getting to work, Ione uses the bus.  It's actually easier to get to downtown Ottawa by bus than to try to find parking; it's cheaper, too.  And as "Camelot" is still being built, Ione gets to work in an unnamed building in the downtown core, which, for the purpose of the story, will be on Sparks Street.  Ione doesn't even get a cubicle with a window view; her work requires her to be moved away from the views.

Karen, meanwhile, doesn't work for the government.  She is an ambitious up-an-comer in the private sector, working in the financial field.  Karen will use the bus, but also drives if she's planning on working late.  She owns a car, a Fiat 500, that she'll let Ione drive as needed.  Ione chips in for fuel and car payments.  If Ione needs to drive somewhere when Karen already has the car, well, that's what the Kawasaki Vulcan is for.
Ride long and prosper.

Ione has an adventurous streak, one that she manages to keep restrained for the most part but lets loose in odd ways, like taking a job at CSIS instead of continuing on to her doctorate and riding a motorcycle on weekends when the weather is good.  Ione also participates in a boffer LARP, where she wields a fake sword with gusto.  Chapter 1 will show her a consequence of the streak.**

I think I have a good idea of who Ione Mackenzie is and how she'll react when I start throwing plot and Jack at her.  Next step, work out what the villain is doing.

Oh, and feel free to comment and give feedback here.  Better a problem gets fixed now than during November.

* And whatever Jack is.
** Does it sound like I have Chapter 1 ready?  Because I totally do.  I just can't write it until 00:01 November 1st.


  1. Two quickies: Every time I see the name, I read "lone" instead of "Ione", on account of the font. (Can you tell the first one is with a lowercase 'l', as in limes?) Issues with autocorrect aside, a font where the I has sticky-out pieces seems essential, if you're going with that name. (Because I'm serious, every time I saw it I read lone, even after I realized it was supposed to be an i. Necessitates reading sentences twice.)

    Second thing, as far as the French goes, any Canadian has an accent that would stand out in France. Anne-Lise (my wife) is lucky enough to have had time in France and a North American schooling, so despite her being completely fluent, she's pegged as having an accent in both France AND Quebec. Chalk it up to idiosyncrasies like how stop signs in France say STOP, only in Quebec do they say ARRET.

    Sounds like you've got a good foundation laid! Good luck with the villain side of things. Oh, btw, you have 4 days, not 12.

    1. Of all the things I considered, I hadn't taken into account sans-serif fonts. I'll rethink the name and check baby name sites for suggestions, but this maybe something to fix in post.

      I figured as much. I've heard different French accents among Canadians and figured that a Montrealais accent in Paris will be odd and almost incomprehensible. I've heard Anne-Lise's accent, and couldn't really place it; this explains it. I have heard a few French accents - Montrealais, Parisienne, Saskatachewan, Manitoban, Eastern Ontario, Gatineau - and I can pick out the differences. (If you ever have the time, watch Bon Cop, Bad Cop. The motive becomes obvious just by listening to the accents.)

      Thanks! Villain is getting scheduled tonight for appearance tomorrow. :) And I'll fix the math. ^_^;;