How do I see Jessica?

October 31, 2011

Someone who I know finished Locked In recently and told me he had something of a crush on Jessica. The conversation went a bit like this:
Him: I quite fancy Jessica actually.
Me: You do know she’s a figment of my imagination?
Him: Yeah, it doesn’t sound so good when you put it like that.

What we did agree on is that “my” Jessica is probably quite different from “his” Jessica because everyone reads the character differently. I’ve had a mix of genders tell me they like her and others who say they don’t. I guess some of it comes down to what you look for in a friend or someone you might be drawn to in real life.

In my mind Jessica is a strong woman on the outside who can be incredibly intimidating to anyone, male or female, colleague or criminal. But to a small group of people who really know her and, hopefully, the reader, there’s a vulnerable side to her too.

I had a review where someone said they were unhappy Jessica didn’t change her clothes because the reader felt male colleagues would have a reason to have a go at her. I responded, which I probably shouldn’t, to point out that things happen off-page. That’s true, of course, but the real point is that, in my mind, she simply wouldn’t care if someone did try to have a go at her. I think someone – particularly a male – would be taking their life in their hand if they tried.

I guess it’s my fault for not getting that across. Or, maybe, people do just read the same words in different ways?

I recently watched a movie called Crazy Stupid Love, which features Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

I thought it was a pretty decent film – and definitely better than the poster/trailer made out. But the reason I mention it is because of a scene around two-thirds of the way through when Emma Stone has gone to Ryan Gosling’s house after promising to seduce him. Things don’t quite work out (I won’t spoil it) – but the actresses’ perfect mix of vulnerability and confidence is how I see Jessica.

It’s broken up by a cutaway back to Steve Carrell but, put together, if anyone is interested in “my” Jessica, that’s the scene to watch.