In her own way, Agnetha* King is my most diverse character. Her plot(s) and novels (drat: I need to start writing the last) may be undeveloped and majorly unedited, but her story and her personality have always resonated with me more than the cast of When The Clock Broke, which is odd, since I have taken more time to try and add little details as well as the bigger, philosophic picture to WTCB.
*In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced ‘Agg-nay-ther’.
As I move on to the Agnetha King Mysteries Trilogy characters, I’ll honestly say that I had ideas in my head for flowers straight away. Agnetha’s favourite flower is the Blue Rose and its significance plays a symbolic part in one of the scenes of her first outing of investigation.
However, I’m a philosopher of logic, and it doesn’t follow that just because she happens to like a flower means it suits her the most.
So: what is Agnetha like? At times she can be cruel, because, only fourteen, she’s already had her heart broken, both when her father left and by events prior to page 1 of the novel. She’s learnt to be tough and cold and rude – because that’s how she thinks life has been to her. Why should she be nice when the world has treated her so savagely?
Being called an ignorant child by a police office she knows is just as ignorant is the last straw. She must take matters into her own hand. Agnetha is determined; she will grow in whatever situation is thrown at her – because she has to. Unlike the upper- and middle- class of Phillip and Aidelle respectively, who have their own battles but have luxury closehand, Agnetha has to push her own way through existing. No one is going to be on her side.
She’s passionate, too. Passionate in a deadly impulsive way.
“Agnet –” she cried, before the wind was choked out of her throat.
I snatched the gun from the nearest sergeant, my instinct kicking in, as Carrie had suggested the night before. In that moment, everything to which I had been exposed launched itself out of me; my hatred of my father’s lack of interest and my mother’s snide remarks caused me to hate in return. And I so wanted to take the life of another human being.
(OJAP, rough draft)
Agnetha could be many flowers. Although I’m not entirely committed to this, though, I believe she is a Poppy. A spring/summer plant here in the UK (I’ve seen the first load begin to pop up lately), the Poppy symbolises a lot to me.
Firstly, there’s the hedonistic symbolism of the Poppy – bright blooming, it’s both self-conscious and self-assertive. A nice fit with my story is that Opium was made from Poppy seeds, and drug-use is a plot that occurs in both books of the trilogy I’ve so far written.
Secondly, of course, there’s the symbol of new life or regrowth – thee typical post-World War image. And I extend the word ‘war’ to mean disruption, the kind that Agnetha has had to go through. Now she makes herself a detective, she is, ultimately, bringing out the good in a bad situation. Because there’s nothing else that can be done. We’ve all been there.
Thirdly, I once read that the Poppy is the perfect symbol for erratic-ness, as it grows wherever it can, springing up as a weed in someone else’s garden because the seeds have spread so far on the wind. This, for me, is Agnetha. In more ways that one.
I’d like to say that, although she’s a person whose work does little to change her situation, as a character, she has changed my life. I had written before I had touched upon the character of Agnetha, but I didn’t write. I had probably been surrounded by clichés and copies; and now I was facing the real, concrete possibility that I could write better as a career. I found a writing site through my eagerness to understand about publishing, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Okay, that was a cliché in itself, but, still, I would be writing songs and hunting for acting schools instead of telling you about teen sleuths if I had not found that site.
Lastly – a point I refrained from making ’til this – there’s the colour. Poppies dazzle from distance and close up with their sharp-smooth forms of petals. That traditional Poppy has a haunting red colour. Not at all like blood, if we really think about it, but to it the taste of death is close.
For more about Agnetha, see my Next Big Thing post.