Literature / The Genesis of Jenny Everywhere
An attempt at trying to create a Back Story
for open-source character Jenny Everywhere
, which started to be written by The Lyniezian
and is still very much unfinished.
In this tale Jenny is a reluctant schoolgirl- well, sixth-former to be precise- in a fictional English new town, with an overbearing mother, an annoying sort-of-friend named Leah "Leelee" Jones, and many enemies, who is constantly dreaming of adventure and wishing she could get away from it all. As it will turn out, she can, but not in the way she expects...
First part(s) can be found on the author's blog here
, though future versions of the story may be subject to revision.
Contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Jenny in her dreams.
- Allergic to Routine: Leelee, so very, very much. Jenny doesn't have that option but wishes she did.
- Alpha Bitch: Charlotte Mitchell, leader of the worst Girl Posse at school and Jenny's nemesis thereat. Don't call her Charlie.
- Alternate History: Imperial Japan still exists, for example.
- Alternate Universe: Jenny lives in one, and of course will visit more before the story's out.
- Alternate Techline: Jenny's world is like this- for example she listens to music on (8-track?) cartridges.note
- Ambiguous Time Period: The alternate universe setting and deliberate anachronisms relative to our own (see below) give no real indication of what exact point in time relative to our own it is set in, which is never mentioned.
- Anachronism Stew: Justified as it's not our universe, but despite the modern day setting we have BBC Radio 4 being still called the "Home Service" and the school still has "forms" (first to sixth) not "years" (7 to 13)note . Not to mention the fact that Jenny still listens to music on "cartridges" and the existence of airships in common use.
- Asexuality: according to "Word of God", Jenny and Leelee are both asexual.
- Back Story; Super Hero Origin: when we first meet Jenny, she doesn't know she's the Shifter yet, she's just an ordinary (sort of) teenage girl who dreams of adventures a lot. Then she discovers, almost by accident, she has shifting powers...
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Implied; Jenny seems quite intelligent and can do well in school when she can actually be bothered. She at least manages to quote the famous pre-battle speech from Shakespeare's Henry V.
- Bulungi: discussed. "Learning about the drought problems of the Democratic Republic of Muganda" is one of the things cited as one of the things Jenny isn't interested in at school. The existence of Muganda in-universe may or may not be true, as it could simply be snark (see below).
- But Not Too Black: Jenny has a (presumably white) English father and a mother of uncertain ethnicity (there are vague hints she's an immigrant). Given the stock description of Jenny Everywhere as vaguely "Asian or Native American" this both suggests this trope and gives some clues as to Jenny's Mum's origins, as well as (both) providing possible Unfortunate Implications, though it was written with Write What You Know justifications since the author has little direct experience of being an ethnic minority in Britain.
- Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Jenny has this sort of relationship with Leelee. The latter frustrates the former no end, but life is pretty miserable without her. Ultimately, Jenny will turn out to be A Friend in Need.
Leah “Leelee” Jones was probably the closest thing Jenny had to a friend, even though she was still only a fourth-former and could be intensely annoying at times. Not so much of the cling-to-you-like-a-limpet-and-don't-leave-you-alone kind of annoying as she used to be when she'd first joined secondary school and started hanging around Jenny because she was “really cool”, but still overbearing and silly with a sense of priorities even Jenny felt worrying.
(later) But then again, if she were any different she'd not be the Leelee Jenny actually liked anymore, just another member of the herd, leaving her with nothing but herself and her dreams to shield her from this dreary world.
- Cool Big Sis: Jenny is seen as this by Leelee; Jenny isn't so sure she wants this role.
- Cool Loser: Leelee hangs around with Jenny because she thinks she's cool; everybody else begs to differ.
- Creator In-Joke: both the reason for the name of Levendale City and the title of a film Leelee suggests seeing (see below).
- Creator Provincialism: Though the setting of Levendale City is kept deliberately vague, it's also definitely stated as being in England; characters drink tea, watch football, listen to BBC radio and study for A-levels; whilst a few North-Eastisms are inserted (boys and girls becoming "lads" and "lasses" and Leelee's tutor referring to her as "our Leah"). These, too, are deliberate. The "Amy Johnson" reference is something like this, given the Transatlantic Equivalent would probably be Amelia Earhart.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jenny's way of coping with the world around her, if not as much as the author was aiming for. Also true of a few other characters in odd lines, for example her maths teacher:
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Jenny's Dad uses a term for the Japanese which is a slur in real life (they have just invaded Mongolia, though). Schools lack uniforms and truancy laws have been abolished.
- The Ditz, verging on Cloudcuckoolander: Leelee. She does whatever she feels like, oblivious to anything else and regardless of how much sense it makes.note She also doesn't get words like "enlighten", or quotes from Shakespeare. Not yet written, but she'll also end up being oblivious to a bus which nearly kills her, prompting Jenny to discover her shifting powers trying to save her.
- The latter trope being lampshaded by Charlotte, who tells Jenny to drop her off there.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul":
- Dreaming of Things to Come: due to her power to communicate with her other selves mentally, she dreams a lot of their adventures. Foreshadowing the life she'll have.
- Education Mama: Jenny's mother, who amongst other things insists on her being half an hour early to school "to create a good impression". Jenny would rather be dreaming of adventures, though, even though it won't help her pass Further Maths note .
- Everybody Hates Mathematics: vaguely hinted at with Jenny. Averted with Mr. James, the only teacher so far to appear, who is Head of Maths.
- Flash Sideways: Jenny's dreams and daydreams.
- Free-Range Children: To the extent that the law doesn't prevent truancy and definitely the case for Leelee (when she can get away with it), whose uncle and guardian could not care less about what she gets up to.
- Girly Girl: averted with Jenny, but discussed in contrast with the other girls at her school who make fun of her.
- Girl Posse: As led by Charlotte Mitchell. The "Bitch Squad" Jenny refers to, though, may or may not refer to pretty much the entire female student population that isn't her and Leelee- none of the other girls seem to like either. (This may be refuted by later updates, as it makes Jenny too unsympathetic which is not really what the character is supposed to be. Possibly even retconned so that Charlotte's Posse is the "Bitch Squad".)
- Goggles Do Nothing: nobody can understand why Jenny wears them. Other characters lampshade the fact.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Jenny... before she discovers that she is.
- In Spite of a Nail: Jenny's home world is clearly different from our own, yet still manages to have boy-bands and reality TV shows.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: but the only danger to Jenny is dozing off again... solution: stick on a cartridge and boogie down as you get ready.
- Japan Takes Over the World: an unusual, downplayed variant has a continuation of the pre-1947 Empire of Japan continuing to expand throughout Asia, as a background news item.
- Man-Eating Plant: Jenny wishes Japanese knotweed was something like this (sadly it's mere Alien Kudzu both in-universe and in Real Life) just so biology lessons would be more exciting.
- Malicious Misnaming: Charlotte and Jenny both do this during their brief Snark-to-Snark Combat; see below.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: discussed. Jenny thinks Leelee would make a good one, if she were actually interested in boys. note
- Mixed Metaphor: Jenny uses one when making a snarky comeback to Charlotte (see below).
- Nephewism: Leelee is an orphan, "raised" by her uncle.
- Noble Bigot: Jenny's Dad, who complains about "the Japs" and still thinks of football as a "men's game" (in terms of players, not audience) but is otherwise a pretty nice guy.
- No Dress Code: Levendale West Academy, unlike most Real Life examples of The Good Old British Comp, has no obvious school uniform, and whilst even the teachers are puzzled by Jenny's habit of wearing goggles, they do nothing about it. There are no real sexually-provocative examples in the narrative, but some of the other girls are implied to be wearing makeup, a definite taboo in British school uniform regulations.note
- In Real Life this might be justified with Jenny and others her age, being sixth-formers; Leelee is a fourth-former (Year 10) but still is out of uniform.
- No Ending: The story is as yet unfinished.
- Obvious Beta: Lampshaded in the title of the blog post, calling the version found therein a "pre-alpha version". The story is not only as yet unfinished, but very much likely to be rewritten if the author can be arsed.
- Only Friend: Leelee to Jenny (sort of), and as far as we can currently tell, Jenny to Leelee.
- Parental Neglect: Leelee's uncle doesn't seem to care less about where his niece goes when she's supposed to be at school, no matter how many letters he gets from her form tutor. Contrast with Jenny whose parents generally avert this trope (hard, in her mother's case).
- Random Transportation: What will happen when Jenny first discovers her shifting powers. It'll take her some time to control them.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Jenny's (implied) attitude to most of the other girls at school.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. James the teacher; Jenny's Dad.
- School Is for Losers: Played with. Jenny would much prefer to be off on adventures but goes (and pays what attention to studies she does) because her mother forces her; Leelee takes a much more ambivalent attitude- school is the place you go when you get bored of riding round the park scaring the ducks, an attitude Jenny resents. (Oddly subverted when Jenny chides Leelee for not recognizing a Shakespeare quote.)
When all it [getting to school early] would really mean is standing around the yard in the freezing cold whilst the other girls made fun of crazy Jenny with her silly goggles and scarf, always dreaming of adventures that would never happen; when she should be fawning over some boy-band member, arguing over who was going to win the latest reality TV contest or which shade of foundation was right for you. None of which interested Jenny in the least, any more than learning to solve differential equations so you could pass Further Maths or learning about the drought problems of the Democratic Republic of Muganda. School was just one big drag. Mum, though, didn’t seem to realise any of this. It was like talking to a brick wall.
- Skipping School: Leelee, constantly. She gets away with it as nothing can actually be done to legally stop it, in that world.
- To Consequences, by the same author and others; a film entitled Grenadier Mary and the Great Zombie Massacre of 1987 (referencing the story-game's most notorious recurring character and an in-story event) is playing at the cinema, which Leelee wants to bunk off and see (maybe) but Jenny won't let her.
- When Jenny tells Charlotte to "Go fly a kite!" it was loosely inspired by Mary Poppins (a childhood favourite of the author's), though meant in an insulting sense, not literally.
- Charlotte mocks Jenny by calling her "Amy Johnson" (a famous British aviatrix of the early 20th century, who set numerous records before being crash-landing in WW2 whilst serving as an auxiliary pilot- for American readers, kind of the Transatlantic Equivalent of Amelia Earhart, if you will).
- The author's note explaining Levendale City's Where the Hell Is Springfield? status explicitly mentions the Trope Namer.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Jenny and Charlotte:
Where you off this time, Amy Johnson
? Australia? America? Cloud Cuckoo Land? You can take Leelee right back home whilst you're at it!
Jenny (on the defensive, about to be surrounded by Girl Posse)
: Well... that's probably because you're a right one, eh?
- Sympathetic P.O.V.: very much written from Jenny's perspective, despite being a third-person narrative, and often delving into her thoughts. The very un-sympathetic view of the other girls at the school, particularly, is Jenny's opinion and may or may not be true.
- Tomboy: Jenny, who disdains typically girly things and enjoys going to football matches with her Dad.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Being Jenny Everywhere, Jenny likes toast, naturally.
- TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: You can pretty much play spot-the-deliberately-shoehorned-in-tropes with this story.
- Vanity Is Feminine: One criticism Jenny has for other girls at her school, particularly the "Bitch Squad".
(just after Jenny gets dressed) The Bitch Squad would probably still be wondering what top matched what skirt or ensuring their eyeliner was applied just so, no doubt, she mused.
- Unkempt Beauty: Leelee (for her age), described as such. Justified, as shes not the kind who cares much about her appearance, or anything else.
(describing Leelee) ...a small girl with messy, mid-length blonde hair, pretty but with the lack of personal grooming which would make the Bitch Squad turn their faces in disgust...
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Jenny's home town of Levendale City, although the author privately imagines it's probably an unspecified location in the North-East of England, and is in fact named for a tributary of the River Tees, as well as being loosely inspired by a village in East Yorkshire he remembers visiting as a kid. Or, as explained in the text:
- Zeppelins from Another World: Amongst other things, Jenny dreams of "Battling airship pirates over the Alps". Though as it turns out, Jenny's world has them as well, minus the pirates.
- An unpublished attempt at a third part had Jenny daydreaming (in the middle of a maths class) of being a gunner aboard a zeppelin, which ends up being attacked by fixed-wing fighter aircraft and alt!Jenny possibly being killed (or did she shift at the last minute?) Needless to say this dream was not pleasant.