Beautiful People is a blog event hosted by Further Up and Further In, designed to force writers to get to know their characters. I’ve looked at it over a few months and eventually decided to try it. Usually there are ten questions asked by the instigator of Beautiful People, but this month people are so busy that they have left that task up to the participants.
I will be interviewing a character from my Camp NaNoWriMo August story, which hasn’t really come into being yet. The character’s world is Earth, as well as Vorse, also called SUn 1 (working names– Supporting Universe one), the entrance to which is found in the sewers of Gooplebury. The time is the present, though on Vorse the people have been forced to live in the past due to that world having to feed on the energy of everything and everyone inside it– all types of energy. Fires burn cooler and not so brightly, things move slower (even kinetic energy is affected), people age more slowly. Thus, mechanics are not too effective, and electricity is next to useless. The character is David (while on Earth) or Theo (while on Vorse).
- What is his occupation? As Theo, he is one of five original guardians of the five Corners of the Earth. Each guardian is like a power source for an energy field around the Corners. The closer to the Corners the guardians get, compounded with the amount of guardians living, the more powerful the boundary is. There cannot be more than five guardians, but there can be less.
As David, he works in the sanitation department, where he has plenty of time to inspect sewers for possible gateways to Vorse. He also has the job of recruiting people from Earth and teaching them about Vorse. He himself was recruited many years ago for the same reason, and first tried to get into Vorse at the age of thirteen, with the man who recruited him. They didn’t succeed.
- What are his obsessions? David is obsessed with being unnoticed. He is slightly paranoid, just enough to make him stay out of people’s attention. He usually wears jeans and a faded Dr. Pepper T-shirt– no extremely bright colors. He knows he’s important, but doesn’t know why due to the amnesia acquired by all travellers to and from Vorse. Conceit and paranoia– powerful combination.
Theo, however, is obsessed with cartography. Vorse is a world of water and of islands, usually two large ones surrounded and interspersed with smaller isles. Usually. The coastlines change shape every 326 days or so (give or take a few hours), so of making many maps there is no end. It keeps Theo busy and keeps him moving, making him a less conspicuous target for those who would try to get past the barrier to the Corners of the Earth by killing him.
- What is his dream? David’s dream would be to actually get to Vorse with his memory intact– it annoys him exceedingly that he can’t ever see the world he’s heard so much about from his correspondent, Theo.
Theo’s dream is the opposite. He wants to get to Earth, but he can’t see it because of the memory switch between worlds. All he knows is what is written in a journal by his correspondent, David.
- Mental conditions? As stated, amnesia. This creates a sort of schizophrenia, with one personality taking precedence on Earth and the other on Vorse. Each knows about the other and has the same instincts, body and thinking process, but memories are not shared. Theo believes David is someone else he can never meet, and David thinks the same.
- What is he good at? David is good at staying unnoticed. He’s obsessed with it, and thus spends a lot of time perfecting his ability to disappear in a crowd and hide in plain sight. He also likes card games, Slapjack being his specialty.
Theo is good at putting two and two together to make five. He is even more paranoid than David, though shows it a little bit less. He jumps to conclusions often about people and doesn’t give his trust easily. He is a fairly good judge of people, though exacerbates faults to make sure no one gets too close to him. He is a loner and is good at staying that way.
- What is he bad at? David couldn’t ride a horse to save his life, not that he needs to much on Earth. He hates moving without touching the ground, yet seeing it run by around him. Bicycles, airplanes, motorcycles, they all give him a fright. He’d rather be enclosed in a metal box where he can’t see the ground.
Theo doesn’t like stories and can’t tell them well at all. He tells the truth in a monotone, not trying to get anyone interested– he gives reports, he doesn’t tell stories. He doesn’t exaggerate and couldn’t lie. Ever.
- Where is he from? David is from South Carolina, but he never says anything about a family. He claims to be the uncle of the main character, but he’s never confirmed his exact connections to that family, or the other families he’s involved with as a recruiter.
Theo never knew. He just woke up one day in a tree in Vorse. He was about thirteen at the time. A man found him, a guardian of the Corners. After a long apprenticeship in Vorse, Theo’s mentor died of old age and Theo took over his job.
- What is his biggest accomplishment? David thinks his is escaping the US census for thirty years running. He is still taxed, but he prides himself on the fact that out of the 311,591,917 people in the United States, none of them are him.
Theo was the first to see through the deception of Egress, one of the five members of Vorse’s ruling class, who moved for the inverting of Earth in the year that Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the globe. The Earth had been a massive pentagon, gently curving downward, with water falling into oblivion at the edges. When Ferdy got close to the edge, the rulers of Vorse, sworn to protect the citizens of Earth against massive suicide pacts, decided that the Earth needed to lose its edges lest uncounted numbers of humans try to investigate what exactly was beyond the end of the world. Four voted for a round Earth, with civilization on the outside– one, Egress, voted for the opposite: a round Earth with civilization on the inside. They would be enclosed, and curiosity would never become a problem. He was voted down, and the Earth became a globe, letting Ferdy sail happily across the Pacific, little knowing he had been only that close to tipping into space. Egress distanced himself from the rest of the ruling party and plotted the inversion of the globe. No one cared, however, until Theo exposed his plot to assassinate the other rulers. Of course, this would never have worked anyway, since all the rulers were invincible, only able to die from old age– and, Vorse’s energy vacuum being reversed for them, Vorse supplied them with enough energy to live indefinitely. But Theo always enjoyed the thought that he had saved both worlds from Egress.
- What is his age? Both David and Theo are the same person, so it follows that they would be the same age. However, David actually knows his date of birth, whereas Theo has no idea when he was born or how old he actually was when he came to Vorse. David knows that he is 53, turning 54 in March, but Theo can only guess.
- What does he love? David loves– and hates– investigating sewers. It’s a constant sore point to him that he can never get to Vorse, no matter how many times he tries. Outside of his quest for Vorse, he loves visiting the Gooplebury Insane Asylum, home of a not-so-insane old man named Ioan. They are both dedicated to their Slapjack tournaments.
Theo loves wind. In a place where sailing is the mode of travel from one island to another, he gets plenty of it.
Wow. That really worked… Well, David/Theo is much more filled out now than he was before. Now I’ll have to do something like it for Fathom, Rowena, Egress and Captain Victor the Coatpeg. Should be interesting…