One of the coolest characters you can read or write about is the variable. This is a character like a thief, a spy, a bounty hunter, a… whatever it is that never really deigns to pick sides. He or she is never constant and always pure awesomeness.
Which is strange, because most of them don’t have many morals.
Han Solo, from Star Wars. Eugenides, from The Thief (Megan Whalen Turner). Dustfinger, from the Inkworld Trilogy (Cornelia Funke). Mulch Diggums, from Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer). The Artful Dodger, from Oliver Twist. Gonff the Mousethief, from the Redwall series (Brian Jacques). There are so many more that I can’t remember right now, but you get my drift. These are people who are looking out for number one all the time. Usually character development takes place and makes these people a little less selfish, but not much. They can sneak around like nobody’s business, steal the shoes in the middle of the day from a standing guard who just drank three cups of strong coffee, and usually are rather full of themselves. They are not liked by most company and have the most fun time being insulted and giving insults.
After all of this, surely there can’t be any doubt: there’s a guy like this going into Fathoming Egression. And here’s his outline, but I don’t know his name yet.
- What is his occupation? Thief. Sneak. Trader of information. The one person you can trust to betray your trust. And he loves it.
- What are his obsessions? If he sees an emerald, he can’t help himself. He loves emeralds. This is the one jewel he won’t sell immediately– only in the depths of poverty will he part with an emerald. It also follows that he would also love green, but the point is that he’s obsessed with emeralds.
- What is his dream? The eradication of the police. The power to keep floorboards from creaking under his boots. Emeralds.
- Mental conditions? He is haunted by memories. He was brought to Vorse while very young and somehow retained residual memories from Earth. He remembers green eyes and a bad fire. He is terrified by fire. Very much like a Nazgul in that respect.
- What is he good at? Well, he wouldn’t be alive and kicking if he wasn’t good at survival, thievery, and theater-class acting. He needs food? If he’s in a town, he steals it. If he’s in the wild, he finds some somewhere. Has an innate sense for poisons, so he never accidentally kills himself by picking the wrong berry. In the course of his entire life, he has never killed himself. Can you believe it?
- What is he bad at? Facing fire. Losing emeralds. Being civil when the occasion doesn’t demand otherwise. He can be humble when necessary, but it’s never genuine. Swimming. (He doesn’t need to, anyway; though he lives in a land of water, it’s harmful to touch or to drink. He doesn’t need to swim.)
- Where is he from? He was just a baby when he came to Vorse. He was looked after by girl of ten, also a practiced pickpocket, who called him her brother. He grew up with her until she disappeared and he was left on his own, at age thirteen. Since then he’s stolen larger and larger things, until he got to the level he is now.
- What is his biggest accomplishment? Stealing the favorite ornamented hat of one of the richest men in Vorse. He wasn’t able to escape with it, but he still prides himself on having stolen it from that man’s previously thief-proof home.
- What is his age? Nineteen.
- What does he love? He loves his job. He loved his adoptive sister. He loves emeralds. And he loves thwarting people, partially because “thwart” is an awesome word, and partially because it’s the only way he gets respect.
Well, dat’s dat. There is probably a lot more I could do with this guy in this outline, but I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for listening, and check your pockets before you leave.