I’m borrowing this meme from Susan Lanigan, who – very cleverly – took one of the minor (but extremely memorable) characters in her recent novel and put him under scrutiny in a recent blog post. The good thing about Susan is, of course, that her work is published and readily available wherever good books are sold; sadly, I am not yet in that position.
I still thought it might be fun to take part in the meme, though. So, here goes:
1. What is the name of your character?
He goes by ‘Thing’, but he can’t remember his ‘real’ name, if he was ever given one. By the end of his story he has acquired a new one, which is… but of course, I’m not going to tell you that.
2. Is he/she fictional or a real person?
Entirely the creation of my fevered brain, though on some level I’m sure there are, and were, children like Thing all over the world – children who are forced to make their own way in life from an early age and to look out for themselves, with varying degrees of success.
3. When and where is the story set?
It’s set in a sort-of version of late nineteenth/early twentieth century Europe, in an alternate world which is like our own, but not quite. It imagines what might have happened if some of the problems our modern world is facing had happened a hundred years ago, and how people would have dealt with them using the technology at their disposal. It’s also a world where magic walks the earth hand in hand with science, and where myth is just as potent as belief.
4. What should we know about your character?
He’s a happy-go-lucky survivor who hasn’t lost his ability to trust; he is an excellent judge of character; he can spot an opportunity at a hundred paces; he’ll have the purse out of your pocket before you have a chance to blink. Despite all this, you’ll love him. He has talents and natural abilities he can’t explain, and he has memories that he keeps locked up tight in a sealed box in the basement of his brain – but they still manage to creep out and haunt him at unexpected moments. And for all his cleverness and quick wit, he doesn’t realise what he’s really looking for until he loses it.
5. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
When we meet him, Thing’s only real conflict is finding enough to eat on a daily basis – but he seems to be managing that quite well. He’s getting by, his life is uneventful, and he’s waiting to be caught and thrown off the fancy cruise liner in whose innards he has been stowing away. Then another person – a young girl who intrigues him because of her sticking-out-a-mile-weirdness (and that’s saying something) – crosses his path. He reaches out to her and they become fast friends. When she is taken from him he follows her without a second thought, and ends up in the most dangerous situation he’s ever faced. It starts out as one big adventure, but he soon gets out of his depth…
6. What is the personal goal of this character?
Mainly, to survive. To survive, and not to think too much about his past or his future. Thing is a ‘live in the moment’ devotee, not for any mindfulness reason, but simply as a survival tactic. He also has (or, perhaps, develops) a larger goal which doesn’t become clear to him until it’s nearly too late to grab it – but that’s enough about that.
7. Can we read more?
Not at the moment, sadly. I’m working very hard on the edits on Thing’s story at the moment and who knows, someday it will be in all good retailers. Let’s hope so, at least!
Like Susan, I tag anyone who wants to take part in this meme. If you don’t have any published work (like moi) you can use a character from a short story or (whisper it) even invent a character just for this exercise. Asking questions like this is a great way to develop a character. Happy meme-ing, everybody!