At a recent meeting of the Society for Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a steampunk group in Milwaukee, the topic was persona development. I missed the meeting due to the Flyway Film Festival, but I’m excited to be working on a persona now, based on the follow-up materials.
What do you think of Valuria? (She’ll be my upcoming cosplay persona and also the heroine of a serial, which I’ll post periodically here.) What else should I consider?
Thanks to Nick Siedler for providing the working document.
Valuria Theophilia Englehart
[My great-aunt was named Valuria Engle; as a child, I spent hours poring over her 1900s schoolbooks and admiring her penmanship.]
Crocheter extraordinaire; temporal peregrationist (“wanderer of time,” or time traveler)
Country of Origin/Birth:
[I wanted to make it Great Britain, but realized it would be easier to put a steampunk twist on Milwaukee, than to invent a persona in another culture.]
Country of Residence:
That depends on which adventure she’s on! Valuria travels widely throughout Europe, India, the Far East, and Egypt. Some of her adventures are”time travel, in that she experiences other places while never quite leaving Milwaukee. Some adventures are true time travel . . . to the medieval era, Viking age, etc.
[I’ve traveled in some of those places and read lots about those times, so naturally this is fun for me!]
Personal Quirks or Interests:
Valuria’s father Archibald is a fussy, overprotective manufacturing baron who (ironically) spends a good deal of time on safari. In his absence, he insists Valuria keep busy with “feminine skills,” chief among them crochet. (Valuria is the reigning local Ladies’ League champion for Most Stitches Per Minute; however, she finds this secretly boring and prefers to leverage her crochet/knitting skills for self-defense while traveling.)
Valuria also has a mechanical bird. Finding the bird hopping about the factory yard was how she originally met her peregrational companion, Gabriel “Sparrow” Penberthy, a good-natured temporal inventioneer who daylights as a boiler mechanic and believes that a little engine oil will cure any ill (except where tangled yarns are concerned.)
[Gabriel, or “Sparrow” as Valuria calls him, looks rather like Nathan, the real-life inventor I’m married to . . . which means Nathan will probably be modeling for character designs . . . ]
Valuria has an extreme sense of adventure, a constant itch to travel. She sometimes uses her wanderings to stave off boredom while her father is gone (or to avoid his social calendar when he’s in town). But deep down, she also seeks a place she can call home. In the mean time, she’s also looking for a fugitive, below.
Intriguing or secret info that others do not know:
Thanks to Sparrow’s inventioneering, he and Valuria are “beta peregrationists” for the Society for the Advancement of Temporal Conveyances,” a clandestine organization. Only one other explorer has taken up their challenge–and he went rogue, carrying the blueprints with him. So Valuria’s and Sparrow’s travels are spiced up by dangerous run-ins with runaways. (For which the needles-and-yarn come in handy.) Also, it’s imperative for Sparrow to keep their machine running … because if it breaks, they have no way to return.
Valuria lives at Pudding Hill, a spacious, modern (1880s) home in the fashionable suburbs on the edge of downtown Milwaukee. Lake Michigan is just a few blocks away. Whenever Victoria is not traveling (or defending her Ladies’ League title), she bicycles to the lakefront or (tries to) help Gabriel in his workshop.
[I’ve also toyed with making Valuria younger than me, but explaining my personal age as a “quirk” of temporal peregration. The back-and-forth dimensional fluctuations play havoc on the body, causing it to age at a different rate than normal. This also causes her challenges with “explaining herself” to non-peregrationists.]
What persona are you working on? How’s it coming? Any tips?