It’s probably obvious that the first character I fleshed out was the protagonist. The entire book is written from Camden’s perspective. The first draft had a lot more background that ultimately got cut as I worked on the more important aspects of his history. Below is the original character outline I put together. Not all of this is relevant to the current version of the book but I figure it can be interesting.
Editor’s note: This profile has been updated since originally published with a fresh perspective on his trials and challenges. This profile will make its way into the upcoming drafts of the novel. Spoilers may abound.
Trevor Camden Hill, Jr.
aka LT, Little Trevor, Camden
Who he is: Lieutenant Director of a top secret government facility that houses the world’s most renowned scientists. Divorced and living with his mom, he has never quite lived up to his potential.
How others see him: Extremely bright with leadership capabilities, but lets his personal issues cloud his judgment. While most refer to him as “LT” for “lieutenant” others still see him as “Little Trevor.” Carries around deep pain from being abandoned physically by his dad and emotionally by his mom, which has led to many poor life decisions.
How he sees himself: Someone who struggles to be great but always falls short at achieving his dreams. The best opportunities in life seem to slip through his fingers.
What he wants: To break free from his past and build a new life for himself and his family.
Character Path: Conflicted
Three Problems He faces:
- External: When Camden was a child, his dad destroyed his research and walked out on his family. Camden is determined to be different from his dad but finds the pain of his childhood too much to overcome, leading Camden to be far too much like his dad for his own comfort. Today, working at the same facility he grew up in, Camden’s Dad’s research has been rebuilt and is brought online. The result is the discovery of a portal to a devastated future. The clock to learn why the planet was destroyed and figure out a way to keep the human race alive is ticking. And it’s not lost on Camden that had his dad not destroyed the research all those years ago, they would have had a head start on finding a solution. Determined to succeed where his dad failed, Camden leads a team to learn the secrets of the future and find a way to survive.
- Internal: Deep down, Camden feels much like the future they found: Void and lifeless, and increasingly without hope. Because of his family issues, Camden has a problem with authority. This has always prevented him from succeeding professionally, even though he has the skill and aptitude. Getting married he decides to try to settle down, taking a job back at the facility he grew up at. But his personal life there fared no better, and his fast track to the Director’s chair never materialized. Camden’s past continues to haunt him as he struggles to put it behind him. But not being able to forgive his dad means Camden is not able to let go of his own past and forgive himself.
- Philosophical: Since we can’t change our past, how can one break free from the effects of all the terrible decisions they’ve made. How much does our past dictate our future? Is there forgiveness for our mistakes, and even if there is, how does that help us change going forward.
- Psychological Issues: Hates his dad for leaving him as a child.
- Sociological Issues: Somewhat repressed and withdrawn. Isn’t great at socializing but often stays focused on work.
- Physiological Issues: Tom Hardy. 5’8”, Mid to late 30’s. Dirty blond hair. No remarkable features. Has let himself go a bit. Unshaven and scraggly beard.
How will he transform? Devastated from within due to abandonment, followed by a lifetime of poor decisions, Camden has never quite measured up to his own goals and dreams. He will come to realize that he can’t change what happened in the past but that doesn’t mean his past has to dictate his future. Face to face with the reality that the past isn’t what he thought it was, Camden not only forgives his dad and his mom, but he forgives himself. And that gives him the strength to do more than just hope for change but to create the change he wants in his life… and the future of the world.