Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.
Today’s piece is Tyla buying a theater ticket.
Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Tyla
By Nojh Livic
“Father, please. The maiden flight is tomorrow. I want to be rested, not attending some theatrical performance,” Tyla whispered to her father as he escorted her to the line. She did not wish to offend the others who were obviously very intent on purchasing tickets for the performance. It was mid-afternoon and the canopy in front of the theater ticket lines provided some relief against the mid-afternoon heat. She and her father had just finished lunch and were out for a stroll when her father had spied an advertisement for a show that evening.
“It is a special engagement dear. It is The Operreta by Leons Swalari,” Silven said emphatically, smiling at her. She was a sucker for his smiles. He had an innocent look about him when he was excited, which manifested in slight wrinkles at the edge of his lips.
Tyla remembered someone mentioning that name in the distant past. Perhaps one of the workers back at the shipyards had been discussing it. She couldn’t remember the details but they were animated about how much they enjoyed it. She sighed slightly and her father patted the hand she had in his arm. “Thank you, dear. Don’t worry we won’t stay to long. Besides I’ll be too excited to sleep.”
She nodded and smiled. “Me too,” Tyla admitted. She’d barely been sleeping the last week helping keep track of all the final pieces of work on the new ship. Tomorrow would be its maiden liftoff. She realized she had thoughts of almost nothing else for several days now. “Perhaps you’re right. A small distraction might help put the mind in order,” she thought aloud.
“Exactly! Shall we make it just the two of us? We wouldn’t want your mother snoring and disturbing the actors,” Silven whispered with a mischievous grin, covering his mouth and leaning over to speak in her ear. Tyla found herself giggling a the idea, which drew looks from a few of the others in line.
The line was short, relatively compared to a longer line on the other side of the small plaza. This particular line seemed to be for more expensive seats, easily surmised by the comparing the clothing styles of the occupants. Mostly servants on an errand with the occasional shopper like father and herself. The other line, much longer, was filled with men and women in work clothing. It was a testament to the show’s popularity that so many would take a break from their jobs to stand in a line for the performance in the afternoon heat.
Tyla found herself looking over the individuals of the other line, guessing at their profession, mood, or some other tidbit, while she waited in line patiently. One individual in overalls was obviously a tinkerer. He was fidgety and his hat was oil stained. A woman two people behind him wore a similar outfit, which her mother would have found scandalous but then her mother found it scandalous whenever she wore pants as well, which is why she had taken to changing at the shipyards. This woman, had dark smudges on her clothes and gloves, suggesting she was likely a Steam engineer. There was a automata standing in line next to its owner. It towered the rest of the line by a nearly a head’s height and its brass exterior was thankfully brushed metal, not reflecting the sunlight too brightly. It was vaguely humanoid but didn’t wear any clothes. It’s primary locomotion were wheels upon small four leg-like appendages. It seemed to be carrying large boxes for its owner, a short plump man well dressed but obviously a guildsman.
“How many?” asked the ticketmaster, who broke Tyla’s attention on the crowed. She released her father’s arm to let him step forward and speak to the man. He wore a uniform and sat upon a stool next to a large contraption that was likely a printing press combined with counting apparatus. This idea was confirmed when her father ordered two tickets and the ticketmaster began adjusting various knobs and buttons on the device. She surmised the dials selected a particular grouping of tickets while the buttons denoted how many tickets. The machine hummed and a tray extended with two freshly printed tickets. There were slots for at least three other tickets. They were ornately decorated, denoting the name of the theater, the show, time, and seat numbers. Tyla assumed then the untouched controls might have changed the time or show. She wondered how printing plates might have been loaded into the machine and was about to rise to her tiptoes to try to see the top of the machine when her fathered offered her arm again.
“Shall we then, dear?” Silven smiled brightly, showing off the tickets.
“Yes, Father,” Tyla said automatically, smiling back to him as they made their way back to the shipyard.
So Tyla was a character that grew out of a narrative need half way through the novel. I’m still not sure if she is a main character or not but I’m still writing windows for her. What this means is that as far as my main characters are concerned, she is my most undeveloped character, despite having a background that fits into the plot far better than the other characters. So I got to learn more about Tyla from this than any other character. Particularly her people watching and deconstruction of machines. I’m not sure if those qualities will stay or not. We’ll see.