I built David around two pillars of personality. One is his interest in the Epics, which balances between hatred and fascination. The other one is his fierce determination, which leads him to be impulsive and bull-headed at times, but also pretty inspiring at others.
I feel that as people, sometimes our greatest strengths are also our greatest liabilities. In this respect, every human being is a conundrum in at least one or two ways. With David, his fixation on the Epics is a huge strength—but he’s been so narrowly focused in his interests that he neglected many other areas of study. So he’s both smart and stupid. At the same time, he’s impulsive and determined, which leads to acts of great bravery, but he lives in a society that beats people down—so if he stops and thinks too long, he can often psych himself out.
One of the things about David is he is really bad with metaphoric language, comically bad. That happened on accident, I was writing his viewpoint and I’m like “This character is dry, he needs more of a soul, he needs more life. How can I make him work?” and I accidentally wrote a bad metaphor. That happens a lot when you’re writing, you know, purple prose and bad metaphors just come out when you’re not looking. It’s like they sneak out onto the page and you’re like “That was really bad”. Then I paused and thought “Well, let’s go ahead and leave it in *laughter* and run with this.” And it was great because it became a metaphor for David’s metaphor– kind of coincidentally or ironically or whatever– that bad metaphors become a metaphor themselves because he became the character who tries too hard. He’s /really/ earnest and he’s going to get stuff done but he’s trying a little too hard. And that’s where the bad metaphors come from, he overthinks them. He tries too hard to put something together and it ends up as just a big mess. But his earnestness comes through it, and that became his character and it works really well. But that one’s just an accident.