In case you may not know, my initials are N.T.C.
During the day, I like to read about different industries and fields: tech, finance, travel, languages, culture.
Side note, I love to talk about polymaths. That’s my thing.
These are mainly for curiosity’s sake, to understand various real-world things. Maybe I can apply them in some way.
At night is when the creative side comes out: N.T. Cloever. Well actually, it’s early morning, that’s when I’d write.
Anyways, when I create something, this guy comes out. He’s the pen name of all the weird, fantasy, strange, unusual thoughts that come out of me.
But where did he come from?
N.T. Cloever’s Origin Story
The more I write this article the more I sound vain haha. Anyways, this is the history behind the name:
At the time, I was writing articles for financial websites. Hardcore, technical dry stuff.
It’s not exactly inspiring, but it is informative and educational. People in the finance and tech space would want to read it so they could keep updated.
Outside of that, I was writing fictional stories just for the heck of it. I thought it’d be fun, you know? Creating my own worlds in my own spare time?
When I turned my stories into podcast format, I didn’t want to associate my real name with my creative side. I had this strange situation playing in my head that people would be searching my name for the articles that I wrote, and next thing you know they’re listening to a story about a Sage exploring in the jungle. If you were a banker, you’d be confused!
So I wanted a pen name. I researched how to make one (it sounds stupid, I know). I researched the pros and cons of using one in the first place. Then I decided on using my initials, but changing the last name.
I knew I wanted something Dutch-based, to pay tribute to my time living in The Hague years ago. Enter Cloever: a Dutch family name, the Dutch word for a clover. I liked what it represents too: Luck, just like the first episode (ayy!). It even sounded fantasy-like, and I instantly took it for myself.
It became easy to distinguish what I am making by looking at the name it’s published under. My real name for non-fiction texts, and my pen name for fictional, creative ones. Eventually, I know I will use my real name to create more professional stuff, so it helps.
I don’t think you can’t get poetic when talking about various real-world things after all, haha. Unless it’s something like ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’, that’s a good quick read.
Building the Character
Cloever’s role is to be the conduit for all fictional stuff that I create. It can range from:
- Poetry and prose
- Short stories
- Published fictional works
- Designs/Art (eventually!)
It’s easier for me to associate everything creative like that under his name.
For Tempered Fables, he is the Narrator, the center point for every story under the podcast name. It’s part of the narrative I’m trying to build!
But what’s HIS origin story in the podcast? You’ll find out eventually 😉
Since I live in the real world, it can’t be me. In an alternate, fictional world, only fictional characters exist. For me, N.T. Cloever is the fictional version of me, allowing me to tap into other creative strange works.
It sounds stupid if you think about it, right? Any listener can tell that it’s me, Norman. That’s my voice and all.
But I believe in the power of self-signaling: to get into the groove of a character by fully believing 100% in that role. I guess that’s acting at its finest: I have such a firm belief that Cloever has to exist in the podcast instead of myself, that it becomes the ‘truth’.
Once I’m comfortable knowing that, I can speak without limits. I don’t have to be worried about what other people will say, or what other people will expect. What I can make as Cloever can work in that world.
I’m weird, I know, haha. It might be a case of 中二病 (Chūnibyō).
Here’s how he looks like
For the first time ever, you can see the first ever rendition of Cloever in Tempered Fables!
Made by my good friend Wendy Park, I wanted to see how my character looks, visualised by an artist.
This was a basic description that I sent to her:
- The Narrator is a wizard-like character
- Has a wizard’s hat
- Silver hair underneath, Silver/white eyes
- Slight smirk, smiling even
- Wears a fantasy-like coat similar to reference below (mainly dark blue/black)
- Has a grimoire (similar to my Lorebook)
Since she was pushing herself to do artworks and commissions, that hard work inspired me to commission a piece from her. It was good timing too because I was thinking of commissioning art pieces sooner or later!
You can check out her work here:
- Wendy’s DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/nellafantasiaa
- Wendy’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mahoushoujonell/
- Wendy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/vvendypark
As you can tell, Cloever was the product of my creative frustrations.
He’s also reflective of one of my goals in life: to be a narrator, a storyteller on stage, performing. A podcast is like a stage, but only for your ears and thoughts.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I have an acting offer printed out and hung on my wall haha. But that’s fine.
I’ll pursue and make my own live stage, in my own way.
Always waiting by the fire,