People have their own ideas and experiences that their perspectives are built on. It's why some may see certain stances better than others or even understand issues that are hard to imagine for another. But telling the story of how I wrote Zelos inevitably involves me talking about my impression of how he's famously written.
I've never actually read applications or even posts of other Zelos Wilder's until that one time I did in some old, dead site. To me, that Zelos was portrayed too dramatically and woefully, someone too hung up on the past and repeating the same habits he swore to stop. It wasn't what actually made me decide to pick Zelos later on. It was only because of his small likeness to Tyrion Lannister when my rage for A Song of Ice and Fire was at its highest and I wanted to see how my writing would translate to roleplaying after spending months polishing it that I thought of Zelos again. But the desire in me to portray him in a more light-hearted, hopeful light is what pushed me to go for it.
Zelos was also someone I felt was outside of my concern. I was piss poor with flirtatious characters that I could only get second-hand embarrassment for myself. He was also very street-smart and open to interacting with all walks of life with an open mind. He was very privileged by birth, but neglected and betrayed, forced to navigate through complex lies and facades using his wits and suspicious thinking. I felt he was a very easy character to interact with and I wanted to write him as this day-to-day person you would meet anywhere.
Making Zelos a drifter was more of an influence because of his job: an odd-jobber, another choice that I did not feel was popular. He would fit in as a cafe waiter or some social job where he could run his big mouth to others. But while inherently lazy, Zelos was not one to abandon his obligations just as his father and mother did. He left his world that was still in a political turmoil and a younger sister who no longer had an Exsphere to help her everyday life. Zelos was restless and not being tied to a job and dimension meant that he could go around looking for ways to return. Even in canon, Zelos has always been traveling around, never idle or staying home with no purpose. Though I bet, ideally, that kind of life was exactly what he would love. Alas, there was a world to save from itself.
My desire to portray Zelos realistically also included his absolutely disgusting sexual harassment. The game did a great job showing racism and how even the protagonists could be victims of the social consciousness. While this for sure was something I portray humorously, I look forward to Zelos getting more enlightened and changing some of his ways some more. But then you ask what motivated Zelos to act like this, and so I felt this emptiness he was trying to fill by messing around with women was something that should be touched upon too, especially with the important role his mother played on his life.
Lastly, probably the most controversial decision I had to make was Zelos' sexuality. From the drama CDs, it was confirmed that Zelos was interested in Sheena and was already planning on making a move on her when the time was right. He made it clear in an arrogant manner that he wasn't interested in dealing with men either. But then, boom, Lloyd happened.
Maybe the biggest debate among Zelos RPers was whether or not Zelos loved Lloyd in a romantic or platonic way. With no sexual attraction being as clear with how Zelos interacts with Sheena, it was really impossible to say for sure. But for me, I think the most important telling sign was Zelos' lack of interest to pursue anything more than friendship. That in itself - that conscious decision to initiate or to expect - was a strong enough of a hint that Zelos saw Lloyd as a special buddy. I could understand the level of bond between the two, but when I think of, "Can this relationship be something else?" the instant answer is, "Nah." The pursuit of romantic relations wasn't necessarily sexual, but just the partnership of it, the eternally-faithful stuff.