As regular readers know, last night I finished An Improbable Journey. It was a blast to write, it went quickly, it was short and I’m feeling a lot of promise in the concept. The execution will need more work of course, but that’s what editing is for. I’m thinking I’ll do several more in this series in the near-term, hope you’ll let me know what you think of them!
As I went through the story my conception of the main character changed several times. At first I thought he was going to be a tech-savvy customer who would face the Herculean task of salvaging parts to repair a dead hulk on his own, but then I started to realize that wasn’t going to make for super-exciting storytelling unless I added an external threat of some sort, but I really didn’t want to do that. Instead I evolved my thinking into what you see in the finished draft; he’s a history/antiquity buff who lacks the skills he’s going to need to get out of this on his own, so he has to strike a deal with the devil to get out. The consequences of this will definitely be felt in future stories.
In my mind now, he’s in a good place to become a sort of Han Solo/Indiana Jones hybrid character, which isn’t as natural a fit as one might think. Solo was a rogue with a heart of gold, in it for himself unless he can be brought around to Do the Right Thing.
Indiana Jones is neither of those things. He’s the more action-oriented example of what Corwin is right now - an intellectual and historian. When he goes on a grand quest, it’s never about personal gain, nor is it about Doing the Right Thing. For him, the rallying cry is “It belongs in a museum!” That, or his dad is dying.
I’m not setting out to create a character that mashes together both of Harrison Ford’s most iconic personas here. It’s more like the Space Quest influence on the story was; a sort of coloring. Corwin isn’t Han, nor is he Indy, but I’d be lying through my teeth if I tried to tell you those two guys aren’t coloring my thoughts as I write him.