History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Character Inspirations

Cover for Brass & Glass Book OneLast week, I finished up the first draft of Brass and Glass 2 (which doesn’t have an official subtitle yet) and started outlining book 3. In doing so, I had a chance to look at some of my characters, their motivations, and the inspirations behind them.

One of my friends read the first chapter of The Cask of Cranglimmering and said “it’s the crew of the Firefly, but gender-flipped.” And I stammered for a minute as I ran through each of my main characters, and finally said, “well, yeah, but they’re also not.”

But on first glance, they sure look like it. A female captain with a war-related background. A male first mate who is the captain’s dearest friend, and also comes from the same background. A sometimes contentious relationship between said first mate and the female pilot. A female doctor who really isn’t part of the rough and tumble life. And a quirky boy mechanic. Yep, it looks a lot like a gender-flipped Firefly crew.

And that crew (and the show around them) was certainly an inspiration for the crew of The Silent Monsoon. But it wasn’t the only inspiration. Svetlana is loosely based on a character that I played in a couple of other games, which was in turn inspired by an art card that I found years ago. It depicts a dark-haired woman wearing an eyepatch and slightly pirate-looking clothing, and holding a pistol. Perfect for the no-nonsense captain.

The other members of the crew grew organically off of Svetlana. If the ship had a female captain, how about a male first mate? And I wanted him to be a complete and utter flirt, with a jealous girlfriend as part of the crew, so there’s your pilot. Then I needed someone sensible for the captain to consult with, so that was the doctor, who I made a woman because there are still so many people who expect a doctor to be male. And because I didn’t want the first mate to be the ONLY guy around, I made the mechanic male as well.

Other parts of their personality came from the random photos that I found. The picture that looked like it should be Jo had really long hair, so I made that a key part of her character–she’s mostly rough and tumble, but she’s also REALLY vain about and protective of her beautiful long hair.

And some of it came from what was fun to write. Indy doesn’t always speak in complete sentences, because his brain is working at a million miles an hour, and who needs things like articles or even subjects when you’re busy? Finding the balance between his sparse dialogue and making the other characters able to understand him is a challenge that I enjoy!


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