*Language and Content Warning*
Unlike QE’s normal informational blog, Wasteland Wednesday is potentially full of foul language and post-apocalyptic nonsense.
It’s time for another update from the Wasteland. As the author, I’m pounding away on rewrites. If I can hold my pace, I should have it out to my alphas by the end of the month. When it goes out to my alphas, I’ll do the rewrites of the novella.
I‘m planning on finishing one of my more time consuming client projects here in mid-December (not a bad thing, just a bit of work), and when that happens I’ll pound out the discovery draft of the next book in the series. This next book will have whoever survives book one, moving north to face a bigger threat—and maybe even escaping Middle America. The Lost Word, mentioned last week, will play a larger role in the next book as well.
Today, meet Jim.
Background: From birth, Jim lived in a bunker. His father told him the outside world was a barren radioactive wasteland, and if they would leave the bunker they would die. Despite his isolation, Jim’s father provided him a superb education (even by pre-fall standards). This education was heavy in classic works of literature, language, and some technical skills like medicine and electronics.
When Drake meets Jim, his familial background is ambiguous. They meet “accidentally” outside of Stanley Station, which is a coal plant that was converted into a settlement. Jim admits little about his father and family. Outside accounts indicate Jim is an orphan that wandered into the station.
Basic Physical Description: The wasteland doesn’t provide salad bars, or all you can eat pizza, so Jim is a skinny boy. Acne has began to spring up among his freckles. His eyes are described as bright blue, and his hair is shaggy and brown. He is very pale—apparently the bunker didn’t have a tanning bed.
Personality: Jim is very clever and optimistic. This is likely a result of his education and lack of exposure to the wastes. With no “real” experiences to rely on, Jim often attempts to apply classic works of literature to things he experiences. The boy is particularly fond of Treasure Island and sees Drake as swashbuckling pirate of sorts.
As classic works of fiction are basically extinct, Jim references people, places, and things that most people have never heard of. On the other hand, the most common of wasteland information is often a foreign concept to the boy.
Drake considers himself to be a master of manipulation and understanding what makes people tick, and Jim has managed to pull a few fast ones on him. In this way, Jim quickly endeared himself to Drake (thought Drake would never admit that). Both Drake and Lex are very protective of children, and this cements him into the party—that, in addition to some wasteland happenstance.
When Drake looks at Jim, he imagines what his dead son Jonathon might have become. When Lex looks at him, she sees the innocence she lost. When Preacher looks at Jim, he sees the future of the wasteland. Due to all of these points of view, Jim because a central character to the groups unity.
Abilities: Jim is clueless and vastly intelligence at the same time. Especially in a time when most children, and even adults, are knuckle draggers in terms of brainpower. This cuts both ways for the boy. He is also a sponge, quickly picking up on information and training. Drake notes that the boy learned the steps to effectively fire a pistol faster than some of the people he trained while he was in the military.
Jim is also a whiz when it comes to first aid. Drake owes his life to Jim’s fast action with a needle and thread. Drake has noted Jim knows aspects about medicine that could have only been taught formally, not just picked up at random.
Motivation: Jim’s motivations shift throughout the book. At first, he hears a story about Drake Nelson, who had rolled into Stanley Station. Jim puts a lot of stock in stories and maneuvered himself in a way to be close to him. Being naive, one motivation is to share in Drake’s adventure. This perhaps, as the story unfolds, wasn’t the best course of action.
Jim is also motivated by something higher, something even Drake can’t put his finger on. To Drake, Jim seems to be running away from something and toward something else at the same time. Preacher seems to believe Jim is the future of the wasteland…which to Drake is the kind of idiotic rantings he would expect from someone like Preacher.
Jim is driven to prove he isn’t just some dumb kid. While he knows he is probably the most intelligence kid out there, he understands there is a lot of things he is ignorant of. Any opportunity he gets, he attempts to prove himself and his worth.
Equipment: Jim, much to his horror, is largely Drake’s pack mule. The boy bears a heavy burden, literally. He is a novice with the pistol Drake acquired for him, a Sig Sauer Mosquito, but becomes more and more proficient with each passing firefight.
Author’s Note: I say this for all of my characters, but Jim is one of my favorites. He is comic relief, a source of bonding, and has a natural way of cutting through characters and revealing their motivations. For Drake, Jim’s character reveals his humanity to the reader. It also acts to tie Drake back to the person he was before the fall, when he had a little boy named Jonathon. I also like how dynamic Jim’s character is. His arc is very rewarding and there are a lot of important plot points tied to his evolution and growth.
That’s it for today’s wasteland news! I hope you all enjoyed this sneak-peak into Wastelander: The Drake Legacy. I’d love to know what you think about Jim. Until we cross quills again, keep hiding, keep hoarding, and as always—stay alive.