Creating Josh’s character

The origin of this story came when I was watching TV, and something caused me to imagine a ship in space with two young kids aboard.  I had no idea why they were there or anything else about the situation, but I liked the imagery.  So I started writing.  Initially, I had Josh a lot younger than he is in the story now, maybe 10 years old.  I liked the idea of the intense burden of this mission being forced on a young kid, someone who was still in the early stages of training.

As I developed Leah, and reached a point in the story that both her and Josh were interacting a lot more, I realized the young age was not the direction I wanted to go, but I also didn’t want them to be older adults.  They needed to be mature enough both mentally and physically to engage in the situations they would face together, yet still have some uncertainty about themselves and how they deal with difficult circumstances.

About the same time I decided to make Josh older, I happened to discover a group called Joy Division.  I loved the darkness in their music, which fit the mental state Josh’s character was in, and then I read about the tragic suicide of Joy Division’s lead singer, Ian Curtis.  I became fascinated with both the music and Ian, and wanted to impart that sort of personal struggle in Josh’s character.

Having Josh struggle between his training to survive, and his deep rooted depression, helped create an interesting twist on an “end of the world” story.  By introducing Leah, and her reliance on faith rather than physical prowess, I wanted to explore on the edges of the story what the “end of the world” would mean, in the context of the possible existence of God.  There are prevailing beliefs in many religions that the world must end, and that God has it all planned out.  So if something so catastrophic as the end of the human race were to be nearly reached, would God stand by and watch as the last two people died?  Or would he have another plan in place?

It certainly would be a tragic thing that if the world was going to end, those struggling to keep it from happening were too flawed to do so, even if they tried.

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