The Beginning of Baldwin
As of a few days ago, my first indie-published story, Baldwin’s Bazaar of Curious Creatures, went up on Amazon and Smashwords. This would usually call for a blog post where I spend the entirety of it convincing you to hand over your hard-earned cash to buy a copy, but I don’t want to do that. Instead, I’m going to talk about Baldwin himself, how he came to be, and what changes happened to him until he arrived at the final product that he is today. I’ve put the advert at the bottom of this post if you’re curious enough to check it out!
Baldwin himself…well, it’s a weird one. The concept of Baldwin fighting a werewolf popped into my head while listening to a song. The song itself has vanished from my memory, but the original concept is still solid in my mind — a top-hatted gentleman wielding pistols and gadgets goes toe-to-toe against a werewolf on the docks of a steampunk-ey world. It was a more action-centric story at the time, with lots of cool things happening and stuff getting destroyed in the process.
After he had dominated my mind for a while (a sign that a story should be written for me) I came to realise just how bored I’d be if I made Baldwin your typical tobacco-chewing, muscle-flexing, wise-crack-cracking(?) hero who always gets the girl. Sure, he’d be dashing and cool, and it’d be something I want to keep in the final draft; however, he felt too much like a ‘Mary Sue’. He was too perfect, too awesome. Everything seemed to fit into place for him.
The giggles and chortles in public places occurred when I realised how much fun it’d be to make him so imperfect. The very first draft had Baldwin meet a man in a bar. He’d identify him as a curiosity, and lead him to an ambush in the Oil Alleys, a section of the Rivetwerks dominated by alleys coated with oil from the machinery all over it. Unfortunately, the tables turned when the man leads him into an ambush, and turns out to be a werewolf. Baldwin runs for his life, throwing all sorts of strange gadgets at the werewolf’s face until he finally exits the Alleys, leaving the werewolf still within its oil-coated walls. He deliberately overloads a gun given to him by his personal gadgeteer Graxx, and the whole place goes alight, killing the werewolf.
It was fun to write, but several things felt wrong. First, the humour felt a bit shoe-horned and unnatural. Second, while it did point out some of his flaws, his ‘execution’ lead back to his cool and dashing self which ruined the idea that he’s a bumbling idiot. Third, something was missing, and I had no idea what.
It was only after reading Terry Pratchett’s Colour of Magic, as well as K.M. Weiland’s blog post on sidekicks, where I realised what was wrong. Baldwin was bumbling about, but there wasn’t anyone going alongside him reminding him of how much of an idiot he was. Even better, there wasn’t someone alongside him that would often drag Baldwin himself into deeper mud. I wanted someone to tag along with him, to always be those best friends people have who prod and joke about them but still maintain a healthy friendship. Given Baldwin’s nature, I decided to make the sidekick that follows him in the final draft; Zyrax the Energy Demon, who resides on his wristband and pops out to help (loose usage of the word) Baldwin win the day and capture the curiosities. With Zyrax in mind, my previous lessons learnt and my humour bone tickled by Colour of Magic, I set out to do a redraft of Baldwin. It wasn’t long before I realised it was shaping up to be one of my best works yet, and it was the one piece of work I sat back and thought “This is it, the one I want to carry with me when I debut in indie publishing”.
Baldwin has a few other encounters in mind, but nothing so solid as to write yet. Hopefully one day, I’ll come back and write another chapter in Baldwin’s life, be it a short story, a novelette, or even a novel!
Baldwin’s Bazaar of Curious Creatures
The Rivetwerks is a dangerous place for the every-day man. With weird and wonderful creatures hiding within the darkest places of the Werks, the citizens needed someone they can trust. Someone brave, daring and incredibly intelligent.
Unfortunately, they never got him. They got Baldwin instead.
Join Baldwin and his demonic companion Zyrax as they locate their next fearsome fight — a deadly werewolf. Will he come out alive? Will he save the Rivetwerks from another fearsome curiosity? Will the gadget-inventor Graxx actually smile for once? The answers lie within…
A humourous fantasy short story totalling appox. 7400 words.