The Sunshine Crew: Everybody’s Waitin’
The manuscript is now at the 25k mark, and everything is shaping up nicely, so it’s time for another post.
Today, I’d like to talk about Will Scarbrough, introduced in one of the sample chapters. Will was originally meant to be the main character before I decided that I didn’t really want the book to have a singular main character. However, he’s become so prevalent in the narrative that I guess he’s back to being the lead man.
Anyway, Will is a bit of an extreme character. His behavior is bombastic and over-the-top, but nothing defines him quite as much as his perversely gleeful desire to watch the world explode. None of the other three central characters have quite that same level of unbridled joy. It’s sick, it’s crazy, and I’m constantly worried that it’s unrealistic.
But it’s not unrealistic. In fact, there are millions of people just like Will right now, anticipating the end of all things.
It’s actually a very interesting time to be writing about this. The Seventh-day Adventist Church – a religious sect based around apocalypticism – will be 150 years old next month. When the church was founded in the mid-19th century, they really didn’t believe that Earth would still be here. Their teachings held that the world was in an “investigative” phase, after which would come a “time of troubles” (analogous to the Tribulation in the end times belief of many evangelical Christians) and finally the construction of the kingdom of God. While they didn’t know exactly when the investigative phase would end, they certainly weren’t expecting it to take a century and a half. And many of those early followers were used to this – the Adventist churches all grew out of the teaching of William Miller, whose prediction that the world would end in 1844 would become infamous as the Great Disappointment.
My point is that there are ample real world precedents for this kind of apocalyptic fervor. There are groups ranging from evangelicals to survivalists to deep greens to zombie-obsessed nerds who harbor fantasies of doomsday. Yes, Will’s own reasons are very small – he really just wants to see it first-hand, to witness the event up close and personal. But there’s nothing at all unrealistic about that glee, that happy nihilism that he exhibits at every turn. It’s just another very strange part of our very strange human society.