The joys of planning a serial: you can just chance upon a bit of fluff that suddenly turns your story around.
The sort of serendipity my friend Claire loves so much.
It went like this: I was laughing with my friend Lucy a while back and this quote from Sir Alec Guinness came up:
Can’t say I’m enjoying the film. … new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable. I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if Yahoo collapses in a week. … I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet—and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford. Ellison (?—No!)—well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety—and treat me as if I was 106.—Oh, Harrison Ford—ever heard of him?
And I said, damn, I need to have a character called Tennyson Ford!
And it turns out that Tennyson Ford, that his friends of course call Tenn, and he jokes about it (a lot), immediately dropped in the outline and notes for AMARNA, did set a lot of things straight.
Right now, in fact, the story has a fine cast of female characters, four of them, but only three male characters, and only one of them properly outlined.
But place Tennyson Ford on the scene and… ah! Balance!
Just as I was adding the young mister Ford to the plot, weaving him in, so to speak, I was reminded of another quote, this time by Kurt Russel, about his character Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, that he described as “the guy whose heart is in the adventure, but his ass is not.”
Et voilà, name and characterization.
Now the cast is complete, and all of a sudden the the engine is running, firing on all cylinders.
Stuff happens to people, not cardboard frames.
For the first time, really, I’ve got the feeling this thing is REALLY going to work.
All thanks to Alec Guinness.
Now I only need a face for Ten Ford… I wonder what actor could portray him in a movie adaptation of AMARNA…