In Trespassing you meet Brendan, Kristy, Matt, and Derek as adults. In Fallout they are teenagers. But age is not the only thing that changed.
The summer before middle school I wrote my first story. The kind you write for yourself. For fun, not for class. It was about a group of five friends who find an island of dinosaurs. (At the time I wanted to be a paleontologist.) Those five friends were Brenda, Jenny, Christy, Matt, and Derek. They have been living in my head for over twenty years.
Through middle school and high school these were the humans in my Transformers fan fiction. So they have had many adventures together. Hopefully they seem well rendered. And if they do, it is because I have been putting through quite a bit with giant robots before they ever met the Elbie. In Trespassing I have swapped out robotic life forms for energy ones.
If you look at the two lists of names you are going to see three differences:
Brenda versus Brendan
Jenny is missing from the second list
Lysandra is missing from first the list
Brenda and Jenny were the core of the group as BFFs. In 2001 when I wrote my first draft of Fallout Jenny became Jake. Jenny never made it into the Elbie reality. I wanted the BFFs to be opposite sex because that was more of my experience and I had lots of these in my circle of friends at the time.
In 2006 I gave up on Fallout and I moved the timeline up, after the establishment of the Elbie in our world, Trespassing. This is when I brought in Lysandra. Lysandra had been a part of my Transformers fan fiction as well, in the post original movie reality. I really liked having Brenda and Lysandra as identical twins because it meant lots of messing around with identity and switching them out for each other but the story line still wasn’t panning out.
Finally, in 2010 I made a drastic change.
Brenda became BrendaN. The hobbies and interests of Jake became Brendan’s thus eliminating Jake and making Kristy the new BFF since she was now the only female in the group. Then it all came together. It seems so strange that something like that made the difference. While I don’t really know why it worked I can give you one theory.
The most interesting part about changing Brenda to BrendaN was their relationship to Lysandra. I say “they” because in a writerly way Brenda still exists on her own outside of Brendan but she is very different from her male counterpart.
One attitude Brenda/Brendan share is their hate for Elbie and specifically Esben. But for Brenda, the appearance of Lysandra meant she now had a method for carrying out the revenge she had wanted for years. Her feelings toward her identical sister were practically null. She was distant and calculated in the way she related to Lysandra.
**SPOILER** Brendan on the other hand, revenge is a thought only after Elbie have harmed his sister. Rather than becoming less human at Lysandra’s appearance, he becomes more human than he has in years.
This was not something I planned. Most of my characters are self-actuating. They tell me who they want to be. I did not create Brenda to be cold toward her sister any more than I made Brendan to be gushing over her. That is just how they are. One worked and the other didn’t. Pure and simple. It is one of the mysteries of creating.
If I ever decide to release Fallout it will need some major overhauling because of the changes I’ve made to the character line up. I still write the kind of stories I want to, for myself, for fun, but it makes me happy to know that other people like them too. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail or Tweet me.