I started re-watching Chuck this week on Netflix with the kids, and I almost forgot what an incredible show it was! I'm not sure it technically qualifies as a "creative influence" when it comes to my own writing, but there are definitely motifs running throughout the show that I see repeated in ANOM: Awakening.
First, a quick review. . .
If you've never seen an episode of Chuck, do yourself a favor and go binge-watch the entire first season. I can wait.
For the rest of you, I'm sure you remember that Chuck is a show about a normal guy (Chuck Bartowski) who gets the contents of a top-secret government computer downloaded into his brain. Mayhem ensues as Chuck helps the CIA and the NSA keep the world safe from evil . . . all while maintaining his cover of hapless, mega-computer store, "Nerd Herd" employee.
Needless to say, the magic of Chuck lies almost entirely with its titular hero. Watching Zachary Levi (in the role of Chuck Bartowski) straddle these two disparate worlds makes the show fun to watch. He is "us", with all of his flaws, insecurities, and mistakes. He can't save the world with his Kung-Fu, but he can save the world thanks to his best friend's intricate knowledge of Call of Duty.
Chuck is a normal guy making use of his limited skills to do the best he can. . . and that theme is universal. That's all of us, everyday!
So how does that translate to my book?
There is no "Superman" in ANOM: Awakening. There is no Swiss Army Knife kind of hero capable of doing everything on his own like a James Bond super-spy.
Everyone in my book has weaknesses -- sometimes dramatic weaknesses. Weaknesses that stop them from being the heroes (and sometimes even the people) they hope to be.
They're just normal people making use of their limited skills, trying to do the best they can. Just like the rest of us. Just like Chuck.