Saturday, 25 July 2015

#WatchMeWrite: The Matryoshka Antagonist Triumvirate

#WatchMeWrite is a campaign started by E. R. Warren and Samantha Chaffin, wherein writers record their process, speed it up, add music, and show it to the rest of the world. Here are all past #WatchMeWrite videos!

So basically I have ranted on the blog again and again about my new Camp NaNo WIP. And you shall be hearing more of Thomas and the crew, except ... it sort of became not about Thomas and the crew.

Curiously, I find myself more and more partial to the apparent antagonists in Matryoshka. Here's why they are my problematic faves:

Kim, our foreign justiciar

  • Asian (Korean to be specific)
  • DID I MENTION SHE'S KOREAN (and her culture influences her a lot)
  • pretends to be stern but snarks at everyone
  • is right 99% of the time
  • but no one listens to her 'cos no one listens to the lady with the awesome dress
  • did I mention she wears a hanbok? BECAUSE SHE DOES.

Mallister, our Prime Minister 

  • the most dignified tyrant of ever
  • may be old but is still the best manipulative bastard in town
    • even more than the actual bastard Thomas
  • loves his missing daughter (Shadowplay readers, do not spoil who she is)
  • is (platonically) fond of Kim, no matter what he says

Rosalin, the resident Cinderella

  • by Cinderella I mean she's kind and no one gives her credit
  • lost an arm and is still Mallister's technical deputy
  • literally gives everyone a chance
  • is friends with Kim and in a better book, i.e. not mine, they would rule together
Oh, and for even more antagonist goodness, I'm recording a version with a voiceover (thanks @inkylove16 on Twitter for suggesting!) just for my takeout army. I will talk about everything from the music to puns to playing with languages. And if you're not part of my ranks, you can join now to receive that upgraded version in a week!

Do you prefer heroes to villains, protagonists to antagonists? Or are you secretly evil like me? I MUST KNOW. Comment away.


Twitter-sized takeout:

29 comments:

  1. YES I ADORE KIM ALREADY. Also, what's the song in the background?? *mentally files it away into list of nameless songs she need to listen to* Seriously, that was amazing. OH, AND THE DIVERSITY. Yay for people who have subversion languages. And who're Asians. BUT PLEASE CAN I JUST HAVE THE FINAL BOOK ALREADY XD I'd eat it in a day. Er, read it.

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    1. YAY YAY. It's Poison and Wine by the Civil Wars -- SUCH lovely writing music :) I'm glad you liked it -- and DIVERSITY ALL THE WAY. And I would love to share it with the world, except it's still rather in a mess. Whoops. Working on it! :D :D

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  2. Kim! Korean characters in fiction are a delight, since I'm Korean myself. >:) Even if she wasn't, I'd still love the idea of ehr, because good antagonists are my thing. I feel like you'd write antagonists who aren't classically evil as such. As in, the kind that's 100% pure evil (Voldemort, Cinderella's stepmother, etc.). So this is exciting for me. :) Well done for culture and a wide range of antagonistic personalities!

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    1. Ooh, I didn't know that, but it's always a delight to see characters who share parts of your identity. Good antagonists are the best sort of antagonists, really, and I do try to include some moral ambiguity. Thank you, Jo!

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  3. HI HELLO YOU HAVE ANOTHER EXCITED KOREAN IN THE COMMENTS CAN YOU TELL.

    In all seriousness, though, I'm loving your sparse drafting in this #WatchMeWrite. It's basically letting me see the beauty of your snark in action. (Okay, so maybe not complete seriousness.) And you know I adore your complex, well-executed, problematic fave antagonists. (ANTAGONIST IN A HANBOK I SUPPORT THIS SO MUCH WHERE HAS MY PUNCTUATION GONE.)

    I mean, all your characters are kind of problematic faves, I guess? I feel like most of them are too murdery not too be ;)

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    1. HEY THERE LOVELY PERSON BE EXCITED THANK YOU FOR THE EXCITEMENT

      Oh yeah, sparse drafting has brought out the snark in me. (It was always out there, but there's no harm in slightly more snark, right?) And people in traditional cultural clothing are always the best. THROW PUNCTUATION OUT THE WINDOW. Ancient Chinese didn't need no punctuation.

      Well ... you got me there. But that is a good thing, right? RIGHT?

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  4. I'm really loving the music, and your characters seem pretty interesting. Can't wait for the upgraded version!

    Regarding your question, it actually depends on the story and the characters involved. Sometimes I find myself sympathizing with the villain/antagonist, and other times, I support the hero 99%. I guess that means that I'm kinda sorta evil, and kinda sorta nice, or rather, morally ambiguous :P

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    1. Thank you, Precious! I'm super excited to send out this month's letters.

      Mmm, yes, it does, doesn't it? The author's intention for that particular book and character influences our reading a lot, I think. Pfft, moral ambiguity is the best. NEVER CHANGE.

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  5. YOU PUT A CIVIL WARS SONG IN A #WATCHMEWRITE I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS OH MY GOD (also it's pretty much my favourite Civil Wars song in the history of forever, so there's that too)

    In other news: I'm loving Kim more and more. Honestly, she sounds like such an interesting character - actually, all of these antagonists do. Which is the best thing; I simply adore it when I almost love the antagonists more than the protagonists. More confusion & hang-wringing & am-I-actually-a-horrible-person-for-liking-this-character-or-is-it-just-the-writer-being-too-fabulous-again, if you please! (Hint: in your case, it's usually the latter. ;))

    Also, I'm sorry, I know I keep dumping unwanted music recs on you, but I'm going do it one more time because this reminded me too much of Talisa to let it go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR9G7ioLLmc

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    1. YAYYY. I think I've fallen completely in love with Civil Wars songs. I can't pick between Poison and Wine & The One That Got Away for my fav, argh.

      I actually thought I wouldn't connect with Kim as much as other characters, but now she is TOTALLY MY FAVE, however problematic. (Hey, if I'm being fabulous, I should like my readers to feel like slightly horrible people. Not that it's true, especially not in your case, but that's the way I roll. ;D)

      Your music recs are ALWAYS wanted -- I mean, you dumped Civil Wars on me in the first place. And hmm, I can't say I love this song, and it's not very coherent with the rest of my WTA playlist, but it thematically does fit A LOT.

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  6. I fell in love with the villains, which is a strange feeling. I don't know, I suppose if a literary villain has something to them that makes me love them I forget, or don't mind about the fact they do bad stuff. The whole discussion of "villain" made me write a novel that turns villains and heroes on their heads and questions all that, which was so much fun and has given me a really different perspective; I'm so interested to learn these snippets about your characters! They sound gorgeously villainous and I wonder why they are actually villains, what makes them bad, ect. your Cinderella character sounds sublime, as does Kim. I want to meet them! xx

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    1. *mini dance* I love it when people fall in love with my villains. OOH, that novel sounds absolutely fabulous! I would like to write a novel that plays with those tropes as well, but I'm always playing with hero and villain tropes anyways.

      WELLLL, they are really more antagonists than villains. They're not actually "villainous" in the typical sense, although they will do some underhanded things.

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  8. I actually do like the villains better than the protags, believe it or not. I just find villains to be more complex and intriguing characters, and (if written properly) they can be the very thing that makes me grab the book and purchase it without a moment's doubt.
    But I have to add this; if a villain is written like a carboard character with no motives except 'oh, he/she is evil' I just find that so annoying. Do you? It's like, the villain's are humans too, and even in the biggest darkness there has to be a bit of light, or at least a reason as to why they turn to the dark side. Am I right?
    Oh, and I am loving your character Kim. She sounds quite similar to my character Sidony in my current novel, Masters of Creation, in that she tries to come across all professional and stern, yet snarks at everyone. I agree with Romi: I would love to meet these characters if they were real!
    (p.s- I really hope you don't mind me asking, but I have recently started a Writing Competition on my blog. It would mean so much to me if you could perhaps give it a little look? All feedback is welcome, as it is my first time and I dearly hope it is a success. Thank you!)

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    1. YAY YAY YAY. We are all villain-lovers (and perhaps villains) here. Although I might have to disagree on your second point -- personally I think that all people are selfish, and that is a good motive in of itself to fall to the dark side, so to speak. But obviously, their characterisation should go beyond being evil. Really, to be a villain is only to be human, IMO.

      OOH REALLY. I hope to hear more about your novel + your character! (And hehe, I'm not sure meeting them is the wisest solution.) And I have left a comment on your post -- all the best with the competition!

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  9. THIS STILL LOOKS AWESOME. *grabby hands*
    I have to say I'm a protagonist person, but I do love my antagonists very much, and these look amazing. Also, I loveeeee the way you sum these characters up. xD

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    1. YAY THANK YOU. *types faster to deliver ms to your grabby hands* I'm glad that you liked my antagonists even if you're not typically a I AM OF THE DARK SIDE person. And thank you!! Perhaps I'll do this for my protagonists and/or side characters too :)

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  10. Oh my gosh, Alyssa, this is so cool! What program do you use to record yourself writing?

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    1. Thank you, Rae! I actually just use Quicktime's screen recording function -- unfortunately I believe this only works for Macs, and you'll need to install special software to do it on a PC.

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    2. Oh, dangit, I have a PC XD But it's worth looking into. Thanks,dear ^_^

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    3. That's too bad, then -- although I still hope you can work out a way to do it!

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  11. Soooo cool! I loved this! It sounds exciting and awesome and Kim. and people. It was nice to see the sparse draft in effect, and some of your comment (still haven't named soldier') were hilarious :)

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    1. Thank you, Shar! I'm glad you enjoyed my comments -- I shall have a lot of fun reading them in revisions too, except when I'm actually revising ;P

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  12. *fans self* I am just in love with all your people. Like, you start reading Kim, and you think, "This could not possibly get better" and then it DOES and you're just like ajdfadjfaldfj because words are too basic to describe the chatter of thoughts and feelings that intrigue you. I also really liked how fluidly you seemed to switch between writing in a very deep and dignified way and then switching over to casual talk to make notes for later. I do that, and it's fun to see other people do it, too. Plus, you have this huge master craft dialogue and then you have slang, and that's just cool to me, because it feels like a fusion of words and ideas. So it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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    1. AIEEEE, THANK YOU. Kim is quickly becoming my fav character too. And yeah, sometimes the words are dignified when they come and sometimes it's just word vomit and I don't even care, I just put it all down on the paper. And yep, I've noticed it in the first draft snippets you blogged about once. So happy you liked this post!

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  13. This is an interesting idea, but I would NEVER figure out how to do it. I'm technologically illiterate like 80% of the time. I dig villains, always have. The more evil the better and I write pretty damned good, creepy, awesome villains if I do say so myself haha

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    1. It's actually really simple on a Mac -- just open up Quicktime Player, and go to File >> New Screen Recording. And yeah, villains are the best. The creepier the better. *nodnod*

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  14. Kim sounds AWESOME, so I can understand why she is one of your favourite characters! And both Mallister and Rosalin sound like super interesting characters so YAY!

    In my current WIP (which I have deserted in recent times because I am a horrible book mother who doesn't pay enough attention to her offspring), one of my favourite characters is one that I introduced as a kind of villain/antagonist and ... I adore him. He's really horrible, and has been for EVER, but I love him so much because I know his backstory and he's just special and broke and *squishes him*

    In general, though, I love my main boys who are always good (with little shades of bad because they make things interesting ;D).

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    1. Yay, thank you, Chiara! I'm so happy my characters interest you. And SQUISHY VILLAINS ARE THE BEST. Kim would probably reprimand you firmly if you tried to squish her, and if that failed stab you with a great deal of vigour XD I'm trying to write a nice guy for MTY too, but my inner dark side is corrupting him slowly :S

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