Saturday, 5 September 2015

Beautiful People: Thomas Continues His Bratty Ways

Beautiful People is a linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, where writers answer questions about their books/characters. As should be obvious from the headline, I continue to discuss Thomas of Matryohska.

Before that, though, a confession—I'm right now in something of a writing slump. I hope that answering today's questions will help somewhat, but if you're so inclined, go and stalk me at myWriteClub. And if I'm not writing, throw unicorns at me or something. It works.

Now, onto the questions!

1. They’re in a crisis: who would they really like to see right now?
This gif was initially more for the hilarity factor, but then I realise it is quite fitting for Thomas. In a sticky situation, Thomas uses the fake-smile-on-face and look-for-help method. Which is to say, he can't do anything and he knows it.

Normally, he'd look for his mother Aisha, who is his political and life coordinator. After a while in the capital, Thomas might keep an eye out for Dan, the street-smart and gorgeous Chancellor's aide. And that is all I shall say on the subject.

2. Are they easy to get along with?

HAHAHAHA. No.

There's a reason I call him a brat internally, and so do a bunch of people in-universe. Thomas has excellent social skills which are limited to smiling when insulted and threatening people when smiling. But he's not quite mastered the knack of actually being considerate instead of acting considerate.
Ah, much polite threatening.
3. Who was the last person they had a deep conversation with?

Okay, Cait, this is just a weird question. When are you asking this? Is it at the beginning of the story? Halfway in the middle of the boss battle with legendary Pokemon? At the end of the story?

I will say that one of my favourite "deep" conversations in the book features Thomas and his uncle. Some unfortunate revelations regarding his father are made. Let's just say it's unwise to dedicate your life to avenging your father when he, you know, started a war.

4. They’re in the middle of a huge crowd of people: how do they feel?

While Thomas is competent at social gatherings, it's more out of necessity for his political goal of unseating his father's killer. I do imagine it takes a lot out of him to pretend not to be hurt by other people's assumptions of him due to his bastardy.

5. Do they believe in luck or miracles?

He probably believes in luck. If he believed in miracles, he'd have to believe in deities, which (a) I did not create for the Matryoshka universe and (b) he'd probably blame them for his father's death anyways. He factors neither into his consideration, being an arrogant brat.

6. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

So ... he does not really have neighbours. When he was young, he stayed indoors so that no one knew his father, the unmarried provincial Governor, had a lover and a child. Then he was kind of on the run, and fugitives don't tend to mingle. In the capital, though, he does invite the southerners there to several dinners and gatherings.

7. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

I'm gonna quote a little passage by our resident brat that's less bratty than usual:
I have never been to my father’s grave. The moment we lost the war, I fled my own country to save my neck. The best reminder I have of my father is a mirror.
Hopefully-maybe?
8. How do they feel about their body?

Ooh, this is an interesting one. Even though Thomas resembles his father, he's not particularly handsome and is aware of that. And because southern society places a lot of emphasis on appearance—not just natural hotness, also make-up and fashion—he does overcompensate for it by nitpicking on his own fashion.

9. What is the cruellest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?

Look, Cait, this vague timeline of questions has to stop. I mean, seriously.

It's hard to pinpoint one exact thing. Most probably it's a lifetime of insults at his parents' marriage (or lack thereof). But there is this one paragraph I feel it's necessary to quote:
“Brave for one of bastard blood to seek vengeance.” The grain merchant Rashid twirled the end of his purple headscarf. “Or are you here to lick Mallister’s boots?”
This happens at a party Thomas is hosting. This guy is his guest. Seriously, to hell with guest right and rip his head off already, Thomas.
Instead of taking my sage advice, Thomas smiles and shrugs it off. That is basically the sum of his coping mechanism, and it doesn't work for the entire novel. Again, lips sealed.

10. What’s the kindest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?

Again, it's difficult to pinpoint exact lines, but there are two moments where Thomas is kind of speechless with feels:
Aisha beckoned him forward and kissed him, a light brush on each cheek. “Peace be with you, Thomas. You would make your father proud.”
Thomas' mother does an excellent job of raising him, but Thomas' eventual goal to defeat Mallister hung between them for half his life. Besides, Aisha herself doesn't hold up quite that well after her lover's death. Not that Thomas notices without his uncle telling him, because Thomas has the observation abilities of a log.

Moment 2 is fairly insignificant for Thomas, but a wonderful, wonderful defining moment for the Chancellor Rosalina, who I've only mentioned briefly in this post before. After Thomas rescues Rosalina from an unwelcome conversation:
“Thank you, Thomas.” Rosalina’s smile turned warm, and Dan echoed the grin with a flash of teeth.

Thomas bowed his head to hide the heat in his cheeks. When he did well, strangers laughed him and his mother praised him, but no one thanked the bastard. “My pleasure,” he said, and it was not a lie.

That's a wrap! Did you participate in Beautiful People? Do you pity Thomas or does he annoy you?

For chances to read Matryoshka, join my takeout army and receive monthly news of my writing and other magic, madness, and murder! Also, keep an eye on this spot next Wednesday -- the next Snazzy Snippets is arriving then with more Matryoshka snippets.

30 comments:

  1. OH OH OH OH OH OH OH BUT YOU USED A FIREFLY GIF I MUST LAUGH AND THEN I MUST CRY *rolls on the floor and puts face in carpet*

    *muffled voice*

    I like how Thomas seems more like the born underdog with all the odds against him but somehow everyone decides that they need to give him the odds so they can all accomplish their personal goals. It's interesting because I feel like that gives Thomas that much less control over his own life which I bet would be an emotional stress for him. Still, he has a goal in the midst of that and it always gets that more interesting when you share Matryoshka stuff. :D

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    1. It seems that many commenters are interested by the Firefly gif, so I shall include more in the future. This I promise. *picks you up from carpet*

      Oh yes, that is an excellent way to put it ... from his perspective at least. He is quite privileged in other ways, but control is one thing he doesn't have.

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  2. Acting considerate vs. being considerate--there's a difference :)
    I'm liking Thomas more and more, probably because however much of a brat he is he still has noble(ish) goals. And he has so many odds stacked against him that in a way he seems very vulnerable.
    Sorry to hear that you're in a writing slump--I'm in a bit of one myself right now, and they really are terrible. Here's to hoping you get out of it quickly!

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    1. There most certainly is! And yes, Thomas could be such a hero if only his personality were nicer. I'm climbing my way out slowly, thanks to the unicorns and porcupines you lovelies have been throwing at me. It's nothing compared to my previous non-school speed, but it's progress :)

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  3. Aw, there, there *pats shoulder* It's supposed to just be "wherever you're up to" sort of timeline. XD FLEXIBLE BASCIALLY.
    Also now I keep imagining Thomas as looking like Daenerys, so there's that. I BLAME YOU. xD

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    1. Ohhh, I see. I finished my novel, so the timeline didn't click for me. Thomas = Dany ... actually not that different. Heirs to a political dynasty, in exile, dead parent. Hmm.

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  4. *dies because you used a Firefly GIF, and now you are my favorite person ever* Seriously, though, Thomas sounds like a very interesting character, and I'm intrigued by his desire for revenge. Probably because my own current main character is now living with the consequences of having killed someone out of revenge. I'm interested in the dynamic between Thomas and his mother especially. Great writing!

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    1. I should only use Firefly gifs from now on, judging by the comment reaction :D :D Thomas is very bent on revenge, but he does doubt whether that's what he really, really wants at the end. Consequences might be interesting for a sequel ... assuming he succeeds. Mwahahaha.

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  5. That Dany gif is AMAZING. The more I hear of Thomas, the more I like him! He seems so different from the usual heroes. I have a soft spot in my heart for scheming murderous brats, so I think he and I should get along just fine.

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    1. Thanks, Aentee! I did set out trying to subvert many typical hero tropes, as my earlier Inverting the Hero post said. Scheming murderous brat = totally my nickname for Thomas.

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  6. That first gif, I can't seem to get past it, but I digress. I pity him, he might be bratty, but I think he has good reason. I don't know him having the observation abilities of a log endears him to me for some reason

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    1. My gif use in this post seems to be all anyone can talk about XD He does have good reasons, and log observation skills are so adorkable *flails over own character which is rather strange*

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  7. I want to hear more behind this world; it sounds interesting. And I think when authors know that their characters are arrogant brats, that's when they're likeable arrogant brats and not unlikeable ones. Does that make sense? Sorta?

    Thanks for stopping by Writing on a Vintage Typewriter!

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    1. Thanks, Aine! I certainly hope Thomas is likeable -- it's one of my biggest worries for Matryoshka.

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  8. Okay, I love, LOVE Thomas! So much!

    He's definitely a brat and a bit foolish at times. But somehow I love him anyways. I think it's how he's so unafraid to open his mouth and insult people? I don't know. He mildly reminds me of Jaron from the Ascendance Trilogy. But I think that's only because they are both muchly disliked, and they pretend they don't care.

    That first quote though. Oo. I feel an attempted and failed air of not caring here. It's just. . . feels like the gif.

    The question 3# is kind of vague and difficult to interpret . . .

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    1. OMG, thank you so much, Ashley! I suppose all characters have to be a bit vulnerable. I haven't read that trilogy, but I shall add it to my TBR. He is disliked, but at the same point those same people need him for their

      I'm kind of extremely proud of my gif use in this post, so thank you!

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  9. Aw, Thomas seems like such a sympathetic character! I know I'd DEFINITELY be rooting for him if I read the book. :)
    Your gifs = amazeballs.
    And I hope you get off your writing slump soon!

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    1. Thank you, Aila! I hope this stays true even when you read the book :D I shall continue to excel in terms of gif usage, hopefully, ahaha.

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  10. Hhahhahaaha yes, Thomas sounds like a brat. Chancellor Rosalina sounds like a brat and I want to read this book of political intrigue and awesomeness SO SO MUCH. Great post Alyssa! *throws several unicorns vigorously*

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    1. He IS, isn't he? Rosalina is substantially more considerate than him, actually. There will be more opportunities for you lovely newsletter subscribers to read MTY! Thanks! *catches unicorns and writes*

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  11. I love the sound of Thomas! I don't mind a arrogant character, but he seems to have many more and gentle layers beneath that facade. Flaws make characters more realistic and given he's not perfect in a society that places so much emphasis on beauty and fashion, it sounds glorious Alyssa! So sorry you're in a bit of a writing slump at the moment, I can imagine it's as though you've had your creative mojo stolen. Hopefully you can find the inspiration soon to pick your WIP back up <3

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    1. Oh, yes. It'd be more accurate to say he started out as a gentle character, but then I decided he couldn't be too nice. Flaws are basically all my characters are made of, but sometimes they reveal something beautiful I didn't expect :D Thank you for the support!

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  12. Oh, I LIKE Thomas. It's funny how bratty characters are the most likeable to readers... but then again, maybe it isn't, because bratty teenagers tend to be the most likeable by adults too, so... Yeah.
    Anyway, I feel sorry for Thomas, and I understand his motive, and you've got yourself a strong character there, Alyssa!
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Thank you, Beth! Hmm, that varies from reader to reader, I think, but I suppose every character is a risk. From the comments, though, it looks like Thomas isn't too unlikeable -- slowly finding the motivation to write again!

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  13. I agree with Beth...funny how we fall in love with characters we're supposed to hate, but then again, some part of him HAS to be engineered to be that way xD HE'S GOT DEPTH AND HE SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL. And that recurring smile tho. *threatens to kill you* SMILE. *makes pessimistic/snarky comment* SMILE. *dying* SMILE.

    idk, but he sounds fabulous.

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    1. The smiling = so true though. I am literally running out of different ways to say smile without overusing the word. It is all his defense mechanism is composed of. (As for that last smile ... we shall see. Mwahahaha.)

      Thanks for commenting, Nirvana!

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  14. Mal gif for the win! And the Pokemon comment - killed me.
    But besides the gifs (excellent choices), I love the sound of Thomas. He sounds like an expertly handled brat. Smiling and shrugging things off is my dreadful coping mechanism, so I commiserate with its general uselessness.
    I love reading all of the snippets you include!

    I do BP too, and here's the link if you're interested (My secondary MC is beyond a brat, he's more of a sociopath . . .): http://rlhendrian.blogspot.com/2015/09/beautiful-people-september-edition-meet.html

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    1. I don't know where the Pokemon comment came from. Eh. Well. Glad to know the gifs were nice! I do hope that Thomas is the likeable or at least relatable sort of brat. I posted more excerpts of Matryoshka just today!

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  15. Hmm, well I don’t know enough about Thomas yet to pin him as a brat, although it’s somewhat likely it’s the conclusion I’ll come to in time if it’s what you, the creator of him, are thinking! It definitely seems like his character could have gone two ways- bratty-rightiousness or utter-sweet-kindness and love. And I’m thinking it’s more the former. Like a lot more.
    This is such an interesting sounding world and story, though, Alyssa. And Aisha sounds like she is wonderful and I’m kind of already in love with her. And those first two gifs. When Mal swears by his pretty pink bonnet then things are about to go down.
    xx

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    1. Perhaps it's just that I chronicle his less bratty moments because his more bratty moments are rather spoiler-ish. Righteousness is definitely a huge part of it. Aisha is kind of so much more awesome than Thomas but unfortunately if she were in charge there would be no story. She'd just sail in and win.

      Okay, the commenters are WAY too obsessed with the gifs. This is awesome.

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