I was recently catching up on season 2 of Game of Thrones, and was reminded of a phenomenon that only occurs with a few chosen fictional characters.
There are some characters that are so realistic and loathsome in their actions that I get unreasonably angry. Like, I will be snappy and irritated for days afterward. What characters do this to me, you ask? Here are my top three:
1. King Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister
Anyone that has seen or read Game of Thrones almost certainly knows the reason why I dislike him. He’s beyond cruel, and he’s a spoiled little brat. Combined with the power of being King (at like 16 or whatever) he’s nigh on unstoppable. I have a pretty vivid imagination, so I already disliked him in the books, but putting him on screen just tipped me over the edge. I can’t stand him. And if he’s like that as a teenager, my blood boils at the potential he has as an adult.
Defining moment: Tyrion was trying to be the most awesome uncle ever and send him a present of joyful sex in the form of 2 hired concubines. What does Joffrey do? Has one girl savagely beat the other, with the stipulation that if she doesn’t, she’ll get the same treatment. He does this as a message to his uncle. Dafuq? I also had a sneaking suspicion that he was more turned on by the cruelty than the two naked chicks. Kid had no emotion while he watched it. None.
You know that giant asshole in the prison guard from The Green Mile? That guy. I can’t even watch that movie anymore because he makes me so angry I can’t see straight.
Defining moment: You’re supposed to wet the sponge they put under the helmet for the electric chair. This is so the prisoners die quickly and it doesn’t get messy. Percy does not wet the sponge ON PURPOSE, because he wants to see what happens as a result. He does a lot of other shitty stuff, but that one makes me cry and makes me want to punch someone all at the same time.
3. Dolores Umbridge
I can’t lie, I was waiting for something super horrible to happen to this woman in the Harry Potter series. I kept reading and reading, thinking “surely, someone is going to kill her off soon.” Nope. So then I had to keep reading about her, and I kept getting angry every time she appeared in a chapter. She doesn’t make me as angry as Joffrey or Percy, but she’s definitely up there. The thing that makes me angry is her blind conviction that this or that is the right thing, and anything else is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Defining moment: Not a big one, mind you, but it’s one of the very first things she does. I can’t even remember the reason why now, but she had Harry Potter write something like “I will not tell lies,” which doesn’t sound so bad, except that the pen was spelled to carve whatever he was writing into his hand. He had to write it over and over again until his hand was bleeding. And she smiled the whole time.
Do you get this emotional over certain characters? Who do you love to hate?
I was tagged today by one Rachel Desilets (my muse / partner in crime) for this challenge, so of course I have to participate. The Rachel must be entertained!
Since I liked her style I’m going to be completely lazy and copy it. Here you go then, my NaNo novel for this year:
1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?
2. Where did the idea for the WiP come from?
This is actually the sequel to Dominance, my werewolf novel. I know the titles sound all BDSM, but really, it’s a play on words. There’s always a dominant person amongst werewolves. I figured what better way to follow up the story about a bunch of dominant alphas than to make a story about a few submissives?
3. What genre would your WiP fall under?
Urban Fantasy, for sure. It might even cross over into horror. I don’t know if it falls under Adult or New Adult (older than Young Adult but maybe not Adult Adult). I don’t know. The protagonist is in college. Suggestions here would be welcome.
4. Which actors would you choose to play characters in a movie rendition?
This is a killer question and it took me forever just to pick someone for Mallory. Times infinity to settle on someone for Roark. After a little deliberation I think Melissa Benoist from Glee could probably play Mallory, my protag, and either Chiwetel Ejiofor from Serenity or Anthony Mackie from the upcoming Captain America movie could probably work for Roark. To be honest though I think I’d want to seek out a lesser known actor for his part, especially since all my favorite picks (like Idris Elba… omg could you imagine him as a werewolf?) are like in their 40s and Roark is supposed to be about 30. They’re a potential couple, y’all. It can’t be a creepy age difference.
5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your WiP?
Mallory has learned to deal with all the new dangers that come with being a werewolf, but she learns the hard way that a human with a grudge can be much more deadly.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope to land an agent and/or editor, simply because I would receive a lot more help in all levels of the publishing process with representation than without. I’m still a pretty new writer. Guidance would be very welcome. The notion of an advance is pretty attractive too. That said, I think there are enough opportunities out there for me to pursue and be successful at self-publishing. It’s very possible for me to do both, especially if I write a few between-the-books shorts.
7. How long did it take you to write?
This is a silly question for a WORK IN PROGRESS. It’s in progress. It’s not done yet. I can’t tell you how long it took to write if it’s not done yet. Silly. But these characters have been living in my head since like 2005, if that gives you any idea.
8. What other WiPs in your genre would you compare it to?
I’d compare it to the first book, Dominance, because it’s a sequel. I mean, duh 😉 I can’t really compare it to any of my other works, unless you want to get technical and say that I do have one other story with a werewolf. I do, but that wuff is a kid, so it’s not really the same.
9. Which authors inspired you to write this WiP?
Laurell K. Hamilton is a big influence on these two books. Her and Kim Harrison, as well as Janet Evanovich. Evanovich taught me to be cruel to my characters and not pull any punches in embarrassing them.
10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest about this WiP.
Well, unlike book 1 where I just tease you a lot, there are some seriously hot sexytiems in the pages. That’s all I can promise as right now it’s still in the outline phase.
Geek Girl hate has been floating around the internet for a few months. It’s honestly confused me, because before all this high profile outrage, I hadn’t ever encountered derision for being a girl who also happens to like geeky things. Then again, I don’t do things like attend Cons, or dress up in cosplay, or even pretend to be an expert in all things geeky. I simply enjoy my geeky interests to a seriously high degree.
Which makes me ask the question: What does it take to be considered a true geek? Gender issues aside (and that’s a huge issue to put aside), what qualifies someone as a geek? What would make them not fake?
Does the person need to be an expert on every aspect of a certain interest, for instance, knowing Batman comics right down to specific details about every comic issue ever released?
Or is it simply enough to have an interest in the first place? Is it enough to get excited whenever one hears about a movie in production, or see an episode of one’s favorite show on TV? Is it enough to play online, console, or PC games casually, or must one be a “hardcore” gamer in order to hit that magical geek status?
Is there an invisible line between being a fan and being a geek? Are fans and geeks two separate entities, and if so, where does one draw the line?
I played a lot of PC and console games growing up, but never enough to be considered hardcore. I don’t often play console games because they are too expensive to buy. I used to devote a ridiculous number of hours to playing EverQuest, but was not in a serious raiding guild. I played World of Warcraft casually for many years and have a gajillion alts. I’ve loved the Aliens and Predator movie franchises since I first discovered them in middle school (hush you), and I can talk to you for thirty minutes about how I was disappointed in the first AVP movie. When Watchmen was being made into a movie I went out and bought the comic so I could read it before the movie came out. I enjoyed the hell out of the comic, but I don’t actively seek out other comics to read. I’m fully addicted to the new Doctor Who, but have never seen any of the original episodes from decades past. I’ve also never played Magic the Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons.
All my interests are part time interests. I do not have the money or the time to devote to becoming “hardcore” in any of these. Does that mean I’m excluded from earning my geek cred? Bringing gender back into it, if I showed up at a Con in a tight Browncoats tshirt that showed off my eye-popping bust, would I be labelled a fake because of the outfit, or because I watched and enjoyed Serenity before seeing (and not being as impressed with) Firefly? Would I be labelled fake because I can’t participate in discussions about Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, or Mass Effect, due to the fact that I’ve never played any of those games? Would I be labelled a fake because I adore Loki but have never read any of the Thor or Avengers comics?
Would I then become merely a fan (or possibly worse, a simple fan girl)? Or would I be a fake, attention-seeking wannabe because I dared show my casual interest face in the midst of rabid experts?
What does it take for us to be legit?
Or, perhaps a more appropriate question: What would it take for some of the haters to pull those sticks out of their asses? Should we treat them like trolls and ignore what they say, or should we smile and invade their space anyway in all our pink-clothed, casual-minded glory?
Either way, I can’t even believe this is a serious thing. I thought we moved past this in the 90s. I feel like I need to tell someone’s mom about how little Timmy isn’t sharing his toys and won’t play nice with the girls on the playground. Shame on you, Timmy. You’re old enough to know better.
Need some ideas for ways to sneakify your fictional world’s defenses?
Look no further than Switzerland:
From the io9 article: “To interrupt the utility of bridges, tunnels, highways, railroads, Switzerland has established three thousand points of demolition. That is the number officially printed. It has been suggested to me that to approximate a true figure a reader ought to multiply by two. Where a highway bridge crosses a railroad, a segment of the bridge is programmed to drop on the railroad. Primacord fuses are built into the bridge. Hidden artillery is in place on either side, set to prevent the enemy from clearing or repairing the damage.”
As the article rightly points out, why would Switzerland be okay with everyone knowing they have such mechanisms in place in case of foreign invasion (or a more trendy zombie apocalypse)?
Simple. If an invading force is told of even a fraction of the kind of defenses you have, especially such well-planned and craftily designed defenses, and they are told by you, it is safe for them to assume that 1) there is more waiting for them that you did not reveal, and 2) their ass is grass if they ever invade.
Now, take what Switzerland did and apply it to, say, a whole planet. What kinds of crafty shenanigans would you implement in your world to make sure you are utterly prepared to defend your population against hostile forces?
Would you weaponize your volcanoes? Build entire underground cities with networks of tunnels connecting them, including a safety mechanism to flood said tunnels in case of a breach? Would you disguise anti-aircraft missiles as trees (or hide them in trees, if your trees are big enough)? Perhaps you’d bury air force bases or flying drones underneath the sands of your desert, ready to fly at a moment’s notice. Perhaps you could harness the power of your oceans to use as a giant water gun/drill, or in the event of a no-win situation, have a plan in place to make the whole planet’s atmosphere boil or go toxic.
Tell me, how does your fictional planet/country/city/neighborhood/household defend itself?
Nope, I don’t know what the question is either. Make one up, choose an answer, and post the question in the comments!
In case you didn’t already see me announce this on G+, Twitter, or Facebook, Curiosity Quills Press is expanding. They want to sign on some
fresh meat new people. So if you have something ready to go, bust out that keyboard and type yourself a rocking query letter.
Complete guidelines here – Curiosity Quills Submission Guidelines: Author Submissions
No post with substance for you today. Got too busy. Part 2 of 4 will be posted tomorrow, but in the mean time, have a poll!
A monster has entered the room you’re occupying. You have to fight it with something. No dodgies, no tricks. These are the five things in your reach. Which item do you pick, and why? Leave a comment with your strategy!