Monday, January 12, 2015

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 18: Antagonist

Now Playing: Nine Inch Nails - The Wretched

>_> Ughhhh my classes are being mean. Asking for so much group projects and exams. Whatever happened to good ol' essays? I can do essays. I can crank out a million essays in a month. Why does my last semester have to be so evil? Dx

Some good news: I'm going to my creative writing workshop tomorrow. Because last week started classes on a Wednesday and my workshop is only on Tuesdays I haven't yet met my professor or the other students. And I'm so freaking fracking EXCITED!!! I hope she/they like my writing. And I hope I can get some pretty cool stories out of class. I met Dr. Monroe, Valentine, and Kaede because of some workshop stories, and I really got to know Isadora through a couple more. So I can't wait to see who comes along this semester >:D

But that's it for updates.

QUESTION 18: Favorite antagonist and why!


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For some reason, this question is even more difficult than the protagonist one. At least with that one I could have picked any character and ran with it. But here, I like some antagonists but I also hate other ones, and I'm trying to decide what exactly favorite means. Favorite writing them? Favorite developing them? Favorite as in love-to-hate-them? SO MANY OPTIONS.

Y'know, since I gushed about Caesar last week, I'mma keep it fair and gush about Ataraxia's antagonist. From the beginning I knew the central conflict would come from Katya and her deteriorating relationship with her sister as well as her desires for revenge, so I was super hyped to write her wayyy before I even got started.

About two years ago, I expressed some concern about some unfortunate implications that could be found in Ataraxia. Among them was the idea that I'd written a stereotypical mad woman in power with Katya and even with Maria.

But you know what? Fuck that noise! This quote from Gillian Flynn, writer of Gone Girl, really changed my mind about that:

"Libraries are filled with stories on generations of brutal men, trapped in a cycle of aggression. I wanted to write about the violence of women...Isn’t it time to acknowledge the ugly side? I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains — good, potent female villains. Not ill-tempered women who scheme about landing good men and better shoes (as if we had nothing more interesting to war over), not chilly WASP mothers (emotionally distant isn’t necessarily evil), not soapy vixens (merely bitchy doesn’t qualify either). I’m talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don’t tell me you don’t know some. The point is, women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves — to the point of almost parodic encouragement — we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side. Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids."

^so on that note, I like to think I got close with Katya. Or at the very least, I attempted it. So many times, in literature, film, real life, women are hardly seen as a threat. We're weak, vulnerable, in need of protection. Sometimes fictional women use that facade to their advantage. If a man thinks you're not threat, he'll never see the knife you're wielding, ready to strike. And that's interesting, but it's been done a lot. What about women who are scary from the beginning? We don't always have to hide behind the veil society's thrown at us because of our gender. I want women to be scary--to be feared, in the same way some men are. (Not that I'm encouraging a world built on fear of one another, but it's not like we're at a balance nowadays either.)

Ataraxia doesn't work for a great deal of reasons--the worldbuilding and writing and pace are all over the place--but I'm proud of Katya, and just how much power and control she exerted. She always had a plan and she was always working toward her goals. Sure, she had a bit of a temper, but Maria and sometimes Sonya balanced her out well enough. I'm so glad I finished Ataraxia and saw her story through to the end.

So here's to more female antagonists! I hope I write many more.

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