Clarissa Johal: May 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Barnes and Noble Event and Author Appearance May 18th

On May 18th, join myself and other authors; Deb Marlow, Claudia Dain, Ava Stone, Catherine Gayle, Alice Wisler, Caren Crane, and Sarra Cannon at
Barnes and Noble

Brier Creek Commons
8431 Brier Creek Parkway 
Raleigh, NC 

Hope to see you there!

Special Event, Author Discussion
Ever wonder what eBooks to download to your NOOK? Join us for our local eBook Author Panel Discussion to see what's new in the eBook world and learn how you can purchase eBooks in-store and have titles sent directly to your B&N NOOK account.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Falling for the Antagonist

Am I the only writer that does this? Invariably, I will fall in love with my antagonist and have the WORST time sending them on their way, back to the Otherworld, or wherever they need to go. It's not that I like evil people or think they’re charming, I don't. It's just from a creative point of view, the complexities that make up an antagonist are the most fun to write. You have to get people on their side somehow--and therein lies the challenge.

Many years ago, I graduated from a high school of the performing arts before I went onto university. I loved acting as much as I loved dance, and always chose to audition for the evil characters. It’s not that I liked being “mean” to my fellow actors. I didn’t. It was the challenge of getting the audience to side with the flawed and/or evil character. That was the fun part. 
And, so it goes with writing antagonists. I take great joy in making them as complex as they come. I fall in love with them. I cross my fingers my readers will love them as much as I do. Without them, there would be no conflict, no story. And when it comes to the point where they must be overcome by my protagonists, it takes me weeks to write my final good-byes, and I’ll be depressed for just as long.
One of these days, my antagonist will win. I’m not sure how readers will feel about that, but we’ll see how it goes.

So, here's a list for you to ponder--My Top 10 Best Antagonist Characters in Literary Fiction. 
I cheered them on, regardless of the fact that I knew they’d lose in the end, as they should. And no, I don’t cheer people on that do bad things. I'm a writer. A well-written character makes me happier than lollipops.

1. Satan from Paradise Lost, by John Milton
Yep, he would be the biggie. A self-indulgent, fallen angel, embarking on a vendetta against his creator. Can’t get any better than that.
2. Peter Pan from Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
“He would thin the Lost Boys out when they got too old or when there were too many of them.” Peter is a very complex character. I’m not so sure that Captain Hook was the true villain in Peter Pan. Go back and read between the lines.
3. Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling.
And not just because Alan Rickman played him in the movie. No really.
4. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.
The character only seems to “come alive” when she talks about Rebecca, a character that is dead. That, coupled with the possibility that Rebecca may be acting through Mrs. Danvers, a possession of sorts, makes for an interesting villain, all around.
5. Lady Macbeth from William Shakespeare’s, Macbeth.
Ambitious and a definite opportunist. Qualities that would be…um, praised in today’s business world.
6. Clyde Griffiths from An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser.
A true work of art. Dreiser shows Clyde’s decline into committing murder and oddly enough, a sad victim of circumstance. The beauty of this character is the way Dreiser writes of Clyde’s rationalization of the act.And you feel badly for him.
7. Jack Torrance from The Shining, by Stephen King
Jack's rant when Wendy disturbs him during his writing? Writers everywhere cheered--we totally felt his pain. The meltdown afterwards? Well...a bit over the top, but Jack was being possessed by ghosts, after all.
8. Marquise de Merteuil from Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Ahhh, what a tangled web we weave.
9. Mr. Hyde from Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
There was so much strife during the writing of this book by Stevenson. Allegories are always fun, especially when the author is writing on the verge of drug-induced madness.
10. Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Cold and calculating. Once he was done feeding off humans, Dracula had no use for them anymore. Definitely no sparkles or romance here, folks.

There are many others and I’m sure you have some of your own. What’s your favorite?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Flying Trapeze

I've been keeping a list of Things I Want to Try on a piece of notebook paper since I was 21-years-old. It sits in a shoe box, tucked away with some old photographs of my father in Vietnam, a couple of cats-eye marbles, and a fossil I found when I was ten. When the opportunity presents itself, I cross the things I've tried off one-by-one, with the intention of doing them all. I'm happy to say I've recently crossed another off--trapeze lessons.
I've always been about experiencing what life has to offer. Sometimes, it gets me into trouble. Other times, I'm made fun of and told to act my age. But I never want to look back on my life and think, "Gee, I wish I would have tried that!"
So, here goes. My bucket list, in no particular order.

1. Trapeze lessons
2. Firewalking 
3. Great White shark cage photography
4. Sky diving
5. Hang gliding
6. Wine grape stomping in Italy
7. See the pyramids of Giza, Egypt
8. Visit Stonehenge
9. Visit the Amazon rainforest
10.Volunteer at the Tiger Temple in Thailand
11.Swim with dolphins
12. Survive on a tropical island for a week
13. Shower in a waterfall
14. Meet an alien
15. Scuba dive in Hawaii
16. Visit the Statue of Liberty
17. Visit Salem, Mass
18. Bungee jump
19. Travel to Africa and stay with the Masaai
21.Water ski
22. Watch a volcano erupt
23. Build an igloo
24. Go up in a hot air balloon

and last, but not least...
25. Become famous doing something REALLY famous.

Yep. That's been a lifelong dream.

Check back from time to time to see what gets crossed off and what gets added!
What's on your list?