Hey all! Frea here. Sorry I've been kind of quiet lately. I had a couple of really good posts going and then I forgot what I was going to say or something shiny happened and I got distracted. Oh, right, and that pesky little project that barely takes up any of my time at alllll. It's not like Chapters 33 and 34 didn't absolutely kick my butt or anything...*mutter mutter*
Oh, right, I had a point before I started whining. Anyway, on mxpw's post yesterday, BDaddyDL mentioned that he might be interested in seeing how mxpw and I came to be writing Double Agent and Fates respectively. And I thought, Ooh, yay, a blog post about how Fates got started...and then I got distracted (are you sensing a theme?). And then I thought, how the heck am I going to explain how Fates came about? I can barely remember what I'm talking about from the beginning of one sentence to the end. So then it hit me--mxpw and I keep on subject (mostly) in these epic long chats we have about our plots. So...why not just interview each other and post it on the blog?
So here, folks, is the interview I did with mxpw about how he got started writing his epic story, Chuck vs. the Double Agent. The next episode of the Scoop will be mxpw returning the favor, and then I'll wander around to all of the other CI authors and ask them the fun things you readers want to know about the origin of their stories. Maybe we'll even pin down Crystal before the kick-off a story I'm personally very excited to see, Kill Bryce.
(Warning: Frea and mxpw both speak sarcasm fluently and several times will delve into that to make fun of either each other or themselves. Please don't take everything said at face value! Grains of salt, people! Grains of salt!)
mxpw: So what's the what?
Frea: *taps microphone*
Frea: *warms up*
Frea: *Mi mi mi mi miiiiiiii*
mxpw: I hope all this foreplay is worth it.
Frea: Foreplay is only the beginning, darling. That's why they call it fore.
Frea: So, mx, tell me about DA.
mxpw: Really? I thought it was a pun.
mxpw: It means Double Agent.
Frea: I guess that leads to my first question...
Frea: Who the frak is the Double Agent in Chuck Vs. the Double Agent?
Frea: Interested readers want to know.
mxpw: Well, I can tell you who it's NOT.
mxpw: It's not any of the characters that appear in Chapter 6.
mxpw: This is like a DA scavenger hunt!
mxpw: No, I'm not trying to generate hits, why do you ask?
Frea: Huh. Chapter Six is the one where Chuck and Sarah do it, right?
mxpw: In Sarah's head, they're doing it all night long.
Frea: So I went and looked at Chapter Six and...no, I'm not going to reveal who the Double Agents aren't. Instead, I want to ask--where did you come up with this story? It's multilayered and complex and I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out who the one-armed man is.
Frea: Where did you get the idea?
mxpw: Heh. Well, basically, I wanted to write something that had never really been done before.
mxpw: And I started this story around June of 2009, so it was just after the end of S2 and long before S3 started.
mxpw: See, back then, there wasn't all that many AUs. (Alternate Universe stories—Frea’s note)
Frea: Wonder why...
Frea: Sorry, being snarky toward the show. Continue.
mxpw: Certainly not as many "Chuck doesn't get kicked out of Stanford and works for the government stories" as there are now.
Frea: Those are kind of lame.
mxpw: Yeah, I know. A bit cliche if you ask me.
Frea: Definitely. Not an ounce of originality in any of them.
Frea: So you were saying, very few AUs?
mxpw: Right, very few AUs. It seemed an untapped market. Plus, I always found writing AUs, at least in this fandom, far more interesting. Post S2, canon was pretty satisfying, I didn't see the need to try and write a story in that vein.
mxpw: So I thought, well, supposed Chuck never got kicked out of Stanford. What would he do? How would Sarah and Casey fit into this new world? Would Chuck be the neophyte spy he was?
mxpw: And I started writing this story titled Sarah vs. the Long Day.
Frea: Based on the movie The Longest Day right?
mxpw: Heh, no.
Frea: So Sarah's not storming the beaches of Normandy?
mxpw: Though that would be awesome if it was. Can you imagine John Wayne in Chuck?
mxpw: Casey and Wayne would totally have an epic bromance.
Frea: Morgan and Chuck's little loveflame would get a bit jealous, for sure.
mxpw: Oh definitely, but what are they going to do, he's the Duke.
mxpw: Anyway, so I wrote a chapter and a half of this story.
mxpw: Basically, the story is told from Sarah's POV.
mxpw: She's had a really long day (my title is super creative, no?)
Frea: Dang, I was hoping for irony, in that it happens during the Winter Solstice.
mxpw: And she goes in this bar. While at the bar, this dude named Chuck walks in and they get to talking. These are not the characters we're used to. Sarah is seriously jaded, tired, and angry. She's standoffish and impatient and she frequently cusses out her partner, Bryce Larkin.
mxpw: Chuck is enigmatic and mysterious and Sarah can't get a bead on him at all.
mxpw: They flirt and banter and eventually Chuck leaves. Since the story is told from Sarah's POV, we're left bewildered by Chuck's leaving. But Sarah brushes it off as nothing.
mxpw: So she leaves the bar and is going back to her hotel when bam, some guy gets the drop on her.
Frea: I just hate it whenever that happens to me. You're having a nice drink, and bam, you have to kick ass and take names.
Frea: It gets exhausting.
mxpw: It's Major John Casey from the NSA, telling her to back off Chuck or he'll kill her.
Frea: And Casey is just as cuddly as ever in this story, I see. So then what happens?
mxpw: It seems Chuck is a NSA asset that they have been jealously guarding from the CIA. Naturally, the CIA wants to know why and what Chuck is doing for the NSA. So they order Sarah to strike up a friendship/relationship with Chuck so she can "pump" him for information.
mxpw: And that's all I wrote.
mxpw: Eventually, it was going to be this whole Romeo and Juliet thing.
Frea: Hm. Doesn't it kind of end badly for good old Romes and Jules?
mxpw: But I got to thinking, Sarah being a government agent has been done to death. But what if I take that same jaded, angry, tired, apathetic woman and turn her into a Fulcrum agent instead? I didn't think that had been done before.
Frea: So that's how Sarah goes from meeting Chuck in a bar to being stripped naked and tossed in the hole [aka the start of the epic brilliance that is Chuck Vs. the Double Agent]!
mxpw: Yup, pretty much. I scrapped all of Long Day, kept the core: Sarah's personality, Chuck's mysteriousness, Chuck working for the government, the whole Sharks and Jets aspect (vaguely), and created this whole story about Chuck basically trying to turn Sarah away from the Dark Side.
mxpw: You know, it's like the entire SW saga isn't really about Luke, it's about Anakin. Likewise here, the story isn't really about the Intersect or Chuck or whatever, it's about Sarah's redemption, if it can even be achieved.
mxpw: Oh and then I added Carina for shits and giggles.
Frea: But the first three prequels turned Anakin into a wuss. Were you worried about that with Sarah's redemption?
mxpw: Nah. If anything I was worried about Sarah being too hardcore. She kills people indiscriminately, she uses sex as a weapon, she's nearly completely broken inside.
mxpw: No, the worry was always that Sarah wouldn't actually be able to be redeemed.
Frea: She certainly is one of a kind.
Frea: What came first -- the breaking or the fixing?
Frea: In your plotting days, I mean?
mxpw: I plotted this thing out in one day.
mxpw: Half of it came to me in a dream.
Frea: You know, back when you donned a lab coat, some goggles, and rubbed your hands together a lot while laughing maniacally.
mxpw: Well, you know, it was the only way I could get into the Evil League of Evil.
Frea: Alas, poor Penny. Anyway, one day?
Frea: And a dream? Whoa, hardcore.
mxpw: The breaking was easy, the fixing was hard.
mxpw: The thing to realize about Sarah in Double Agent is that she will never be canon Sarah. She's broken irrevocably. The best is that she can be patched. And it'll be a long journey to that patching.
Frea: Did you do a lot of research on it? Say, typing in for instance (*cough cough*) "Stockholm Syndrome" into Google?
mxpw: That is not to say she can't become a decent person, it's just that her version of decency will be a lot different from others.
Frea: But it's probably not leading to the picket fence, labradoodle, and 2.5 kids with your Sarah
mxpw: Heh, I did do some research on SS, yeah.
mxpw: Oh no. Sorry, folks, if you're looking for marriage in DA, it ain't going to happen. Well, probably not.
mxpw: The fortunate thing is that Sarah understands loyalty and she has hitched her wagon to Chuck Bartowski for good. So there is that.
mxpw: She's not going anywhere. If anything, I see Sarah being the one to pop the question in the DA universe, not Chuck.
Frea: She's definitely a woman who knows what she wants.
Frea: All right, here's a subject we've gotta talk about
Frea: Everybody says DA and the first thing they start talking about...
Frea: You have changed the face of the fandom and you have done it with a Swedish model. How did that come about?
mxpw: Mini Anden is hot and I like pretty things?
Frea: Works for me!
mxpw: Okay, in all seriousness, I needed a Sarah, but I couldn't use the actual Sarah because she was too busy carving Alex Forrest up like the Joker.
mxpw: So what to do?
mxpw: Well, I brought in somebody who could play Sarah's part, but do so in a very chaotic way.
Frea: Loki in a Skirt.
mxpw: Pretty much.
mxpw: To be perfectly honest, and this is something a lot of other writers probably won't admit, but Carina is DA's Bryce Larkin.
mxpw: And by that, I mean, she's a walking, talking plot device.
Frea: In fabulous shoes, I might add.
mxpw: She exists to move the plot along. That's really her primary function.
Frea: I wouldn't call her a device so much as a chaotic catalyst.
mxpw: The fact that I happen to really like the character and have somehow been able to make others like her as well is just a side benefit.
mxpw: Okay, I guess that is fair.
Frea: And she already has a better backstory than Bryce Larkin. You've made her a well-rounded catalyst, at the very least. I still love the chapter where she talks about meeting Chuck for the first time
mxpw: Yeah, that was one of my favorite chapters too. I like to think I actually helped turn Carina into a real person.
Frea: Her nose no longer grows when she lies?
mxpw: I wish I could say what I'm going to do with her character, but I will say this: near the end of the story, she and Sarah do something together that kind of determines their relationship for the future. And no, pervs, their clothes stay on. Well, mostly...
Frea: Ooh, intrigue.
mxpw: Basically, that is DA. As for who the titular double agent is, well, I've seen some people speculate, but I don't believe anybody has ever guessed right.
mxpw: I do believe Frea knows, but she'd be the only one who does.
mxpw: Besides me, of course, and with my memory, I may need to ask her to remind me.
Frea: It's Keyse-- er, yeah, I'm not supposed to reveal that. I'm sorry, mxpw. Any final thoughts on Double Agent you're really dying to tell the readers?
mxpw: For those of you who wanted Sarah to be more proactive and kick some ass, well, you're going to get your wish. Let's just say she doesn't take too kindly to people who mess with her man.
mxpw: My scary mind?
mxpw: Let's talk about Fates now.
Frea: Haha, maybe next time.
mxpw: Now that's scary!
Stick around for Episode 2: Frea's Freaking Fates!