Anywho, since I know half of you have already skimmed past this and have gone on to read, I present to you: “The Scoop” with Frea O’Scanlin – What Fates Impose.
(Can I go now?)
mxpw: So...*shuffles notecards* Let's see what we've got here...
Frea: This interview brought to you by Dr. Pepper and Cheezits.
mxpw: Too easy. *toss*
mxpw: Too hard. *toss*
Frea: And also chain mail juggling balls. (don't ask)
mxpw: Too perverted. *saves for later*
Frea: Yeah, you're not interviewing Wepdiggy here, mx.
mxpw: Not perverted enough. *toss*
mxpw: Ah, here we go!
Frea: Oh yay!
mxpw: *clears throat* So, Miss O'Scanlin, I thought about what to ask you and the first thing I came up with is this: What's with the Greek pantheon?
mxpw: You got Fates, ancient titans, and one of your main characters is obviously a goddess.
Frea: You mean the names of my various parts of Fates?
Frea: Ohhh, that.
Frea: Right. Ellie the goddess.
mxpw: She's more like a demi-goddess.
mxpw: Kind of a goddess-lite.
mxpw: Same great taste, but less filling.
Frea: Either way. I don't think it actually was intentional for Fates to be so Greek-flavored, as it were. The title comes from Shakespeare, rather than a Grecian origin, but it has its roots in the fact that I always thought Chuck and Sarah were fated to be together. It's a story of soulmates, which is my favorite type of story, really, but it's also a story of how Chuck was fated to be the Intersect, how he and Sarah were fated to at least meet. But what happens when you change one little thing--Bryce getting Chuck kicked out of Stanford in this case--and then put everybody in almost identical situations. That sort of dichotomy is what I've been exploring since the first day. What changes take place now that Chuck IS an agent, now that the asset/handler relationship doesn't exist (on paper, anyway...)
Frea: As far as the names of the parts? Well, I've always been kind of interested in the Greek gods. My favorite is the story of Persephone, actually, and they probably influence everything I write in some way. Chuck's team name comes from Prometheus and...I have to be honest here.
mxpw: You get a thrill out of being your own Dr. Frankenstein?
Frea: When I was a kid, I used to watch this show called "Kablam!!" It aired on Nickelodeon, I think, and it had segments. One of those segments was called "Prometheus and Bob," about this alien and this caveman. And so the story of Prometheus has fascinated me since that point, and I brought it into the Fatesverse as the team name since "Team Intersect" just didn't have quite the cool ring I was going for. And with Part II being Prometheus, Part I just seemed to make sense as "Epimetheus," and it grew from there.
Frea: And that's FRAWN-ken-steen.
mxpw: Well, at least I didn't get Igor and I-gor mixed up. I don't think...
Frea: He was originally called Ygor, did you know that?
Frea: Actually, he wasn't called anything originally, but he became Ygor in 1929, I think.
mxpw: Was that before or after Karloff lost his hand?
Frea: I think that was in 1931? Man, I'm probably so wrong about eeeeverything.
Frea: I fail at film school.
mxpw: That's okay. I don't think it matters. It's not like Fates is cinematic in scope or anything.
Frea: Oh, I don't know. I've certainly called it The Neverending Story a couple of times.
mxpw: Sorry, sorry, didn't mean to get off track there or anything. At least we're not alking about the Dark Crystal.
Frea: You know far too much about me!
mxpw: It's a gift.
Frea: I'd like you to return it now.
mxpw: Sorry, Frea, but there is a 30-day return policy only and it's been much longer than 30 days.
Frea: *gusty sigh* Oh well.
mxpw: Best I can give you is maybe store credit.
mxpw: Speaking of store credit, just how long is Fates supposed to be?
Frea: Nice segueway.
mxpw: It's better than a segway.
Frea: I've made it clear that the story goes beyond Intersect 2.0. Wait a second, that can't be right. It's been 35 chapters and two months exactly has elapsed in story-time.
mxpw: Well, essentially what you're saying is, we might hit Intersect 2.0 around Chapter 233?
Frea: Probably not that bad
Frea: Chapter 36 kicks off Part IV of Fates, Menoetius. A very, very optimistic guess is that Part IV will be as long as Part III.
mxpw: Can you at least tell us how many parts you're planning on having?
Frea: It may be longer. Part IV brings to light a lot of things, things I talked about in the author's notes on Chapter 35. We're going to deal with a Chuck who is very aware of how Sarah feels about him, and somebody who has to figure out if he feels the same way, while things will come to light for both Operation Prometheus and for our favorite couple that...well, that would be spoiling, but let's just say smooth sailing MAY be in short supply.
Frea: And there will be 8 parts, in all, of Fates. Maybe 9 if I decide I like the Muses more. 7 titans and 1 Greek god.
mxpw: 8 parts? Wow, so we're actually a pretty good chunk into the story, aren't we?
Frea: I would put us at somewhere between 33 and 40 percent of the way through.
Frea: I front load my stories like nothing else, really. I set up a world, really let you know the characters, the setting, the interactions....and then I break all hell loose.
Frea: And yes, I can see you doing the math.
mxpw: What? I never do the math.
Frea: If 1/3rd of the story is 2 months, how does that work? Well, there will be a time-skip, like between seasons of a TV show, and as Chuck heals more, the plot will pick up considerable speed.
mxpw: Interesting. Now I have to ask: are you insane?
Frea: Not that I know of, but if I were, I wouldn't know. Why?
mxpw: It's just, apart from the daily adoration you receive, why do you write this beast? We're at 225K+ words, 35 chapters, and yet you said we're only 30% done. Why write?
Frea: Oh, that's easy.
Frea: I like the attention.
mxpw: What was your motivation?
mxpw: We all already know that.
Frea: Adoration, of course.
mxpw: Tell us something new.
Frea: Oh, fiiiiine.
Frea: It starts with "Chuck vs. The Pink Slip," actually.
mxpw: Oh I just love it when conversations start with that line.
Frea: I was furious after that episode aired. I had a terrible year during the second season, with some personal job stuff (read: the boss from hell) and not a lot of money, and many times, Chuck was literally the only high point in my week.
mxpw: Yeah, I felt the same way about Sarah Walker, I mean, the show too.
Frea: Things got better after the second season ended, and I about did back-flips of joy when we were given a third season. And so I got really, really excited about a third season with a Chuck who could do kung fu, and who was finally on the same page of the relationship with Sarah and Casey would be there and everything would be good and....
Frea: One word: Prague.
mxpw: Right. Like a sucker punch to the face.
Frea: And to make matter worse, then "Three Words" aired and the hits just. kept. coming.
Frea: Where the hell were the characters that I loved? The witty, clever plotlines that, sure, had holes, but man they were fun?
Frea: "Angel de la Muerta" won me over somewhat, but man, "Operation Awesome..." Guh, I hated Shaw from the very first minute.
Frea: It never got better, either. It just got more and more depressing until I finally was like, "You know what? I want the happy back," so I think I followed a link on Sepinwall's blog to...I think it was a Notorious JMG story. I can't remember which one, but that eventually led me to Chuck Vs. His Destiny. And I read through quite a few of the archives, including Chuck Vs. the Double Agent over the next week or so.
mxpw: That Double Agent story is really something, huh?
Frea: Eh, it's all right.
mxpw: So basically, you hit all the fanfic highlights.
Frea: I remember reading Chuck Vs. the Closet Gleek and LOVING that story. Anyway, I saw how many different variations of Sarah there were in the fandom and I kind of...got a little frustrated with how they were treating her. So...I wrote my own story.
mxpw: Because Sarah has it so easy in Fates.
Frea: Oh, no, are you kidding? Her path is harder to walk than Chuck's is.
mxpw: Yeah, tell us about how you're a member of the Jim Butcher school of character and plot development.
Frea: All right. Jim Butcher writes two of my favorite series.
Frea: Codex Alera and The Dresden Files
Frea: And he takes these characters that start off in down-on-their-luck situations and proceeds to make them believable badasses.
Frea: However, to do so, he literally beats the hell out of them.
Frea: And he doesn't pull punches, either. When one of his characters gets hurt or winds up with a psychological/traumatic issue, that injury/issue will continue to come back and have an effect on everything the character does.
mxpw: And will last for book after book after book...
Frea: It's not always the easiest thing to read, but Butcher just makes you care about his characters in such a way that you're going through their trials and tribulations right alongside them, and you want them to succeed so bad.
Frea: If the character has what the Tropers call "A Crowning Moment of Awesome," you cheer so hard because that moment was earned.
mxpw: Yeah, for the longest time, all I wanted was for poor Harry to finally just get laid already.
Frea: And, okay, Fates Sarah might share some properties of Karrin Murphy and Kitai...
Frea: She certainly seems to share Kitai's opinions about clothing and whether or not it's necessary, for example.
mxpw: Which it's not, for the record.
Frea: True story: I may have made Sarah naked in Chapter 19 for mxpw since I boss him around so much.
Frea: Since Chapter 19 was supposed to start in the car on the way to Stanford.
mxpw: Yeah, but then...but then!
mxpw: What about the stupid goat?
Frea: Haa, that's another funny story.
Frea: The goat or, in mxpw's words, stupid goat, is actually a shapeshifter.
mxpw: I knew it!
Frea: If you read the first chapter of What Fates Impose it's a donkey, but it changes to a goat in Wind and Tide.
mxpw: I knew it was more evil than it initially let on.
Frea: Maybe some day it will change into something small, like a Cornish hen. Would that make you happy, mxpw?
mxpw: Yes, that would make me happy.
mxpw: You may continue on with your tale of woe now.
Frea: What tale was that?
Frea: Okay, just because I had Morgan suggest that Chuck's new identity should be Drake Mallard in Chapter 11...
mxpw: Darkwing Duck! When can I expect Chuck to don the cape and cowl?
mxpw: Or mask, as it were.
Frea: It will be awhile before Chuck is up to superhero levels in Fates.
Frea: The fact that he's able to function as well as he is in a fight is actually a bit of a miracle.
mxpw: Well, you know what they say about the lust of a good woman.
Frea: It shuts Chuck's brain down completely?
mxpw: Yeah. So what's the deal with that, huh? Why is he so broken?
Frea: It's self-confidence, mostly. That's where I see him as the most broken.
mxpw: Sarah Walker wants to make babies with him, how much more of confidence booster does he need?
Frea: Honestly, Sarah and Bryce visiting him in that bunker when they did was the best thing for him. It gave him a brief touch with the outside world, it gave him friends and support and love. He got interested in Tai Chi because Sarah recommended it, and it set up a connection between the two that would help sustain him through some very scary things--going on the run from the government, leaving everything he knew behind because it was no longer safe, going through the operations in Burbank. Chuck suffers multiple panic attacks between Parts I and II of Fates, and though he's had trouble since, he hasn't actually had a breakdown until the Coughing Catharsis and his brief break with reality in the warehouse in Chapter 13.
Frea: Yeah, actually, that's a good point, and one of the themes of the fourth part of Fates: what Sarah Walker could possibly see in a guy like him, and if he can come to accept that she's not crazy.
Frea: Though she is. A little bit.
mxpw: Except...I really want to talk about one of my favorite parts of Fates, but I can't, because it's a spoiler. So instead I'm just going to say, she kinda is.
Frea: Things not being all they seem with Sarah? Yeah, we can't talk about that yet.
mxpw: Yeah. And the way Chuck and Sarah mirror each other more and more as the story goes on.
Frea: Well, can I talk about one of my pet peeves?
mxpw: I don't know, can you?
Frea: This is YOUR interview. I'm asking for permission.
Frea: mxpw, may I please talk about my pet peeve?
mxpw: Then you should have said, "may I."
Frea: Oh yeah, Frea's Flying Fingers of Fury FTW!
mxpw: I give you leave.
Frea: So you know what I really hate?
mxpw: Small faces?
mxpw: Inanimate actors?
mxpw: That Fringe's premier is still weeks away?
Frea: You know me well, but no. I hate what I call the Victor/Victim pairing. I see it a lot in fanfiction where one member of the couple is always at fault for everything, where one is the saint and one is the pariah.
Frea: Zombie Oh My Goat, I am so excited about Season Three of Fringe!
Frea: But back on subject
mxpw: FYI for all you readers out there, if you want to bribe Frea with something, bribe her with Olivia Dunham.
Frea: I'm not going to mention names, but a lot of authors will deliberately weaken one member of the relationship. Wait a second, you're putting a kung fu goddess in a relationship with an agoraphobic nerd, Frea. How is that not complete and total hypocrisy?
mxpw: Because it's Frea.
Frea: I can only hope it isn't, really, but Fates is the story of how Chuck and Sarah evolve from those roles into a partnership, especially since I really hated how they treated Sarah in S3.
mxpw: Oh geez, let's not go there or I'll rant for hours.
Frea: I get complaints that people would never see Chuck and Sarah together because she's too awesome and he's a moron, but...I guess I can't say much more than stay tuned.
mxpw: I'd like to address that, actually.
Frea: Fire away.
mxpw: I often say that Chuck is actually stronger in Fates than he is in canon. Do you agree, and if so, why?
Frea: I don't know if I would agree with that.
Frea: I would say he has different strengths.
Frea: Physically, he's stronger because he went through Army Basic, and he sticks to a work-out regiment, which is a self-admitted way of coping with the complete lack of order his life can take. I don't think canon Chuck would have been able to punch somebody during "Alma Mater," for example, and if he had tackled Lawrence (AKA Matching Pocket Square AKA MPS) in the desert in canon, it probably would have been more of a comedy.
Frea: When I was writing Fates, I had to look at how Chuck would be if he hadn't gotten kicked out of Stanford, if he hadn't been betrayed by both his best friend and his girlfriend, and if he had been recruited to join the CIA. So starting off, there's more confidence there.
Frea: But then on the flipside, I threw him into a bunker for years.
Frea: And coming out of the bunker, Chuck is going to have hang-ups. He's going to look at the world a little bit differently than those who have been able to...have agency, so to speak, who can go outside and interact with others. Which is why Sarah comes across as so awesome, by comparison.
mxpw: Uh, because she is awesome.
Frea: I took what nurturing properties we see sometimes in canon Sarah and enhanced them by having her meet Chuck two years prior, and by giving them the same sort of connection the Pilot did. If canon Chuck won Sarah over, I think mxpw put it once, with ballerinas and computer viruses, Fates Chuck did it with Tang and James Bond.
Frea: Oh, and being proud of her because she cheated at cards. Can't forget that.
mxpw: Chapter Two. Still my favorite chapter.
Frea: Mine is probably Seventeen, actually.
mxpw: What happened then? You know my rule.
Frea: Oh right. That's the Halloween chapter
mxpw: Ahh, okay.
Frea: Remember how I turned Sarah into a complete girl?
mxpw: Yeah, which was one of my favorite moments of the fic so far.
Frea: Oh, wait, she seems to do that every time Chuck does something amusing.
mxpw: No willpower.
Frea: Absolutely none.
Frea: Actually, we joke about that all the time, but I don't know. I see Sarah as incredibly strong.
Frea: Just because she has to be.
mxpw: Outwardly, sure, but inwardly? It's like a "Squee!" or a "D'awww!" every five seconds or so. That's the real reason why Frea doesn't write from Sarah's POV.
Frea: That and I'm pretty sure if I started writing a story in Sarah's POV, the pace of Fates would slow way down.
mxpw: Well, maybe if she stopped having so many sex dreams...
Frea: Oh, man, just imagine if she actually told Chuck she had a sex dream about him within hours of meeting him.
Frea: If you thought his brain broke in Chapter 33....
mxpw: Scrambled eggs?
Frea: More like dropping an egg off of a cliff?
Frea: If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of Frea cackling echoing in the distance...
mxpw: So why do you love Dr. Pepper so much?
Frea: 23 Flavors of Deliciousness, natch.
mxpw: Of course.
Frea: Speaking of which...
Frea: My glass is empty.
Frea: I must do something about this.
mxpw: Get one of your minions to fill it for you.
Frea: Hey, mxpw?
Frea: *holds glass out expectantly*
mxpw: Excuse me.
mxpw: I am not one of your random minions.
Frea: Fiiiiine. Bye, all. Off to fill up my own glass with the 23 delicious flavors.
mxpw: *waves goodbye*