7 March 2011

vicarbrench: (Prayer)
I just re-read bits of The Twelve, that super long story I wrote starting senior year of high school and finishing in/by junior year of college. Apparently it's well over 100,000 words! I didn't remember doing a word count before, cos I definitely thought it was half that number. But wow, that was an accomplishment. And it was a lot of fun at the time.

Something very uncanny about my experience this evening looking at it, though, was that almost all of the main characters are based off of friends of mine - or at least their D&D characters - one of whom died last year. And yet I open this ginormous Word file, scroll down towards the end of the document, and there he is, Malthew the halfling rogue assassin. Based on Malbar, Matt Brown's classic evil assassin D&D character. I enjoyed writing an evil character as one of the twelve protagonists of the story; he was so different from the others. Tehran and ReĆ­an were somewhat self-centered and mischievous and disinterested in the moral aspect of the quest in the story, but only Malthew went out of his way to put down the other characters, exalt himself, backstab others, and make unwanted sexual advances (not even with real intent, but simply to piss off the good guys)! I guess that's the sinful aspect of human nature showing through; I was able to tap into that built-in sense of evil corruption in my own heart and experience to create an evil protagonist.

And that's kind of surreal-feeling now, because the real person behind that character was (obviously) not really an overtly evil guy. Matt did have an arrogant streak which ranged from comical to annoying depending on the day. But he wasn't a serial killer or a sexual pervert. He was a decent normal techie kind of guy. And actually, he was one of the most supportive people to me in the process of writing The Twelve. I can't deny, Emily was my top supporter in that project; she eagerly read my updates, gave me positive feedback, brainstormed ideas when I was getting stuck, provided name lists for the countless incidental characters I (for some reason) felt the need to include, and she made me feel like what I was doing was valued. And that's such a basic need that almost every artist needs to feed on in order to keep going. But Matt Brown was probably #2 in supporting me. Not so much through eagerness, but through technical support. He had a keen eye for continuity, as well as grammar and spelling. Not that I was bad on those fronts, but it's always invaluable to have an objective observer. In fact, I still have a file or two of corrections from Matt that I have yet to implement.

This is a legacy he left behind in my life. I've not touched this story or even looked at it for a few years, now, but now that Matt's gone, I feel like if I ever do anything further with The Twelve, it's powerfully in his memory. It's just a little awkward for me that within the story, his alterego is one of the most despicable 'good guys' ever. But he knew it wasn't something I did because I didn't like him. Heck, he enjoyed it. I distinctly remember him laughing (albeit over AIM) at how well I re-created his evil D&D character. So at least that is something.

Matt Brown, you were a fun friend to have. Thank you for your help in making The Twelve a better story, for your encouragement in the character development of Malthew, and for being a good friend to me for the eleven years I knew you. I can't believe it's already been nearly a year since you left.

Matt Brown, 14 July 1985 - Tuesday 23 March 2010


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