Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Been There....Done That....

"Damn women...always go for the Wookiee..."

Do you ever feel like everything that's anything that could happen to Han and Leia has already been written and written well?  It's almost like when they remake a movie that was perfectly awesome to begin with (like Arthur - IMO), it almost seems doomed to failure from the start - always to be compared to the original or to someone who had done it better.

This is definitely how I feel about trip to Bespin stories.  I have read so many spectacular stories for that trip that I feel:  1) that I could never do any better and 2) that there isn't anything new to add to it.  But then I read someone else who has braved that time period and they add something new to it that I had never seen or thought of before and I think, hmmm - it is possible (just maybe not for me!)

And then that is what I think is so great about writing.  How we all bring our own unique perspective, personality and voice to our stories and that is why I always encourage anyone who even has an inkling to write something down, to just do it.  I know it's difficult to look at a string of words that you have laced together and not find fault in them, or think that they aren't worth another person's time to read.  But, believe me, in the majority of the cases that just isn't true.  If you have something to say, chances are there are people who will enjoy listening to you.

I guess my favorite time period for Han and Leia is the time between ANH and ESB.  It's a good chunk of about three years where their relationship blossomed from strangers to two people who obviously have strong feelings for each other that are fighting in the middle of a busy corridor.  I guess the possibilities of what could've happened between them during those three years are just about endless.

After then, of course, you have post-ROTJ where the world really just opens up for you because you are not restrained by the confines of the movies any longer - at least not like you are when writing during or in between the movies and trying to keep your story 'canon'.  But just that open-ended possibility can be intimidating/daunting as well.  I mean, they could live anywhere, do anything, and meet/mingle with anybody.  Which brings us to the the EU story line.  This might curtail your freedoms, but it also gives you some characters and story lines to work with that can make it a little easier.

I sometimes wonder how other writers decide what they are going to work on.  For me it is usually the story that comes to me first and I am not intentionally trying to write in a certain timeframe.  Except, I guess, for my post-ROTJ storyline where I am diligently trying to come up with 'what happened next?'.  How does it happen for you guys?  Do you let the story guide you?  Or do you start with the timeline and brainstorm ideas? 


  1. Just about everything I ever write starts out with one specific idea and blossoms from there. Timeline isn't usually something I have to think very strongly about, it usually just comes from the idea...there's only one timeframe that would really work? My one little Han/Leia story just came from the fact that I've always wanted to use those song titles in a fic, but it never seemed to work with any previous fandom I'd written for. It occurred to me at some point that if it somehow involved Han Solo, I could kind of make it work...and it became post-ROTJ just because I knew their relationship would have to be at a certain point, and didn't see it being there before then.

    Beyond Repair came from ME, when I was 12 and I'd heard a spoiler (after watching only ANH) that Luke had his hand cut off, and I was wondering how that could possibly be true, because he was the hero and he was supposed to defeat Darth Vader in the end...and he was already at a pretty serious disadvantage physical strength-wise. Cybernetics never occurred to me, so years later I started thinking about what would have happened if that technology DIDN'T exist...it really all came from that, and then I decided to tweak a couple of things that never made sense about ROTJ (like Han and Lando being instant buddies at Jabba's palace, etc) and the whole thing spiralled out of control from there.

    Just about everything else I've done has come from a similar idea...one little thought that gets built on, and most of the timelines kind of decide themselves.

  2. I think if we all decided to stop writing just because something had been done before, there wouldn't be much left to write about. Um... Han takes Leia to a hockey game? Pretty sure that hasn't been done. Also doesn't sound interesting at all.

    For me, I think my ideas often stem from one scenario that I want to have within a story, but it's really hard to write that way. It's like I don't see a beginning, middle and end but rather just one scene within and I have a hard time building off of it. Probably also why I've got nothing going on at the moment! Or I guess a couple of them have stemmed from just what we would call the inciting incident. What if Han was chosen for a magazine as sexiest man alive? What if Prince Xizor didn't die?

    But I will say that I think the fun part about it is that for every scenario out there that has been done dozens of times, I'd say that we all have our own ideas of what happened in that time frame. I've read plenty of believable Bespin stories that all include totally different things happening, totally different outcomes, and some with sex and some without. If the author does a good job, they'll make me believe it. But I also don't think anyone has written it exactly how I would see it, so there's always room for some interpretation there, which is why I think it's fun.

  3. You know, I think it can also be a good idea to build OFF of what other people have done. I haven't done it much in Star Wars, since I started writing before I'd read more than a handful of stories, but in my previous fandom a lot of my stories came from things like "Why does everyone write this same AU, but no one's done it like THIS before?" Since a lot of the readers have probably read the same stories too, it can be a good starting point to DELIBERATELY go where others have gone before, and then turn the idea on its head.

  4. I sort of do the same thing as Zyra. I start with one idea I want in the story and attempt to build off and around it. Sometimes it flows easy, but most of the time it's frustrating because I have no idea where I'm going from that point. There's no definite structure.

    And I agree, with Hikari, taking one thing and going off in a completely different direction can be awesome.

  5. mostly I think in terms of random scenes and conversations - they just come to me when I am standing in a queue somewhere or trying to ignore what the dentist is doing to my mouth.
    I don't usually think in terms of WHEN this is happening, until I think I want to share it and realize it needs a setting and a time period and I have to figure out just where they are in their lives. Sometimes stuff decides its own time period and other times not.

    Some days I think the reason I tend to drop my stray bits of conversation into pre-ordained time periods like the original films is because I am just too lazy to think up names of planets for them to be on and missions to go on etc as reasons for them to be having conversations between ANH and ESB.

    mostly I guess I just let the story decide its own timeframe.