Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Asked... and We Still Won't Shut Up!

Yet another installment of our "Ask Us Anything" series where I solicited questions from our awesome readers and we will continue to answer as long as you continue to ask questions. It can be about anything, and you can ask both of us the same question or direct a question to one of us specifically.

I'll be going first this time around, answering first a question asked by hikari no tsubasa: Okay, for both of you... we all know who your favorite characters are! ;) So, who are your LEAST favorite canon? read in fanfic? write in fanfic? And the next questions asked by jenny2412: How long does it take to write a chapter? Do you have a set time to write? If so, when is it?
And here are our answers:

We'll start with me (Zyra): Least favorite character in canon? Tough one. Oh, who among us likes Prince Isolder? And how can we possibly believe that Leia was into that guy? While we're at it, his mother, too, who seemed to start the whole mess. Oh, and Prince Xizor, because he tried to seduce Leia while Han was in carbonite. Everyone is always trying to steal Leia away from Han but nobody is ever trying to steal Han away from Leia.

Least favorite to read in fanfic? Wow, another tough one. I guess I’m not a fan of Mon Mothma in fanfic only because everyone usually makes her out to be such a bitch. And Bria! I don’t like when people bring her back. Are we discovering a pattern of who I hate and why? Nobody else really springs to mind, though.

Least favorite to write in fanfic, that would have to be Luke. It’s not his fault, really. I just don’t feel like I can get inside his head quite the same way as Han’s and Leia’s. Especially after ROTJ when it’s like he’s this all-knowing being. I mean, it’s just tough to write someone who it appears never makes the wrong choice and it feels like trying to write a monk or something. I just find it boring. I know he doesn’t have to be boring and certainly at least at times he isn’t in the movies. But the Luke we get at the end of ROTJ just doesn’t seem interesting to me to write. I wish I felt comfortable using him more, I just don’t.

How long does it take to write a chapter? Well, that definitely depends. Sometimes they can flow out and be done in like fifteen minutes. A lot of times for me there may be one scene or chapter I’d been looking forward to in a story and it’s been in my head for a while so it’s easy to get down. Then there are others that I’m not looking forward to for whatever reason and I just keep putting them off or it takes me a long time just to type them up. Then of course there is editing. Sometimes we might agonize over getting some particular chapter just right so we go back and forth on them for a while before putting them out there. And sometimes we’re fairly happy with it right away and it doesn’t take much. Start to finish I could be happy with a chapter in like an hour, but there are others that take days or even weeks! I personally do not have a set time to write. I write whenever I’m feeling inspired. I have a flexible work schedule so usually I can put that stuff off if I’m having some inspiration. I’d say that most often that inspiration comes later in the day, but I can’t say why. It’s just not often that I feel like writing first thing in the morning.

And now for Push: Least favorite character in canon?  Oh.  That’s hard!  I’m assuming you are only talking about the movies and the only movies I count are the Original Trilogy so I’m going to answer this question as, “Who are your least favorite characters in the Original Trilogy?”  And that is tough!  I despise Tarkin, I really hate him for destroying Alderaan, I mean that was really, really cruel.  But I don’t think that is what you mean.  I don’t much care for Uncle Owen, either.  He didn’t seem like he was all that nice to Luke and that he harbored some kind of resentment toward him that Luke had no control over.  But that's probably not right, either.  Oh, I know but I don’t know if a lot of people will hate me for this, but…the Ewoks?  I mean…well, I kinda would like a takesie-over on most of ROTJ to begin with but the Ewoks were a little over the top.  And that Madine guy, the General who speaks after Mon Mothma during the Death Star II debrief, never had gotten a good vibe from him…

And now I cheated and looked at Zyra's answer and she included the EU.  If that's the case, I hate, hate, hate the Yuuzhan Vong.  The entire lot of them for reasons outlined below in the next question.  When I read the books that they were in I used to skip entire chapters if they were only 'Vong' chapters without any other character interactions.  I'm glad they are gone.  The end.  Fade to black. read in fanfic?  Here I’m going to have to go with Original Characters.  This is probably wrong of me to say and it is just my personal opinion, but I would rather read about most any Canon or EU character rather than learn the life story of some new person.  Now, this is a fine line to walk as a writer and I have had to walk it myself.  I mean, there has to be other people in the universe, right?  I have had to create OC’s and I have struggled with them on the writer’s side.  But, when I read and/or write an OC, I personally think that less is more.  Now, as with everything else, there are exceptions and I have read some stories and enjoyed ‘meeting’ an OC, but even that usually fell into the category that the OC was more of a supporting character than a main one.  Again, just my opinion. write in fanfic?  Now, this is no reflection on the characters themselves and there is an entire thread over on NHP about how difficult these guys are to write for most people, but I’m going to say Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca.  Again, it’s not that I don’t like these guys, I just don’t like to WRITE them.  I’m always afraid that I’m making Luke to Force/Jedi focused and Chewbacca to wise and sage-y.  I think I’m getting a better handle on Luke and in my most recent stories I have decided NOT to give Chewbacca lines but just have the characters respond to him like in the movies.  I still have to kinda, sorta have an idea of what Chewie is saying, but it seems worlds easier (for me) to write him that way.

How long does it take to write a chapter?  Oooooh, this is really, really impossible to answer.  I have written entire stories in one sitting where it sounds like my keyboard might internally combust.  And then there have been paragraphs, or sentences even, that have eluded me for weeks and weeks and sometimes months.  My last chapter of “Shifting Impressions” is a great example of that.  I wrote most of those chapters for that story pretty quickly but it took me 8 months to publish the last chapter and I’m still not happy with it.  My lesson there?  You just can’t force it.  If it isn’t coming to you, step away and come back later.  I also promised myself I would never, ever start publishing a story that I wasn’t finished ever, ever again.  That’s just my own personal thing.  I HATED having an unfinished story hanging out there.  It was stress I didn’t need. J

Do you have a set time to write? If so, when is it?  I’ll sit just about anywhere at home with my laptop on my lap.  I hardly ever sit at my desk or table at home to write.  It’ll usually be later in the evening after my kids are in bed.  Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have to write something down.  Oh, and when we go on trips and my husband is driving, I’ll alternate reading and writing.  So, I guess my answer really is, “No.”  I write when it strikes me and when I can find the time! 

Alright, so there went another installment of our "Ask Us Anything" series. If you would like a question answered, please visit that post and Ask Us Anything. (We do reserve the right to not answer, if necessary! So, don't get crazy...)

Once again, don't worry if your question didn't get answered (yet), we will continue to post answers as long as you guys continue to ask questions.


  1. Yeah, I don't like writing Luke either. Poor Kid. I do the same, Push, with Chewie - don't give him distinct lines. The closest I did was have 3PO translate for him once, but even that isn't his exact lines.

    I too have gotten to the point where I have finish a story before I post it. If it never sees the light of day, well okay. It's better than getting a great response from the first few chapters and then feeling guilty every time you log on and see that unfinished story there.

    Sometimes I don't even write on my laptop, now that I have a new desktop (my laptop screen is cracked) and there are times when I just don't go to be because I still have things I want to write. Other times, I'm online with Word open and type a sentence or paragraph at a time, while I'm on tumblr or something like that.

    Wow, I can relate to a lot of what you said.

  2. Push that is so funny I do the same thing with the entire NJO. I just flat refused to read the Vong chapters. I am loving it now that I have a Nook, I can just search for the next time Han or Leia pops back up :-)

    Seeing as how I am a secret writer and no one knows I do this, I write when I am all alone in the house. or early in the morning on weekends when everyone's asleep. or late late at night when I can't sleep. maybe if I had a laptop I would write in the car on long trips or something but I'd still be too embarrassed to have anyone catch me at it! :-)

    and I just want to add, since it's clear from your answers that you feel the same way, that I am pretty sure I will never post antoher story that's still in progress.

    I feel horribly guilty for having started posting my Bespin story a while back because I thought - since I had a beginning, a middle, and an end - that it was a "finished story". who knew I had three separate stories?

    Now that thing nags at me ALL THE TIME. Like, more than my real life "to do" list. I sit here toying with it on Saturday morning, the heck with laundry, I'm going to finish this one paragraph, darn it.

    how silly is that? I mean, no one is going to FIRE me from writing fan fic for not finishing it. why do I feel like there's this black mark on my permenant record card until I finish it?

    anyway, guess all I really wanted to say is thanks for sharing cuz I swear you both sound an awful lot like me. and it's nice to know I'm not the only one. :-)


  3. I usually start posting a story before it's done, but it's usually at least MOSTLY done and I know I'll finish it. I do usually get to the last chapter or last few chapters and lose steam often, though. I hate trying to end stuff and more than one of my stories were left hanging on the last chapter for a while. Nowhere near Push's record, but still much longer than I liked and I still wasn't happy with the result but I just wanted to be done!

    Julz, that's where you're wrong, because we can totally fire you from fanfic ;) Oh, I used to give Push a hard time about skipping Vong chapters. I read them all. Of course I also read them as they were coming out so I had time. I still don't regret it.

    Anyway, get back to that story!

  4. I pretty much agree with both of your answers for most hated canon characters. Xizor just seems so POINTLESS, and visually not very Star Wars-y (well, neither is the PT though) and...yeah, sleazy. What, his whole species oozed sex or something? *shudder*

    And Madine. I have NO IDEA why I don't like that guy, but I've got Dodonna and Rieekan and even Mon Mothma in my AU...and no Madine. I just have nothing to say about him, and nothing to have him do, and...just nothing. So he's not there. Assume he's stationed elsewhere if you like. ;)

    Chewie is really hard to write. I don't really agree about Luke, but post-ROTJ Luke, maybe. I've never attempted to write a Luke who wasn't at least somewhat whiny and immature.

    And not posting until the story is done! That's a resolution I've made SOOO many times, and never managed to do it. I want feedback too badly! (I really envy both of you, and anyone else who has a permanent beta, I usually have to find someone new for each story, sometimes find someone new halfway through a story) Even now, when I'm more or less DONE but I want to go back and EDIT. And I'm finding that it's much harder to edit when the previous chapters are already published, and therefore set in stone in the mind of anyone who's been reading as they go. *sigh*

    Keeping up with a WIP is a lot of fun as a reader of course...but it's sad when a story's never finished, and not a lot of fun as a writer to feel like you have to get more written whether or not inspiration hits.