But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thanks for the Feedback

I do really appreciate the mechanical comments, but what I really want is story comments. Do you believe this? Do you believe the characters and the setting? Am I making real people here, or just place holder characters? Most importantly: does this feel too much like Star Wars? I really want to distance myself from that as much as is reasonable.

I tried really hard in the first bit to toss all the old Star Wars jargon out the window but keep it at the same time. I still called it a droid, but I also called it a mech and a robot (totally unprecedented in the context of Star Wars). I called it a lightsaber, but I also called it what it is: a sword.

I just feel like Star Wars has always been about setting and buzzwords that suck you in and make you go "oooooooooo!!! What's a "lightsaber?!" I want to distract from that with an honest-to-god good story, and if I keep saying "Droid," people are going to expect Anthony Daniels, when in reality C-3PO and R2-D2 never behaved like the robots that they ought to be.

I just want to say "look, this is obviously Star Wars, but it's not the same Star Wars you're familiar with. It will be a lot easier for you to accept that if I don't keep reminding you of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher by saying things like lightsaber and stormtrooper." And I will say those things, because everybody knows what a stormtrooper is. But that's not their name anymore. Now their "Imperial soldiers," or the derogatory "plasticmen." Naming them "stormtroopers" is like naming the Navy SEALS "death divers."

Yeah. They're Navy guys who are very good at killing people. But it's a bad idea to give your own forces ominous, scary names. I get that the Empire is a rule-by-fear organization, but calling your men on the ground "stormtroopers" makes everybody hate them as much as they fear you. These aren't policemen. They're not soldiers. They're stormtroopers. These are the guys we send in when regular army just won't get the job done without all getting killed. And now we're using them as law enforcement too. No wonder there's a rebellion every Thursday. bottom line: you can't name your cops "stormtroopers."

You can have guys called "stormtroopers," but they're not the bulk of your army. They're the three squads of commandoes that nobody is supposed to know about, but everybody does. Because it IS a good idea for the people that you want to fear you to have someone other than you to evince that fear. When somebody hears "stormtrooper" they don't think "the guys from the local garrison." They think: "Stormtroopers? Here? Pack it up. We're moving to the next continent." Because nobody wants to be on the same landmass as Darth Vader's hand-picked squad of super-soldiers except the whores and the guy who runs the ammo shop.

Droids aren't named "droids" anymore because, to be perfectly honest, most of them aren't. Droid is short for android, which denotes a machine in the shape of a man. R2-D2 doesn't fit that bill. Neither do almost all of the other robots seen in the Star Wars movies that aren't C-3PO.

So in this first bit I called it a droid. Well, I'll be calling them "stormtroopers" once as well. But only once, the first time I introduce one, so that everybody knows I'm talking about the guys in white plasteel armor with funny helmets and blaster rifles who bump their heads on doors all the time. After that first scene, they'll always be "imperial soldiers" or "imperial troops" or "troopers."

I don't know if we'll have stormtroopers. Now I kinda like the idea, but I've already got the story pretty well fleshed out (wait until you see my Death Star) and haven't decided if I want to add another mechanism. So, as I post more of the story, please, continue with the grammarictionarisms. I need to know where I need to improve my writing. But what I really, really want to know is: do you believe this and does it feel too much like Star Wars?


  1. I invented the Grammarictionary! I will read chapter 3 and get back to u, luv

  2. I get it now, thank you for the clarification, I will reread and comment.

    BUT, maybe you should try a different approach; totally abandon starwars and write a better space opera. Instead of saying "its basically the star wars universe, but I am going to shake it up enough that I have to spend time telling you what the changes are" why not say "its a space opera, bring your preconceived notions, let me spend some time giving you the back story" You are GOING to spend the time either way, why not jettison starwars and do it YOUR way?

  3. I wasn't lying: I really do still want mechanical notes. But content notes are gold.

    You're not wrong. But here's why: I love Star Wars. I like the setting and I like the ideas and I like the things it makes possible. I don't want to spend a whole story explaining magic in a science fiction context when I could just say "Jedi" and everyone already understands.

    I love Star Wars the same way I love Taco Bell. I have no notions of it being any good, but I still love it. I make tacos at home and they're better than shitty Taco Bell. I want to take Star Wars (something we all love, but we all know is garbage) and make it not suck.

    If I write Star Wars, I can (more or less) just get right into the story without a lot of explanation. The reader doesn't spend any time going "what's that?" Well, it's a lightsaber. You already know what a lightsaber is and have a deep understanding of its purpose and design. If Obi-Wan activates his Marklar, I have to spend time defining Marklar.

    Now here's really why:
    I have no problem defining a new setting. I actually really enjoy it. That's just the first argument I thought of. I'm actually trying to do it a little bit, even though I'm writing in an already-defined place and time.

    To not call it Star Wars would be a rip-off. This is Star Wars. It's got a desert-world farmgirl, a planet destroying space station, an evil space wizard, a space captain who hasn't found his place in the universe and laser swords. I could call it "Space Wizards", but the reader would think: this is just a rip-off of Star Wars with some of the names changed. Ironic, I know, since that's what Star Wars initially was: a fairly obvious rip-off of dune with the names changed.

    Whereas if I call it Star Wars, instead of being a hack writer without any original ideas, I'm a clever author with a new vision of an old story. Does that make any sense?

    Also, there seems to be something wrong with my live writer. I've made two posts that haven't posted. I've been waiting for feedback on chapter two without realizing that I haven't actually posted it yet. It will post a draft to my blog, but won't publish a post. I'll have to look into that. Might have something to do with going back and forth between laptop and desktop.