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Writing process babblings

I haven't ever joined NaNoMo, because I've never had the time and immediately explode when I have deadlines. However, I've been pecking at writing again in November. It's as difficult as ever— how I miss being a young, naive writer who never saw my flaws, who just wrote for writing's sake— but at least it's happening. Unfortunately, the mundane writing I've been doing for the last year seems to drive my creative muse out of my skull. So it's one or the other, and I cannot afford to play for too long.

Yes, I'm still pecking away at LHAD. I believe that story is the best thing I have written, and I want it finished, for me, and for mugs, and for everyone who's ever given me good fic or feedback and might enjoy it, although it's taken much too long. 

Right now, however, I'm being self-indulgent, letting a lightweight FF5 story take me wherever it wills.  After LHAD's ten thousand plot threads and original character arcs, I feel a twinge of embarrassment in falling back on a "replay a game from one character's POV and throw in a romance."  However, FF5 is such a delightfully simple and undeveloped story that it begs for all kinds of embellishment.  Alas, "romance" isn't exactly the term for a disaster waiting to happen. I'm waiting to find out whether it remains a farce or turns into a Greek tragedy.

Unfortunately, I set myself an impossible task by writing the first chapter in an idiom which is foreign to my nature. It's one part Dorothy Sayers and one part ellnyx's "They Call This Progress," an FFXII western Victorian AU. (Sorry, link is flocked, but anyone who's read ellnyx's more mannered Balthier stories will have some idea what I'm mimicking, clumsily.) Final Fantasy has its own recurring archetypes, and Faris is obviously some distant and Fangish antecedent of Balthier.

Also, as this is relevant: George Lucas. Luke/Leia. Did he intend them to be siblings from the start, or did he tweak their relationship and execute a 3-point-turn halfway through writing Empire? And was it bungled, or a brilliant way to invoke a classic tragic-mythic archetype without letting it go too far? (cf: Splinter of the Mind's Eye; Lucas really should've warned that author what was coming in the third film.) As I tiptoe gingerly along the same hoary archetype, I can't help pondering. Also, how might that saga have ended if Han had turned out to be the long-lost sibling? 
This entry was originally posted at http://auronlu.dreamwidth.org/188051.html, where it has comment count unavailablecomments.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Luke and Leia were more than 6 years different in original age [Luke 18, Leia around 25] in 'Star Wars' [the original flick].

Lucas got completely cheesed off when the actors/workers on 'Empire' talked about what they were doing and the plot points started to leak out [because Lucas is/was a tyrannical control freak] - so he rewrote about half the script. From what I've -heard- the Luke/Leia siblings plot point didn't happen until 'Jedi' was written - and making them twins is IMO ludicrious [unless Luke was stuck in carbonite for a few years].
Nov. 15th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
Aha! I THOUGHT it seemed tacked on! Only there's that "another skywalker" thing thrown into the end of Empire! So it wasn't my imagination -- it was supposed to be a straight love triangle about halfway through that movie, and then at some point Lucas changed it (after he started writing the third movie)!

I feel vindicated.

To Lucas' credit, he did a fair job with the trope in the third movie. One can either view it as a cop-out (love triangle resolved), or as a touching resolution.

But they never had to deal with the problem: what if you discover the person you've fallen for is a sibling? A painful question, although thankfully it's not likely to happen in real life.

I am a little afraid to tackle it, because I have no siblings, so maybe I'm not qualified to explore sibling relationships. But I think that's why the question intrigues me.
Nov. 15th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
'another Skywalker' at the end of 'Empire? Huh? Where? There -is- an exchange between Yoda & Kenobi about: [Kenobi] 'that boy is our only hope' [yoda] 'There is another' [fade to black]

But if Lucas went and re-dialogued that scene, I could strangle him. {I have the original videotapes/DVDs without the cr@appy edits Lucas disfigured the 1st 3 films with].
Nov. 16th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)
Oh, no, I'm getting mixed up; it's still "there is another" in Empire. I assume by the time Lucas wrote that line (which I swore up and down was "there is no other" when I first saw the film, causing many a heated discussion) he must have had the Luke & Leia relationship worked out.

More importantly, in Empire, there's the escape from Cloud City sequence when Leia's Lassie Telepathy (tm) makes her receptive to Luke's distress call. The excuse for that could simply be her own latent talent with the Force, Force, as implied by Yoda's comment above. However, I had the impression that there was another reason: both she and Vader were sensing Luke partly because of their blood relationship. (I haven't seen it in a while, but I vaguely remember Vader calling to Luke from afar, and Luke hearing it).

Although it's never quite held together: if Vader was receptive enough to pick up on Luke being his son, why, why, why didn't he sense anything special about Leia when she was his captive? The amount of lip she gave him at their first encounter surely should have reminded him of her mother; Ep I mother before she turned into a sack of grits in Ep II*

*Incidentally, am I the only person who thinks Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman should've been switched, with Knightley playing the "real" Padme and Portman her double? Watching the first film, I had the odd feeling that Padme became meeker and weaker on Tatooine, then had a few strong moments back on Naboo, then went back to being a little flat. A few months later, I realized that all the "Wow, Amidallah kicks ass!" scenes in Ep I were actually played by Knightley, acting as the queen's double. Look at Elizabeth Swann: Knightley has a knack for playing feminine characters with a steel backbone. Although I'm not sure Knightley would've helped in the second and third films; Luca really doesn't know how to maintain strong female characters.
Nov. 16th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
The 'there is another' was a Lucas threat [and opt out point]. As 'Empire' wrapped shooting, Lucas had to deal with:

a) Mark Hamill's big car accident in another movie's shoot that could've killed him [Hamill's face was messed up - which necessitated the snow beast attack that whapped Luke ina face to explain any difference in Luke's facial features] - so Lucas was putting in an 'out' in case Hamill died for some other reason - before 'Jedi' shot.

b) the actors were asking for more money & Lucas wanted to be able to dump them

c) there were preliminary script ideas where 'the other' was Han or was Wedge Antilles [Captain Antilles' kid who was a minor, continuing character in the 1st 2 films]

As for the 'Leia picking up Luke's telepathy' - remember that Han was in carbonite by then. ^_^ The 'Luke using telepathy' was just to show he was a Jedi, because Vader had been shown able to do the same thing earlier. Luke was the active agent [as when he could sense - lightyears away - when his chums were being tortured].

Sadly, Lucas is misogynistic. The only reason Leia had any spunk was because Lucas's wife [Marcia Griffin, the film editor for 'Star Wars'] at the time insisted on the female lead being 'spunky'. Lucas divorced in 1983 and the retro-edits he has done on the 1st 3 films have been done to expunge as much of Marcia's ideas & influence as possible [like Han shooting first]. Having the female lead in the 2nd 3 films having the intestinal fortitude of toilet paper is just about his norm. You -did- note that the competant decoy Padme was killed. [sighs and tries to stop ranting]
Nov. 16th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, the competent decoy had to die. Of course. (And she WOULD be played by one of my favorite actors, although come to think of it, I may first have taken a shine to her in that role. I love her opening scene.... she gets a few speeches as the queen, and delivers them with a gravitas that is painfully lacking later.)

Lucas provided the mythology of my youth, but it is painful to look back.

This is why I'm looking back at FF5, where the party for much of the game consists of 3 gals, one lad:

1) Swashbuckling FEMALE pirate
2) Princess who is kind, but not toilet paper (she'll do wildly stupid and courageous things to save dragons)
3) Rikku-like spunky girl
4) Fool / knave / wandering jack-of-all-trades archetype.

Four "Warriors of Light." And not one of the lasses needs to be a Chick with a Stick, thanks to the Jobs system, unless you wish it so.

Admittedly, #4 is nominally the "lead," only not by much. I spent the whole game with Cap'n Faris as the sprite wandering around on game maps and such, so in my own mind I played through the whole game as a female Han Solo / Balthier with a touch of Fang's bite.

Not a character that Lucas could've imagined, yet she would've fit his universe well.

And good gods, I'd never put two and two together that Wedge was Captain Antilles' son! I'd forgotten Wedge's last name, since it's only in source material, not within the film.

I was a fan of Star Wars so young I didn't get into the trivia/lore aspect as I have with other fandoms. For me, it was unexamined mythology, not fandom/literature to explore and analyze deeply.

I knew vaguely that Lucas' divorce was happening during filming, and I suspected some of the over-bitchiness of Leia in the second film was due to his feelings about his wife. But in retrospect that may be my own sexism; why did she need be nice or feminine? Lucas did great work, but he was much diminished without his wife's input --Han shot first! -- or Joseph Campbell to help bring out the archetypes he was playing with and strengthen / encourage them.

Edited at 2011-11-16 11:03 pm (UTC)
Nov. 17th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
Actually there is 1 mention of Wedge's last name in either 'Star Wars' or 'Empire'. If it was the 1st movie, it would've been around where Luke meets back up with Biggs. For 'Empire' it would've been on Hoth [he destroys the first AT-AT]. My weird little brain noticed it - and that 'Empire' specifically has Wedge surviving the Hoth invasion. He's also in 'Jedi' - and helps Lando destroy the 2nd Death Star. Because he keeps surviving and is a pilot who successfully destroys a lot of the enemy ships, there was a lot of speculation before 'Jedi' came out that he would turn out to be the other possible Jedi candidate. [Ack! The things I remember from 30 years ago!]

Amusingly, Biggs and Wedge show up as ancillary characters in a lot of the 'Final Fantasy' games. I know they were in FF7, FFX & FFXII
Nov. 18th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oho, you're more observant than I am! Or not; I just haven't hooked into Star Wars lore as deeply, despite having an entire Death Star's worth of original SW figures and toys from the late 70s and early 80s are probably worth something -- less, since I played with them often.

I noticed that poor Wedge got (a) a name, which is an honor for an NPC, and (b) was in all three films. Also, my first introduction to questions of canon was an illustrated version of Star Wars which included Biggs' cut scene and a still shot of him talking to Luke on Tatooine, all very interesting for an 8-year-old!

Yep, Biggs and Wedge are ubiquitous FF characters. I've also noted them at the start of FF6 with Terra, in VIII they're the recurring Galbadia soldiers who get minor boss battles with the party, and I'm quite sure they're in IX somewhere (possibly Knights of Pluto?)

*looks it up* Well, I'll be. They're NOT in IX. How odd!

As I suspected, their first appearance is VI; I've just finished V and didn't notice them anywhere.
Nov. 19th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
Great icon!

I never got any of the toys [sighing BIG time now] - except for a ultra-cheap jawa that someone thru on my dashboard and tho then rattled around there for the next 5 years. If I'd known -then- = everything, new and in-box! I -did- get the press kit Lucas sent out to newspapers because I was [frosh year, on the jr college paper] - and the editor it was sent to thought it looked like trash and fobbed it to me. [He couldn't wait for 'Close Encounters'.]

One of my few 'brushes with' episodes was at Eastercon, with the elevators being pranked - and being stuck in one for about 10 minutes with Mark Hammil - a month before 'Star Wars' came out. He told me about this cool movie - and that there was a 2 minutes film clip that night in the main ballroom - and I told him about Dungeons & Dragons. The clip was great, thus my asking for the press kit - and I bought the novel Lucas wrote ['Star Wars' - back when Jabba was human & Biggs was in a lot more scenes].

... huh, maybe Wedge's dad was mentioned in the book?

Sorry for the rambling, just finished doing 27 hours straight of 'Skyrim', then out for dinner and 2 hours of catch up with the internet. I may well be babbling.
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