Breaking Up with Star Wars

The new Star Wars movie is coming out next month, and the hype is intense. In the wake of all this excitement stands a very bitter George Lucas, who has announced that he is “done” with Star Wars. Many creative people wish they had the problem of selling their brainchild to Disney for billions of dollars, then no longer having any control over it or any rights to it. Seems like Lucas should just be happy with his money and stop whining.

I understand where he’s coming from, though. In this article, Lucas says that Star Wars is “actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems – it’s not about spaceships.” Others involved wanted to take the franchise in a direction opposite from Lucas’s vision, so he let them do that. From the standpoint of a creative person, it is awful to give up your magnum opus and watch it become something you never intended.

Yes, George Lucas has tons of haters who think that he destroyed the series by creating Episodes 1, 2, and 3, which were supposedly horrible. I was 10 years old when Episode 1 came out, and it was my first Star Wars movie. Once I had seen all the movies in the series, I ended up liking the prequels more than the originals (probably because I didn’t grow up with the originals). So I’m not one of the haters, but I do understand that once you put your work in the public eye and it becomes as insanely popular as Star Wars is, it becomes less yours and more the world’s. People become emotionally attached to it, and they project their own ideas onto it. Perhaps George Lucas did not take that into account when he made those remarks about someone else “doing their own thing” with his work. After a lifetime of creating and being immersed in your own universe, it must be easy to forget that it technically isn’t your own after you’ve given it away.

But the haters forget that if it wasn’t for Lucas, they wouldn’t have any Star Wars at all.

The Last Unicorn

It’s been a long time since I read a fantasy novel in which I could not find any flaws. Don’t get me wrong, I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but the rapes and beheadings on every other page are starting to turn my stomach. I liked David Drake’s Lord of the Isles, which I finished a few weeks ago, but I don’t think I liked it enough to read the rest of the series.

So I picked up Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn because I had seen the animated movie on Netflix and enjoyed it very much. The book is almost closer to a fairy tale than it is to a true fantasy novel, and it has no sequels. My copy was only 218 pages long, so it was a refreshing break from 500-plus-page tomes.

What I liked:

  • The author’s use of language: “The cage was filled with snake…  nothing but a wave of tarnished darkness rolling from one end of the cage to the other…”
  • Bits of humor throughout: “But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.”
  • No obligatory sex scenes/romances
  • No extreme blood/gore
  • Lots of random weirdness and anachronisms
  • It was a good story for both kids and adults
  • The characters were distinct, well written, and self aware (they knew they were in a fairy tale)
  • The movie followed the book very closely, probably because the same author wrote both the book and the screenplay

tl;dr: Highly recommended!

Obligatory Mid-Month Status Update

I’m up to 32,517 words for NaNoWriMo, which puts me slightly above par. I told myself that I was going to write more in my NaNoWriMo story since I took the week off from work, but I ended up doing just the usual 1,667 words per day for NaNo and doing something like 3,500 per day in STEPHEN, my other work in progress.

Why? Mostly because of the characters, but more likely because I have been working on STEPHEN since the beginning of August. It seems like it’s been dragging on forever because I was writing at the slow (for me) pace of 500 words every other day. When the characters wanted to keep going, I had to stop because my eyes were tired. But now I’m down to only nine scenes left, so it seems reasonable that I’ll finish before the end of the month.

I’ve also cut my Internet time down to about 15 minutes per day. This has allowed me to finish reading five books in the past four days, but it’s always more fulfilling to spend time with books and my characters instead of real-life people the Internet. :)

How are your writing endeavors going?