Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Technical Tuesday: 8 Things Star Wars Can Teach Us About Writing. #nanowrimo #writetip

This post is by James Duncan and--as a writer who is also an avid Star Wars fan--I just had to share this awesomeness. Below I've listed James' 8 points and my musings.

Check out Writer's Digest for the full post! This is the post you're looking for...
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1. Even the Death Star Had a Weak Spot.

I loved James' take on this. As writers we struggle to find time between family, friends, kids, pets, day jobs, life in general in order to get the words on the page. And sometimes those words aren't what we hoped for. Matter-of-fact, it could be worse... We could have writer's block, or as James' calls it, the Death Star of writing. I love this because it's true. The Death Star had a weakness. And whatever problem we're facing with our writing there is always a hidden solution.

But sometimes you can’t see the solution no matter how hard you try, so remember…

2. You Can’t Always Be Your Own Hero

It's true. Do you think Luke blew up that space station by himself? Nope! He had Obi-Wan Kenobi telling him all about the Force. Han Solo was all ready, aim, fire on the enemy so that Luck could do what he had to do.

James recommends finding your own Obi-Wan. Someone who can offer support and push you to constantly be better. But also have a Han Solo, someone who isn't a writer and will be able to offer honest, constructive criticism.

3. Get In That Trash Compactor

This one I struggle with! It's easy to say and soo hard to do. Jump into your work-in-progress no matter the smell. Sometimes things aren't going as planned, or there are grammatical errors, or you can't quite phrase something the way you'd like...keep going! Writing means getting dirty. If you don't keep at it then you'll never type The End. So dive in.

4. It’s Not Wise To Upset a Wookie. They’ve Been Known To Pull People’s Arms Off.

Definitely good advice. Be careful when you base fictional characters on real people, especially if they're family or friends. They will most likely see themselves in the story, and if it's in a negative light you don't want to offend them or end up in a civil suit. Eep! James suggests combining personality traits into one character. Check out his post for more helpful tips, cos let's face it...we don't wanna lose an arm!

“I find your lack of writing ambition disturbing.”

5. I have a really bad feeling about this.

"Most major Star Wars character have uttered this quotable line, and it’s always true." Go with your gut. If you feel like something isn't working, then it probably isn't. This can be tough, especially if you think an entire chapter or story thread isn't working and you have to delete, delete, delete. But in the end it will make you and your story stronger. This may, however, require a great deal of Force. Just sayin. ;)

6. Welcome to Mos Eisley

Love this! James recommends finding your own Mos Eisley. A place outside of your comfort zone. Someplace with vivid people and lots of excitement. A great place to draw visual and dialogue resources just by people-watching...you know, stalker-mode. :P But you gotta check out his post to see his Mos Eisley suggestions!

7. The Force vs. Tricks & Nonsense

This is your freebie cos it's just awesome!

And I quote:

Ben Kenobi: Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him.

Luke Skywalker: You mean it controls your actions?

Kenobi: Partially, but it also obeys your commands.

[Luke gets shot by the remote.]

Han Solo: [laughs] Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

Skywalker: You don’t believe in the Force, do you?

Solo: Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. Anyway, it’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

In this scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, we see the philosophical dichotomy within this group of heroes. You have the idealistic and solemn believers, and you have the gritty, fun-loving, tricks-and-nonsense crowd. I think the same goes for writing. There are a lot of factions, but the only way to really make an impact, just like in the movie, is to combine those two sides into one.

Writing is a holy thing. It’s the ancient skill of conveying ideas, beliefs, mores, happenings, and entertainment from one person to another, or from one person to millions. It makes us feel godlike, and it’s vital to everything we’ve ever accomplished in human history. Excellence in literature should be respected, pursued with diligence and reverence, and held on a pedestal to be admired.

But just like life in Han Solo’s world, everything about writing is made up of simple tricks and nonsense. If you can’t maneuver the there/their/they’re game, forget it, you’ll be called out as a hack. You’ve got to know the nuts & bolts, the nitty gritty, the hands-on skills, and understand how to play the games to find yourself on the successful side of publishing. But you’ve got to have fun doing it too, and scoff at the rules from time to time. If you do the same thing as everyone else, just as you’re told, you’ll never find your own voice. You need to fly from one side of the galaxy to another with wild abandon, and you need to go through this writing life as if you have a bounty on your head—never stop working, never stop trying new genres, never stop reading, learning, writing.

And of course, you need some…

8. Luck

Sometimes we have to make our own luck. Take a chance. Put yourself out there. As a writer and a introvert, I'd much rather stay on the Millennium Falcon than try to save a planet...because what if I fail? But you'll never know until you give it a fighting chance.

And most importantly, don't forget...

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