Monday, 7 November 2011

Where No Fan Has Gone Before...

Time heals all wounds, they say, though I have always wondered how long it might take to heal amputation.  What it doesn't do is make awkward, ugly writing look any better.  I have actually found that given sufficient time, a piece I thought overwrought or found I had to laboriously hack my way through reads as much more pleasant, but a lot of early, unpolished work stands out starkly when you've learned a thing or two and look on it with wiser, more critical eyes.

I wanted to share some of my old Star Wars fan fiction, to show how the medium can be a worthwhile exercise for aspiring authors as well as plain fun.  Unfortunately while looking over the manuscript for an appropriate passage, I have come to realise one thing: it's rough.  Real rough.  Not atrocious and not quite falling into the most egregious traps of fan fiction, though I do flirt with a Mary Sue Author Avatar.  It is not what I would call terrible, and as I believe I said earlier, it is what I have been told is genuinely 'good literature'.  I believed it at the time, and what 14 year old wouldn't consider themselves capable of such a feat in the guise of their own fantasy retelling of the Star Wars Saga?  It was quite the confidence booster,  and it can be hard not to feel deflated looking back and finding dialogue that clunks and cluttered prose that makes me cringe.  Well, at least the dialogue fits with the Star Wars universe, where one might wish they could wish away their feelings of burning hatred for sand.

Being harsh won't do myself much good, though, and in one way looking back at this is also quite uplifting - at least I know enough about the craft to spot the errors and iron out the terrible muddle of words that comes from having written, read and learned so much in the intervening decade-and-a-bit since I penned this tome.  And it really is a tome - 55,000 words gushed out in after-school writing sessions over a couple of months seemed quite a lot at the time.  Then I read some Stephen King and felt terribly inadequate.

Anyway, I had initially planned to simply share an excerpt from my critically-acclaimed work (if you assume everyone who posts on a Star Wars forum thinks themselves a critic).  Instead, I believe it would be more valuable to find a suitable excerpt, shine it up real nice, then post both and explain why the learning I have gone through led me to make certain changes.  Think of it as a working demonstration of editing in practice.

Now, as always, here is your moment of zen:

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