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AUs paralleling canon

crack the sky
Note to self: stop sleeping through dinner. If you must take a nap, do it after you've eaten. Generally, it's considered a good thing to eat more than one meal a day. And for that matter, you should go to bed before three if you've got a nine am class.

Random writing thought of the day:

Writing long fics is both harder and easier than I thought it would be. I only found out when writing Feet on the Ground how fun and fulfilling it could be to set up a situation and spend tens of thousands of words developing it. But FotG is really just an interlude; plot lines are set up, but none of them are actually resolved--that's for Burnt by the Sun, its sequel, to do.

I finished FotG in October, and started writing BbtS for NaNo. I did complete NaNo, but it was only through writing scenes out of order. I skipped around, writing what scenarios came into my head and fit what I've outlined for this fic. I've got chapter one complete, but that's the only full chapter so far; everything else is just bits and pieces.

But the difficulty with having written it like that is filling in the spaces between scenes, which includes a lot of stuff that is necessary but boring to write. BbtS is my AU version of the original trilogy, and there are certain necessary things that have to happen, especially in the beginning. Thing is, everyone knows about those necessary things, since they've watched the movie, and I don't want to spend a lot of time on things that don't diverge very sharply from canon. That's one of the things I dislike about most of the OT AUs I've read--they follow canon far too closely, only changing things here and there to fit around whatever makes the fic AU in the first place. Maybe Padme being alive and living with Leia (or whatever scenario you like) is interesting, but it becomes less so if it doesn't change events very much, imho. It just makes me wonder what the point was, if basically all you're doing is retelling the trilogy with this character added, but that character not really having any significant impact.

Which is not to say that AUs that closely parallel their canons are bad. They aren't. I just don't have much interest in them, because if I wanted that particular story, I would watch the movies. I want to read a story that hasn't already been told, with minor differences. Of course, that doesn't mean I haven't read and liked such stories, but they don't get me excited the way something really different and new does.

I don't mind if AUs have the same themes, of course. Yay for coming of age stories! Yay for love overcoming darkness! Yay for people facing inner darkness and triumphing! Etc. I don't even mind if the story has the same kind of ending that the OT does, with Vader redeeming himself and sacrificing himself to save Luke/his children. But to be a bit cliche, it's the journey that matters more than the destination. The destination does matter, of course, but its impact depends on the events that happened before it. If Vader hadn't previously done something as heinous as cutting off his own son's hand, then the ending in RotJ where Luke loves and believes in his father and Vader sacrifices his life to save Luke wouldn't have the impact that it does.

I originally had a point to this, didn't I? *thinks* Oh yeah. I keep losing interest in writing the next several chapter of Burnt by the Sun (with the exception of a major scene, which is one of those bits I already wrote) because they so closely parallel much of what happens in ANH that I feel like the story is already told, and I don't need to tell it. (I suppose that's somewhat spoilery, but most of my readers don't read my LJ, so eh.) I do, of course, because there are differences, minor ones that will become major later, and I need to write these scenes with those differences. But when writing chapter one and what I've got of chapter two so far, I've had to have a script of the movie open so that what needs to be said is said and what needs to be done is done. This set-up is necessary, as the main divergent point occurs after ANH is over, but I want to get to my stuff, not re-tell George Lucas's. I suppose after I finish this fic (however long it'll be until then--it's going to be a long-ass fic), I'll go back to those scenes and revise them and make sure it's not obvious that I wasn't interested; until then, I suppose I'll just have to power through and look forward to the main body of the AU.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
mlgm
Apr. 20th, 2006 11:21 am (UTC)
Perhaps when writing BBTS, you should concentrate on how your characters are feeling and less on the actual action. 'Cause let's face it, we all know the action, it's how your characters thoughts and feelings differ from the Luke, Leia, Vader, etc that we know that we're interested in.

And get something to eat, have a cookie. Everything, including writing, is easier with cookies.
rynne
Apr. 24th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
Well, I am focusing on the feelings; I've always been more about characters than plot (though I love plot). But they still have to have something to react to, so the action does have to happen. *sigh*
lotusflower85
Apr. 20th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC)
Love the title of Burnt by the Sun.

As for AU's - they're so tricky because really, there are no rules. You can go as far out as you please, or keep it so close to canon it's hardly an AU at all. I've often put parallels into my AU fics, I think sometimes it just feels right to have a *nudge* *wink* *nod* to the readers in a small moment that mirrors the OT or profic, or whatever.

But I do agree with you that sometimes AU's are done for the sake of AU's - that the characters act and react like their real universe counterparts would instead of someone with the differing history/experiences of the character in the AU situation. Although i'm reading a great fic on TFN that takes almost the exact plotline of the OT but because of the nature of the AU, the characters and events are somewhat different - an Obi-Wan line from ANH being delivered by Leia, for instance. It's very intriguing.

For me, characterisation is always so important in AU, and is really what I enjoy about well-written ones. Like in Feet on the Ground - I recognise the characters, but they are altered just enough for it to be believable and well-rounded.

Um. *looks at length of reply* Yeah. Shutting up now.
lyore
Apr. 20th, 2006 12:46 pm (UTC)
I agree - the important thing for me in AU (OK, most fic) is characterisation. But tthat doesn't mean they have to be identical to the OT characters I know, just that I have to be able to believe, given the different sequence of events, that the original characters could evolve into the ones in the fic.

Which is one reason why most of the Vader/Anakin survives RotJ/never goes evil fics just don't do it for me. Anakin becomes all charm and fluff and perfect husband/father-ly. Hello, this is the guy that, even on a romantic, frollicking-in-the-fields picnic with his soon-to-be-wife, trys to justify dictatorship as a valid form of government. He has ISSUES, people.

OK, now I'm completely off topic, but I needed to vent. Sorry 'bout that.

(But can I have a link, please?)
lotusflower85
Apr. 21st, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
I agree completely - unless you take away Anakin's entire slavery/fatherless/dying mother backstory, he's never going to be all sweetness and light. In this AU Anakin died in ROTS, though:

Path of your own Choosing


lyore
Apr. 21st, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
Thanks!
rynne
Apr. 24th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC)
I've often put parallels into my AU fics, I think sometimes it just feels right to have a *nudge* *wink* *nod* to the readers in a small moment that mirrors the OT or profic, or whatever.

I like that too--that's what the beginning of chapter five of FotG (the cantina scene) is. Parallels can be fun, in small doses, but if the entire story is one big parallel, I just get bored.

Although i'm reading a great fic on TFN that takes almost the exact plotline of the OT but because of the nature of the AU, the characters and events are somewhat different - an Obi-Wan line from ANH being delivered by Leia, for instance. It's very intriguing.

I'm reading that fic as well (I did mention that I've read and liked such stories), and I think it's all right. But I don't think it's riveting, since not only can I guess the end result, I can guess the paths to that result, and that's just...not very interesting to me. I've never minded spoilers and knowing what's going to happen in the end, because I could still look forward to seeing how we would get to that end. It's the whole "the journey is important" thing again, really. Minor changes, like Leia saying Obi-Wan's line or kissing Wes instead of Luke, don't affect the journey very much, and I get bored.

Like in Feet on the Ground - I recognise the characters, but they are altered just enough for it to be believable and well-rounded.

:D Thanks! I've thought about these characters and their situations and motivations probably far too much for my own good, so it's nice to know all the thought I've put in is paying off by making believable characters. :)
lyore
Apr. 20th, 2006 12:48 pm (UTC)
What I was going to say, before I got distracted, was that I quite like AU's that at least reference the events, as well as the characters of the AU. 'Cause much as I love the characters, I also loved the plot.

Of course, I can still see why it would be boring for an author.
rynne
Apr. 24th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
Well, I love the plot too. But if I wanted that particular plot with those particular events...I'd watch the movies again. I don't mind some parts of an AU paralleling canon, but if the entire thing does, then I already know basically what's going to happen, which I don't find as interesting as a big plot twist.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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rynne
real life dropout and online overachiever
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