Ironically, this post comes after I spent a good two hours this afternoon drafting a blog post about the role and significance of reader feedback in the development of epic fanfiction. I promise you, that was a total coincidence, Genius Style.
I've received a number of recent reviews (both on and off LJ) that express displeasure over the employment of quoted lines from the Star Wars canon in our fanfiction projects and/or over how the events in our projects (especially One Path
) remain closely tied and very similar to the events of the canon saga even though we made several changes along the way. These reviewers feel like the changes we made early on should have resulted in more drastic differences between One Path
and the canon saga.
I always try to address feedback and criticism of the stories because I value the time of the readers who choose to leave comments and I appreciate their input. Sometimes I just reply directly to the reviewer, but there have been enough similar comments in the past week or so that I decided it would be good to address it more broadly and leave a link in the notes.
I understand some of this reaction. Some readers just love an AU where everything changes. I'm not one of them. That's not to say I dislike those kinds of stories. There is definitely a place for AUs in which canon events are drastically altered. The One Path Sequel, The Kenobi Way
will have very little in common with the SW EU, for example. I know of writers who have re-written the canon in much more drastic ways than I did, and their stories have as much to offer the fandom as One Path
or Land and Sky
The simplest answer to the question of why our stories remained so close to canon is: that's what we wanted to write. Aruna and I were interested in seeing how a story could be written that mirrored canon and yet provided satisfying, healthy relationships for as many of the characters as possible. I state several times in my author's notes that my goal was to keep the story as canon-tight as I could.
Regarding the use of canon dialogue: it's very often present in the PT era so that readers can see small changes starting to creep in. When it's not used for that reason, it's used for a "mirror" effect throughout the OT era. You'll see the younger generation repeating benchmark lines/almost reliving lynchpin events. This was a stylistic choice on my part, which I made because I wanted to display a symmetry that ran not only through PT/OT in One Path but through One Path/Canon. They're like multiple facets of the same jewel to me and I see Star Wars as being a place where possible futures and infinite pasts all exist in tandem. Star Wars exists in my head as a matrix of metaphor and possibility, and One Path was strongly influenced by the visual repetition of imagery between installments of the film saga. ( Watch This Vid if you want to see some examples of what I mean
)I'm a Dune
fan, that's all I can say. My Star Wars fic breathes Arrakis. My name should have been Atreides.
Regarding "Why are they still making the same dumb mistakes?" kinds of questions: I get it. You want them to be smarter. You want them to have learned from their mistakes. You want them to make better choices. So do I. The GFFA just happens to be a place replete with idiots who make the same dumb choices generation after generation. Reminds me of the real world like that. I do
like it when the characters make smarter, better choices because they remember what's happened in the past. One Path
and to a lesser extent, Land and Sky
, just happen to be stories that were written to reflect canon in terms of their external events rather than to depart from it. To argue that it's unrealistic for events to be so similar when the characters have so much more knowledge and training (and more Jedi) is rather like saying it's unrealistic for Palpatine to have been able to fool the whole GFFA into letting him seize power and rule the galaxy. If that the elder generation was still that easily manipulated in the PT, then I don't find it unreasonable to think that the younger, less experienced generation would be even easier to flummox. Ani, and Luke may have had Jedi training in theory, but neither of them had any real
experience until they left Tatooine. Leia is the only one who had anything approaching practical experience in dealing with the Empire, and she focused far more on politics than on combat. On the one hand...eh. Maybe you're right and it is unrealistic if you stop and think about it. But then doesn't that make all of Star Wars unrealistic too? On the other hand, people are idiots in the real world, so why couldn't the people in the GFFA conceivably be as fallible and messed up and dense as we are?
My life is an exercise in getting hit over the head with the same lesson multiple times, screwing up the same thing repeatedly and then still, somehow, never quite managing to know better--even though I know better.
So, that's where my head was when I came up with the plots of these AUs. Those are the best answers I can give. Whether you agree with all our plot choices or not, I hope the stories have spoken to you in some way.