Tweet of the Day: Dead In Two Places: The Eleanor Story
This has been a long week. I won’t go into specifics, I’m really not in the mood, but lets just say that another bullet got dodged, but it was close. Which reminds me about the last comic book series I read, The Star Wars comic book. Not the Star Wars comic book, but The Star Wars comic book based on George Lucas earlier script drafts for the movie of the same name.
It is a fascinating look at the source of many of the characters, concepts, plot points and influences that come together to make the eponymous franchise now going into its seventh official iteration and has spanned countless other media. You can see how the mind of a writer works, how ideas change over time:
- Everybody wielded lightsabers,
- There was no Republic, just an “Good” Empire that went Bad,
- R2 talked instead of beeped,
- Han Solo was a giant alien more reminiscent of Chewbacca,
- Darth Vader and Anakin were completely different people
- The Space Fortress hadn’t acquired the giant space laser that would turn into the Death Star
- A guy named Witsun dies instead of Kenobi
- And many other changes
Names get recycled, character concepts refined, locations reused or re-imagined. It really puts a lie to the idea that writers have a fully formed story in their heads and the only thing they have to do is transcribe it to the page. Instead what they have a a vague collection of ideas that can only take shape once they go through the writing process. Either through writing multiple drafts or relentlessly editing the one draft or outline do we get to a finished product. And even then knowing now what we know of Star Wars, we seen how even their creator sought to change decades after the initial release.
It also shows the old adage that first drafts are…well, to put it bluntly…shit. The writing is atrocious. The dialogue is stilted, the pacing stutters, and romance, well lets just say that it starts with the hero Aniikin punching the Princess in the jaw and leads to mutual and instantaneous declarations of love without any resolution whatsoever. Not that the writing of the actual movies was Oscar worthy, but certainly had some quotable moments and flowed better that molasses that passes for words in this comic book.
Which means if you feel like your first draft is absolutely worthless, it is not. There is always something to salvage from the attempt, maybe even a multi-billion dollar franchise.