Help with re-write suggestions?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by JediGaladriel, Dec 28, 2001.

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  1. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    I'm doing another revision of "Father's Heart," and one of the things that has flopped in the past revisions has been a series of dreams that Leia has, which I intended to be a kind of telepathic experience once-removed, in which she enters Vader's mind without his knowledge, in two symbolic environments (one, the one shown below; the other involves a deep chasm bridged by a crystal web). In these environments, Anakin appears to her behind a different mask... the mask of Amidala, who Leia remembers, except with Anakin's eyes looking out at her.

    To the best of my knowledge, no one has automatically read these sequences and said, "Ah, I see, that's Anakin hiding behind Amidala on a weird symbolic dream plane." But I get a whole lot of, "That's neat, but what is it?" That tells me that there's something wrong with the text. So, what's below is the prelude to the dream, and the first dream sequence. Leia had met Vader as a very small child and been afraid, and the evening we catch up with her again, she is twelve and has dared herself to talk to him. After storming out of negotiations, her foster father has lectured her, but Vader has engaged her in a conversation, starting out with racing (she races speeder bikes) and going on to politics. Vader tells himself that he wants to win her over to the Empire. He is also interested in any memories she may have of Amidala, since he knows she had hidden on Alderaan last.

    Anyway, is there any good way to establish what's happening here without stating it outright.

    ---------------
    "You can gain respect in a negotiation by not backing down," Vader said, feeding what he knew well was her belief.

    "That's what I've been saying! But it didn't seem to work well today. And I am sorry for interrupting the negotiations. I was out of place."

    "You have no need to apologize, Your Highness. The reason it didn't work today, as you put it, is that you were in a position in which you had no options. In a stronger position, a well-controlled display of defiance might have been quite effective. It was a girl not much older than you are who began to dismantle the Republic with just such a show of defiance in the Senate."

    "I know that story."

    "I thought you might." Vader decided to press the issue. "Do you know who that girl was? I believe she might have been here for some time when you were young."

    Instantly, the girl's guard went up. He could feel the howling wind of it coming out from her mind. HER presence was obviously something the girl did not want to discuss, or had been forbidden to discuss, although Vader failed to see Organa's reasoning for the latter. "I see I've made you uncomfortable, Your Highness. I should apologize now," he said. "I'm sure it was simply too far back in your memory to be of note."

    The wind subsided, and Leia smiled. "It no longer matters," she said. "It was another lifetime."

    For a brief moment, Vader was angry, then he realized that she meant only to share a jest with him. She had no reason to believe his question was of great import to either of them. He wished he could laugh briefly, to reassure her that he knew it was a jest, but he had long ago lost that ability.

    He suspected it wasn't necessary. For the moment at least, she'd granted him some kind of provisional trust. That would be enough to start on.

    He waited for the voice in his mind to protest, but it was, for once, silent.

    +++++++++++++++

    Leia dreamed of her mother that night.

    Not her adoptive mother. Saché Organa was certainly beloved to her, and no one outside of Leia's mind would be allowed to refer to her as anything other than her real mother. But inside Leia's mind was another woman, the sad-eyed woman who never left her. In the privacy of almost unremembered dreams, Leia always called her "Mother."

    They were in a world of shifting rocks and sudden drop-offs, with fires burning all around them. The woman's face was painted like a porcelain doll's. There was something else about her, something strange that Leia couldn'
  2. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
  3. PeterTutham27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2001
    star 4
    Well it IS really cool! But without your explanation below, I would have never connected it to Vader. You should say something about Vader earlier, and how he used to have bright blue eyes, or maybe when (in the dream) they talk about 'those who wear masks', Vader's ominous breathing could be heard.

    But I can't think of anything else right now, but that is SOOO cool...
  4. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Actually, the breath could work nicely, and be worked into the milieu without any difficulty (it's in other dreamscape).

    Thanks, Peter. (And I'm glad you liked it. No handy link to the whole series right now -- I'm in the middle of relocating my site -- but if you want to read it in context, the first story Behind the Mask, is easy enough to link to, and I think the links at the ends of the stories to the next ones are working.)
  5. HL&S Magistrate Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2001
    star 6
    This is my first post in the fan fiction forums. But with that kind of writing I think I should visit here more often.

    The breathing idea would work. Perhaps Vader should cast a dark shadow over her to add to the idea of her being uncomfortable. Sorry if it sounds a bit corny.


    I should actually read your entire story before making suggestions.
  6. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Wow, welcome to fanfic, Hook. Hope you enjoy it!

    The shadow...

    Maybe. Because of the TPM teaser poster, Vader's shadow has taken on some symbolic weight, so it could work.

    The problem I have with this sequence is that the story is in pretty tight point-of-view -- Leia and Vader, with a couple of forays into an original character, Jaet Bishapi, when a plot event happens that neither Leia nor Vader is there to observe. Vader doesn't realize that anything is happening, and Leia doesn't know what the symbols are. And if they figure it out, all the sudden, I get thrown into an alternate universe where they know in ANH who they are to each other. (And Vee already started writing that one... :) ). So I have to get it across to the reader without either POV character having a clue.
  7. princess-sari Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2000
    star 4
    Hmmm, well, I read the explanation for the dream before I read the sequence itself, so I'm not sure how objective my opinion is, but to me blue eyes immediately bring to mind either Anakin or Luke, and in this case, definitely Anakin. But maybe you could add in something about another change in the face, like a shadow or darkness crossing it before it fades away, like:

    The woman's makeup faded away first, revealing her ageless, beautiful face. Then, a darkness seemed to overshadow it and in the instant before she faded away entirely, Leia thought she saw another shape, a true shape beneath, but it was gone before she could recognize it.

    That's just an off-the-top-of-my-head suggestion, but it's the best I could think of. :)
  8. BelleBayard TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2000
    star 4
    It especially means more now that Episode II reveals a more adult Anakin Skywalker before he lived beneath Vader's mask. Perhaps with the information more readers will understand what you were trying to say. The others' suggestions of hearing Vader's breathing or glimpsing a shadow in his shape might further define just who she made contact with, though only one may be sufficient. It might work if you go into more depth at the point where Amidala begins transforming (her face loses it's masklike appearance and makes the remarks about masks). Perhaps if you emphasize something about a certain pause between words, hinting at labored breathing or actually hearing beneath the words the sounds of mechanical breathing. I don't know. You may have to play with it a bit and let us see what you come up with. After all this board is a for trying stuff out before it becomes final. :)
  9. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Here's a try, with the breath and the shadow added in (as well as a posture). Does this make it clearer?

    ---------
    Leia dreamed of her mother that night.

    Not her adoptive mother. Saché Organa was certainly beloved to her, and no one outside of Leia's mind would be allowed to refer to her as anything other than her real mother. But inside Leia's mind was another woman, the sad-eyed woman who never left her. In the privacy of almost unremembered dreams, Leia always called her "Mother."

    They were together in a world of shifting rocks and sudden drop-offs, with fires burning all around them. The woman waited at the top of cliff, her hands clasped behind her back, looking out across the desolation. Leia climbed up to her. Her feet made no sound on the hard rock, nor did the stones she dislodged -- the only sound in this place was the quiet whisper of the wind, an unceasing, even hiss-shush that seemed to come from everywhere.

    Leia reached the top, and stood beside her truemother, not knowing what to say in such a place, or if she would have a voice at all. The woman turned.

    Her face was painted like a doll's. There was something else about her, something strange that Leia couldn't place. "We all have to wear masks sometimes," she said at last, and to Leia's relief, the sound was clear and gentle. "There are faces we can't let them see."

    "Let who see?"

    "That's the riddle, isn't it? Who is the only person who can never see behind a mask?"

    Leia thought about it, and the answer came to her with no fanfare; it was obvious. "The person who can't see behind a mask is the person wearing it," she said.

    "That's right, little one." Her voice became firm, almost dangerous. "And that means, no matter what you may see behind a mask, you must never assume that the person wearing it will see the same. Be mindful. Take nothing for granted." She smiled, and ran a hand over Leia's cheek. "But don't stop looking, my love. Don't ever stop looking."

    The woman's makeup faded away first, revealing her ageless, beautiful face. In the instant before she faded away entirely, a deep shadow passed over her face, and Leia thought she saw another shape, a true shape beneath, but it was gone before she could recognize it.

    Then the vision disappeared, and Leia was left on the burning plain. She wandered it until she awoke.

    It was only on the edge of waking, in the no-man's land of dawn, that she realized what had been strange about her mother: in her secret memories, and in all her other dreams, the woman had soft brown eyes, much like Leia's own. In this dream, her eyes had blazed out from behind the makeup -- and they were a bright, piercing blue.
  10. HL&S Magistrate Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2001
    star 6
    Oh I like that bit about Leia beleiving she'd seen a true shape. Very nice. Good job.
  11. PeterTutham27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2001
    star 4
    Yeah- I like this one better, especially the eye recognition at the end! I really liked it and it kicked even more than the original...

    (and that's saying something!)

    Good Job!
  12. BelleBayard TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2000
    star 4
    Indeed, excellent addition of the hiss-shush and the true shape of the shadow. Both added to the last and made it much more powerful. Well done. Should clear things up without making the reader feel you're leading them in strings. :) ;)
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