Lit More like Plageuis

Discussion in 'Literature' started by FatSmel, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    When I say biography book, I don't mean that it follows the subject through each and every moment of his entire life, any more than a biopic film documents its subject's every day. It's not a nonfiction biography. But tell me, what is the narrative of Darth Plagueis? It's the story of . . . what? How he became a Sith Master (and via flashback and infodump, how he became a Sith Apprentice), found his apprentice, achieved a few significant events over the course of his life, and plotted for his ultimate seizure of power only to be overthrown by his apprentice? It's the story of Plagueis's life. It is biographic in ambition and scope. It's not a single, focused narrative about one set of events, about a battle or a war or a personal crisis or the foiling of a plot or anything else novels are normally about. It's a loose, sprawling chronicle of most of the highlights of Plagueis's life, the only unifying narrative being the arc of his entire life. That right there is biographic fiction.
  2. FatSmel Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 2012
    star 3
    We get enough of that in other SW novels. The political/corporate side of things is interesting and underdone, and while it could get boring if it was heavily involved in every story, it's refreshing once in a while.
  3. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Not really his time as apprentice though. The unifying narrative is his relationship with Palpatine, at the sunrise, noon, and sunset of his time as Dark Lord. In the beginning, he finds and becomes Palpatine's master after killing his own. In the middle, Palpatine becomes an equal partner to Plagueis. At the end, Palpatine surpassed Plagueis and kills him.
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    You're quite missing the point. It's not a book about one event or set of events. You've identified it as the story of an entire lifelong relationship, which I'd dispute, but even going with that . . . congratulations, you've just described "not a single, focused narrative about one set of events, about a battle or a war or a personal crisis or the foiling of a plot or anything else novels are normally about," but instead, "a loose, sprawling chronicle of most of the highlights of Plagueis's life, the only unifying narrative being the arc of his entire life." Which, being that he's a Sith Lord, is basically indistinguishable from the arc of his relationship with his Sith Apprentice.

    Look, perhaps I need to recapitulate the distinction I'm making here. Fiction can approach a subject with the intention to tell a more focused story about that person, or it can try to tell a big story about their entire life, or the significant portion of their life, a rise-and-fall or traditional biopic style of storytelling. I am contrasting the first, more general style of storytelling with the second, specifically biographical style of storytelling. For example, recent films that come to mind in the first category are Hitchcock, which wasn't the story of Alfred Hitchcock's entire life but merely of how he made Psycho, and Lincoln, which was not about everything Lincoln did in his life, just how he fought to get the Thirteenth Amendment passed. In the second category, think about something like Goodfellas, which gave a big narrative arc that encompassed Henry Hill's childhood, marriage, his rise and fall in the mob -- his entire life -- or Raging Bull, which covers decades and focuses not on a traditional narrative, but on a succession of scenes demonstrating the progress of Jake La Motta's life and elucidating his character and how it contributed to his rise and fall, professionally and in his relationships with his loved ones. These are clearly different styles of story, and it's the distinction between them that I'm talking about. Surely you can recognize the distinction at work here. It's facile to suggest that Goodfellas isn't "biographic" because it just has Henry Hill's first meeting with his wife and his marriage but not each and every date they had, or because his rise and fall gives his life narrative structure for a narrative work to follow, just as it's facile to suggest that Plagueis isn't "biographic" because it too can only focus on the most important moments of Plagueis's life and doesn't run endlessly in-between the primary time periods Luceno elaborates upon, or because his career as a Master and his relationship with his apprentice provides narrative form for the work of fiction.

    What I'm saying is that instead of trying to write a definitive Goodfellas for every character we'd like to know more about, which is incredibly challenging and limits the potential for future storytelling, authors focus on writing more Lincolns, which is easier and allows them to say an awful lot about their subject while still producing a tighter, generally more compelling narrative that can elaborate on the full potential of each event and situation more while also leaving more storytelling hooks open for future development.
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  5. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    For me, both of those are aiming in the same direction. Honestly, if I was an author and somebody told me my book had a semi-flowing story, I'd start to ask myself questions.
  6. FatSmel Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 2012
    star 3
    I still maintain it was far better than virtually every other piece of fiction under the 'Star Wars' name that has been released in recent times

    I don't disagree with you.
    For example, if they were to comission a Dooku novel that focussed on one particular event that would be great.
    The difference is I wouldn't mind if they made it similar to Plagueis, pinpointing several parts of his life over a larger time-frame.
    Last edited by FatSmel, Mar 21, 2013
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  7. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I agree that this type of epic story shouldn't be overdone.

    I'm saying that there's still plenty we don't know about Plagueis, plenty more material that could be written about his life. Even another epic, decades-spanning book, that just focused on a different aspect of him, like his research and experiments for example. Many of the most important events in Plagueis's life weren't even in the novel, that I expected to be in the novel. This novel focused on the master/apprentice relationship aspect the most.

    And that, to me, the novel felt like three "Lincoln's." Three definitive moments in his life.