Characters Palpatine characterization thread: UP FOR ADOPTION!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by LLL, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. Kyana-Morgaine Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 2
    Ahm,...okay. Honestly I'm not able to make or look him that foolish to be have a funny story.[face_blush]
  2. brodiew Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2005
    star 5
    Kyana,

    I have only written one fic that puts Palpatine in a humorous light. It was for the Dare challenge in 2006. My fic was called Star Wars: The Musical.

    The Dare asked, among other things, that all characters wear sequins and the characters sing Disney or Sound of Music songs. The fic is three parts, but only part one features Palps. The song words are not mine, but the interludes are.

    If you are interested, check it out.
  3. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    I guess challenge parameters would definitely help in getting ideas for a Palpy humor fic. Some folks get ideas that are so way out there I don't know where they came from.

    But that's a good thing.
  4. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    I'm afraid my only contribution to Palpatine humor so far has been pretty much slapstick -- he jounced Padmé when she was a small child and overly full of sugar.

    However, it strikes me that there might be a certain intrinsic amusement value in finding him an excuse to ride this fearsome Sith Warbird as a mount.
  5. brodiew Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2005
    star 5
    How about a Palpy humor challenge?

    Let's make Palpatine look stupid!
  6. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    There's an idea!

    *checks on the rules to post challenges*

    Any particular rules you would want to see?
  7. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    (Do please continue to discuss a Palpy humor challenge if you want. I can't contribute much as I can't really write humor.)

    Has anyone read this Palpy comic?

    "Sithisis"
    Story & Art: Derek Thompson

    SUMMARY
    Darth Sidious communes with the Dark Side and causes ripples in the Force that can be felt by Jedi across the galaxy.

    THE STORY
    There is not one word in this story, yet it tells a lot. In a small number of pages, Thompson has Sidious studying a Sith Holocron, then eating some kind of worm, only to be consumed by a giant worm himself before reverting back to his more peaceful Chancellor Palpatine appearance. Everything in between is very creepy and scary. Sidious communicates with ancient Sith spirits, then lashes out Dark Side lightning causing storms over Coruscant. The lightning also apparently curses Padmé's unborn babies, as she displays a look of surprise and terror while holding her womb. Sidious also communicates his hate to Anakin, fighting the Clone Wars on some planet, probably helping him to unknowingly achieve victory. All this Force-manipulation causes major mental anguish to Jedi all over, especially the young children in the Temple. Even Yoda has a bad feeling about this from off-world. This has to be seen to be believed.

    THE ART
    Again, Thompson's art is very dark and creepy. Sidious looks especially evil in this one. He is good at depicting looks of terror and worry on his characters.



    I'm not going to comment yet.

    Edit: copy-pasted something like 10 times :oops:
  8. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
  9. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Has anybody on this thread sponsored a real challenge before? How do you do it? Any pointers on how to do a good one?
  10. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Not really done it, but I've participated in several and watched others. It depends on what you want to accomplish. I offered some advice to LordNyax or whoever it is doing the Hollywood Challenge, but I don't think he liked it.
  11. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I've run the JC Title Challenge.
  12. yodas_waiter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2006
    star 3
    That's taken from Star Wars: Visionaries, a collection of short stories which are ambigiously canon.

    Some parts of what I've seen of Sithisis do look really interesting, especially the part where Sidious has to go through a some sort of ritual to put on the "mask" of Palpatine. I have a really interesting plot bunny based upon that ritual thing and I hope to write it soon.
  13. Darling-Jar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Funny this thread topic should come up; the fic I'm currently writing features Palpatine as the central antagonist.

    I've always preferred stories that avoid "humanizing" Palpatine. But if they do go that route then that's fine, but I generally prefer if they go about it with a certain degree of... "carefulness" I guess would be the word. Namely by making his genuine "good qualities" come through with subtlety, and without overselling it. Leaving it more up to the reader to pick them out rather than have the narrative force feed it.

    Obviously in my story, Palpatine is written as pretty much the epitome of all evil. I always liked Ian McDiarmid's own take on the character best; as analogous to Satan or "Honest" Iago from Othello.

    Some people point out that such types of villains... those without "redeeming" qualities and are 100% bad to the bone... are "boring" or "one note". They might look to Vader as the more interesting of the two Sith Lords. I think that it all depends on how the writer goes about it.

    I'm not insinuating that the "redemptive villain" isn't without merit. Far from it. But I am going to defend the evil incarnate-type villains as not in any way being "less compelling". I think that when done well, such characters can be genuinely frightening. The scariest kinds of villains are often times the ones who had absolutely no excuse for turning out the way they did.

    Michael Myers (from Halloween) serves as a good example here. In the original Halloween it was heavily implied that Michael grew up in a very idyllic upper-middle class existence, with a normal family, thus making his heinous acts all the more mystifying. It implies that there was no grand, tragic reason or rationale. That some people are just inherently evil at their core from birth.

    Whether or not you agree that that assessment holds true in real life is beside the point; for storytelling purposes, the concept is undeniably chilling.

    Ironically in the recent re-make, Myers' childhood was reconceived to show him as having a very poverty stricken, almost "white trash" upbringing, and a dysfunctional home life, all of which played a large part in leading to his later homicidal urges. While I personally enjoyed the re-make on its own terms very much, there are many who would argue that this backstory removes the real power from what made the character so terrifying, and it's a hard point for me to argue against. Insofar as concept goes, the original take on the Michael Myers character was indeed far, far more disturbing.

    Which brings me back to Palpatine. Maybe I'm wrong, but often times I get the feeling that there's an inherent need within the fanfiction community (in general as a whole, but also particularly within Star Wars) to take characters like Palpatine and try to shoehorn in a sympathetic element, often times romantic in nature. I think that so long as it's well executed, that almost any concept can work... but it also confounds me that so many seem to fail to see the power that such an irredeemably dark character can have on an audience.

    It almost seems like Vader's now iconic character arc has left the impression amongst many fans that all villains must fit that specific mold, and that for my money is incredibly short-sighted. It goes a long way towards perpetuating the stereotype that the fanfiction scene is largely made up of "flowery mush" and "angsty emo" drivel.

    Again I'm not trying to dissuade other writers from going down that road with Palpatine or other similar villains. I think so long as you have a solid story concept and feel reasonably sure you can make it work in the prose, then have at it. But I'm also asking that those who write off the whole ?personification of evil? concept as one dimensional re-examine what made the Palpatine character truly work within the Star Wars films (aside from McDiarmid?s excellent performance).

    It was the fact that the audience was given no backstory, no motivation or reason as to the character?s abominable actions. That he simply craved power for the sake of
  14. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    It almost seems like Vader's now iconic character arc has left the impression amongst many fans that all villains must fit that specific mold, and that for my money is incredibly short-sighted. It goes a long way towards perpetuating the stereotype that the fanfiction scene is largely made up of "flowery mush" and "angsty emo" drivel.


    As one person who has gone down the other road with Palpy (and as one who's been sort of militant about her reasons in the past and is trying to stay away from that today), I didn't do my take on the character because I thought the way he's presented is "one-dimensional." Well, maybe in a manner of speaking, I do, but there's more to it than that.

    As a person who was raised in a family in which all of the elders actually were Palpatines, and who's suffered a lot as a result, one of the things I've done in life is an awful lot of careful observation, and an awful lot of careful reading. And what I've observed through all of this is:

    1.) Most folks, even those who believe in the "original Satan" concept of people who do evil things, understand that the world is in pretty bad shape right now and wish with all their hearts that things were better.

    2.) These same folks also note, and quite correctly, that many of the deeds that put the world in such bad shape are perpetrated by these folks they have an "original Satan" concept of.

    3.) These same folks have absolutely no understanding of the "evil ones" they condemn. They think they do, but they don't. Because they come from the belief system that the people are just evil, they believe there is nothing to understand, and anyway who cares?

    4.) These people then proceed to use this model to treat the "evil ones" badly and with punishment, and with no sense of humanity whatsoever.

    5.) Because they are proceeding with absolutely no understanding of the "evil person" whatsoever, they are not able to appreciate that their approach not only worsens the problem with the "evil people" they themselves are dealing with, but creates more of the problem in that it promotes more people coming up to become evil in the future.

    6.) These people, when you attempt to explain this to them, will argue most fiercely and not wish to take any of this in. Then they start over at #1, bemoaning the baseness of human nature and the sad fact that things on the planet just seem to get worse all the time. We then repeat #'s 1 through 6, over and over for thousands of years, wondering why things don't ever get any better.

    I don't deny the storytelling possibilities of the classic "Man vs. the Devil Personified" paradigm. However, I look around at the condition the world is in, and I see that, while this paradigm may be entertaining, we really do have some serious problems to solve, and that paradigm is perpetuating a lot of them. If we lived in a less screwed-up world, I too might enjoy writing in that paradigm much the way we enjoy scaring ourselves on Halloween. But there is much more serious work to be done, and having come out of the background I have, I think I can help people understand. So, in the words of Anakin Skywalker, that's what I'm gonna do.

    I think the SW universe has great, great untapped potential in this regard, but I don't think we're ever going to see it realized. Which is too bad, because the seriously troubled people of Planet Earth need all the insight and information they can get.

    So, I really can't bring myself to write in a way which doesn't illuminate problems and may even perpetuate them when I know how to use the same storyline to help people "get it." I think if I can come out of a family history of some of the worst child abuse and mental illness imaginable and find these things to be true, then there must really be something to them.
  15. Darling-Jar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    See the thing is... I was attempting to avoid "real life" parallels in my post, and even said as much. I was speaking strictly from a storytelling standpoint.

    Of course I don't deny the state that the world is in today (though for purposes of the particular behavior you?re describing in your post LLL, I think you might want to replace "the world" with "the United States, and to a much worse degree, certain middle eastern countries"); but I don't think the writings of a few fanfic authors will do much to change or worsen any of that either way.

    The kind of hateful ignorance you're describing is something that runs incredibly deep among many people on a cultural, almost primal level. It would take many years of reconditioning, the incredibly powerful words of one or several superhumanly charismatic political leaders, or an apocalyptic cataclysm of mass genocidal proportions to wipe out such attitudes (whichever comes first). Star Wars fanfiction, realistically, isn't going to make a dent in that wall of intolerance.

    Fanfic writing is the sort of thing that one normally takes part in purely to enjoy themselves, and to entertain other, mentally stable individuals; and if there are those out there who read such writings and use the story elements to validate their own personal prejudices... then those people have massive personal issues on an incomprehensible scale, and the author of the story should take absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for their already warped outlook on reality. More often than not, those kinds of people will continue to think the way they do regardless of what a few fanfic authors write.

    It's sort of like blaming J.D. Salinger for the violence perpetrated by Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley, because he wrote "The Catcher in the Rye".

    Though with all that said, I do extend my deepest sympathies for you?re childhood experiences, and if writing characters the way you do helps you to better deal with it, then by all means more power to you.
  16. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    A lot of people don't believe in putting real life parallels in fan fiction, or in some other types of fiction either, for that matter. I of course do (duh) for reasons already stated.

    I don't think that change of the order needed is ever going to come from the top down. The reason is that our society is constructed such that the most selfish people willing to take from other people and step on other people are often the only ones able to get to the top in the first place. Look at our political system ... you have to be super rich to run, and to get elected you have to have super rich friends. These people often appear to have values that look, to me ... well, questionable at best. Then these people with all the power transmit their values to those less powerful and we end up with a society that just isn't valuing the right things anymore. We say we do, but we don't. Not really. When enough ordinary people get a clue, we then choose better people to be in power and influence them to act according to better principles than greed and "me first." Look at racism. Where did the changes this country has gone through in that regard start? It wasn't some high-minded President or anybody with real power ... it was one ordinary citizen on a bus! That's why I put real life parallels in what I write. And I do believe it is entirely possible to include real life parallels and still tell a good story. Failure to do that is a weakness on the writer's part, not the sub-genre. (If you can call it that.)

    It doesn't, however, mean that you should or have to do that or that anyone else should or has to. I'm just saying that while there is a camp of people who don't want to read it, don't think it has any place in fan fic or even some other kinds of fiction or film, and may actually hate it, I don't think it should be shouted down entirely.

    Not that I worry about that. I'm just saying.

    Anyway I kind of derailed the thread. I'm sure that what you come up with will be very entertaining and look forward to taking a look at it ... if you want to provide a link. I am trying to do a Palpy index up on page one, but due to time constraints it is rather slow going.
  17. leia_naberrie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2002
    star 4
    I couldn't have said it any better myself. I appreciate Vader's characterization as the Redeemed Villian/Fallen Hero. I also appreciate Palpatine's characterization as the "Evil Incarnate". The fact is that real life attests to the nature vs nurture paradigm. There are people who had very cruel, horrible childhoods and grew up wanting to protect others from that kind of life. There were those who had such pasts, and grew up wanting to inflict the same on others. And vice versa - those with happy pasts/good role models became heroes, those with same became villians. I won't go as far as to say that some people were born evil; but I think it's proven that madness is genetic, and sometimes that strain coupled with some other external factors will breed an evil personality.

  18. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    I guess I have too much of a "fix-it" mentality to get much out of that kind of story. We all know there are bad people who will never change. I've met my share.

    What I find fascinating is the question: In the case of the evil person with the potential for change, what exactly influences them to do so and how do their minds work around that?

    I'm one of those people who is bored by the former and fascinated by the latter. Others are just the opposite, so I guess it's good we have both types of people writing.
  19. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Not having ever run a challenge before, I just want to keep this one simple. A Palpy humor fic, preferably short.

    The winner will be whoever can make me spew the most [face_coffee] on the computer screen.

    We have one entry already, which I will post on the Master Challenge thread forthwith.

    I know there are some very talented humor writers out there!

    Edit:

    After I put this up I had a [face_idea] moment.

    Any Palpy humor is acceptable, but you get a gold star if you write a more conventional fic that shows Palpatine with a sense of humor.
  20. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Calling all Palpatine fans:

    Due to other duties on the site, I really don't have time to devote to this thread anymore, and truth to be told, I was never that great at coming up with topics for it anyway.

    If someone would like to take it over and revive it, you are more than welcome. You'll probably have to start a sock for it, however. Please PM me if you are interested.
  21. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Well, I've put in my name to share in this insanity where necessary.
  22. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    So noted.;)

    I thought I'd leave this up a week so everyone has a chance to see and consider it.
  23. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Yup, mostly letting people know that no, they're not the weirdest person to apply for the job. :)
  24. hyperspace_police FanForce CR Arkansas US

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2005
    star 4
    I wouldn't want to run a whole characterization thread alone...but, wouldn't mind helping somebody else.

    I've written Palpy humor (and with a sick twisted sense of humor before) I figure the challenge is for something new...but, figured I'd put it here anyways. It's old and not complete...but Palpy was old...right?

    You can find my funny Palpatine here:

    Palpy's diary

    Hopefully you'll need a rag to clean your screen? (Come one...how often do you get to envision Palpatine making Dooku help him with Sunless tanning lotion?)
  25. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    That's two folks interested ...
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