Characters You Can Take the Farmboy Off The Farm... (Luke Skywalker Characterization)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by EmilieDarklighter, Jan 12, 2005.

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  1. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    ...but you can't take the farm out of the Farmboy.

    Welcome to the Luke Skywalker characterization discussion!

    For all his seeming simplicity, Luke Skywalker is a character of many hidden complexities that often make him hard to write. For those of you who have trouble writing Luke, or just *enjoy* writing Luke, this is your place.

    First topic question:

    What aspect of Luke's personality is the most difficult to write?

    For me, it would be the Jedi Master. I can't shake all those adventures from ANH and ESB to make Luke into a sensible Jedi. It's hard to write Luke as the Jedi Master because it seems like it's not him at all, to me, and I get frustrated with myself. What about you guys?
  2. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Personally, I'm writing a story called In the Shadow of the Fallen One which is the story of the 3 years between ANH and ESB. Because it will be a comprehensive 3-year account, I am very intensely worried about my characterization of Luke in various stages. I'm right now writing him as a pilot who has one battle under his belt, but is facing his first battle with a new squadron, as well as the expectation that comes with him being a force-sensitive but not a Jedi. I want to make him vulnerable in a lot of ways, but not so he seems uncharacteristically weak. And I don't want to make him "Oh, I had one lesson with obi-wan and now I can defeat darth vader!"
  3. padawan lunetta Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 1999
    star 6
    You know I have hard time with my dear sweet Lukie in general...basically because I'm so scared of getting my favorite character wrong...and I can't really write Mara, which is bad, because I do best with the Jedi Master, father Lukie. (Hey, Em, we'd do well to combine our talents! Since I can't write him BEFORE that ;)).

    I think part of what is so hard about writing him as a Master though is that the NJO made him out to be a lot more wimpy than he actually is, so I kind of refer to the books that took place before that.
  4. Hananiah Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 15, 2003
    star 4
    I like Luke (prefer Leia though) and Vader stories but I like reading Luke when he's relaxed and with his friends, when he's the happy, sparkly farmboy we all love. Angst has it's uses but when Skywalker's angst they are olympic medal winners.

    I always have trouble writing Luke from ANH-ESB and writing Leia, it's really hard to write about Luke's crush on Leia without boarding on the whole incest issue. I always wonder what the rules were. Apart from Luke's crush I like writing Luke and Leia mainly because I think their relationship is sweet, he seems thr first person to want to take an interest in the princess fully. He tries to understand her and doesn't judge I think that's a very admiral asset to young skywalker.

    To me he represents the old way of looking at things, those around him are much harder and jaded he has a childlike look to the universe in the first movie and until esb and It was certainly something I enjoyed about the first movie and his character.
    Sorry, I rambled.
  5. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    That is an interesting question. I guess I have cycles when writing Luke. Right now, I am having a phase where I see him as the relaxed Jedi Master who has left behind the angst of his youth and is now settling into a comfortable phase in his life.

    I agree that Skywalkers are gold medal angst'ers (not a word, I know). I think in some ways, Leia is more intense than Luke. I've always felt she was more like her father than Luke. Luke is very serious about some topics, but I think he is more able to sit back and relax.

    To me, Luke is a very nice combination of his parents' best attributes.
  6. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I think I did best writing Luke when I had him as a servant of the Emperor. That's pretty pathetic. :)
  7. MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2001
    star 5
    I enjoy writing Luke. I guess I always think of him as a man that's incredibly talented and powerful but who doesn't quite know that deep down. He's always going to be a little uncomfortable with the way others view him. When he has free time he might have worries but when he's needed he's able to put that aside in a pinch. But it really depends on the timeframe that he's being written in. ANH Luke is very different from NJO Luke. *wants to forget NJO Luke ever happened* ;)
  8. vader_incarnate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ish, I so totally sympathize. [:D] I've never been able to write anything even vaguely serious about Luke without the story being hijacked by Sithly plot bunnies within the first few paragraphs. o_O

    In general, though, I usually have a hard time characterizing Luke without oversimplifying. The 'farmboy' Luke and the 'Master Skywalker' Luke, whever I try to write them, always lead to some really painful cliches that I just scrap. :p
  9. DerthNader Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2001
    star 5
    This is one of those reasons why I haven't been able to get that old fanfic written. Luke, though I lovest ya dearly...you do have the ability to confoundeth me enough to make the writing process last almost twenty years. :p

    I've had the worst time trying to balance the human with the Jedi when it comes to how I want him to turn out as a character. You get FAR too much of the ascetic mystical type in most of the EU...and in a fair amount of the fanfic, unfortunately. It shouldn't be so hard to make him come across as human just as much as a Jedi. But it seems like writing the mystical is sometimes easier than writing the mundane.
  10. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    The 'mundane' is my favorite part of Luke. It's really hard to strike a balance, especially as he starts aging, between younger and older. You have to keep reminding yourself that he thinks and feels; he's not just some Jedi robot spouting maxims. I sometimes believe that in the EU, the Jedi calm became his escape from pain. He simply shut his emotions off, let himself stop feeling. But he IS human, and has the capability to get irritated, or sad, or even angry.
  11. Knight_Aragorn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2003
    star 4
    I agree with what you're saying, Emilie. I think this is especially true after he turned/came close to turning in the Dark Empire series. He'd have to have been going through some pretty heavy stuff in recovering from that ordeal, and I really think that the Jedi "there is no passion" thing became something of a defence-mechanism for him. I know a lot of people ignore that whole thing happening, but I think it's really interesting to delve down into how it changed him... Maybe it's just me. ;)

    I seem to have problems writing Luke from a "normal" perspective -- if there is such a thing. :p I like to portray those sides of him that we don't see very much... usually involving angst of some form or another. ;) He's a tricky character to write, because he changes so much even if you're just looking between ANH and RotJ. And he projects that "nice guy" image... It can be tricky to get down beneath that and see how he really ticks.

    *deep breath* I could go on, but I think I've rambled enough as it is. ;)
  12. Matthew_Wolverine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2002
    star 4
    I enjoy writing Luke. I think I like the wise Jedi Master yet still a farmboy at heart aspect of him the most. It reminds me of Superman(one of my favorite non-Star Wars characters).
  13. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I wish I could do more of a normal Luke, since the last time I wrote him as more human was in Always a Bridesmaid, where he was farcically vulnerable to things like alcohol and moping.
  14. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    I've never written Luke for fear of writing him wrong.

    Now a question, I just saw the newest picture from Hyperspace - an old one of Luke and Leia kissing on Hoth (and it wasn't in the infirmary either). How would farmboy Luke react once he realized that he kissed his sister and not in a sister/brother way, either?
  15. ThePariah Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2003
    star 4
    *delurks*

    Um, squick? :p


    I honestly have no clue why Luke is the easiest character for me to write. I'm certainly not like him personality-wise. Of all the characters, even the female ones, he's the easiest brain-space for me to inhabit, and fleshing him out seems like common sense. I guess it's that Everyman formula thing going to work.

    Gee, that came out clear, didn't it? :rolleyes: :p
  16. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Perfectly clear to me, but I'm used to you, so maybe it doesn't make any sense at all. :) What would Luke do when he sediocuenta about the kiss? I'd say he'd blush a lot, try to be teasing, but not really succeed, and finally go "It was an honest mistake."
  17. kristeh Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2003
    star 3
    Hi, everyone,

    I'm Kristeh, and I'm Luke's personal angst trainer. :p He has Obi-Wan and Yoda to help him learn the ways of the Force, but for those heartstring-tugging scenes that require azure orbs to fill with pain, or that fragile, yet masculine chin to wobble--that's where I come in. I think I deserve at least a little credit for those angsting gold medals. ;)

    Seriously, I do have to confess for a liking for emotional, angsty fics. I really couldn't even tell you why.

    Luke is my all-time favorite character. From the time I became a SW fan, he was the one I could identify with and feel a connection with. He's just so likeable, so genuinely caring and compassionate. I don't know how anyone could not like him.

    As far as writing him, I think I would find it hard to write him during the NJO time period, or at later time period. So far I've written a post-ROTJ series where I'm figuring Luke is about 22. Now, I don't claim to write him well, but he is easy for me to write and the character I enjoy writing the most.

    For me, this an interesting time because he's having to deal with a lot of emotional baggage from the past few years, plus he's struggling with questions about how to rebuild the Jedi Order when he still feels woefully unprepared for that burden. In other words, lots of fun angsty scenes.

    I've gone in a different direction with my current WIP in which I'm writing Luke as a child. It's very different because it's a completely different universe from canon, and I'm not always sure if I'm portraying him accurately, but it's fun to think about what little Luke might be like in these situations.

    Well, I'm ending abruptly, but I think I ran out of things to say, at least momentarily. ;)

    Kristeh
  18. LianaMara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2000
    star 4
    *enters and huggles Emmi*

    Hmmm . . . I find two Lukes difficult to write: serving evil yet not truly corrupt Luke, and almightly Jedi Master Luke. [face_devil] The first because it seems like a paradox, and the second because Jedi Master Luke can be an annoying know-it-all and do-it-all.

    I love Jedi Luke with just a hint of farmboy thrown in the mixture, but it's hard to hit just the right point with that one before overdoing it. ;)

  19. vader_incarnate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2002
    star 4
    *laughs* I like the serving evil yet not totally corrupt Luke. :p [face_blush] If nothing else, it's challenging to make that a not paradox, enough that the readers will believe you and follow along with the story. And angst is generally so much fun. O:)
  20. angel_gidget Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2004
    star 1
    I haven't really tested my mettle when it comes to writing Luke yet. But when it comes to reading, I tend to like his ESB-ROTJ persona. He hasn't gone all "Jedi Master" yet, but he's not a little kid anymore either. I like stories where people think of him as he was in ANH, but then he surprises them with his newfound power and maturity. But he's not fully knighted yet, and still has plenty of vulnerable points.
  21. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    *Delurks*

    I have a huge problem writing Luke. I always, always seem to slip him into 'avatar of the Force, god with a lightsaber'. I can never seem to capture him as a normal human.

    Even when he's with the OC daughter I wrote with him, he's still...odd. Like he's not fully there, you know?
  22. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    I can definetly understand. I've been there a lot. Still haven't mastered it, Force knows, but it's easier to just dissociate him with the name for a bit. Sometimes that helps, just because the name "Luke Skywalker" is so much of a...reminder, a title.
  23. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Yeah, Emmie.

    You hear Luke and what's the first thing that comes to mind? Taking out Jabba's sail barge? Lighting up Death Star I? Facing down Palpatine and redeeming his father?

    I haven't even gotten to the EU, for Luke's sake!


    EDIT:
    Hey, there's a new exclamation for us!
  24. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    LOL, yeah. A lot of the times it's easier to slip into the omiscient Jedi perspective. But one thing that helps is not to think of things on galactic terms, but on personal terms. When people think about the second Death Star, they think about the climactic battle between father and son, the death of Palpatine...but do they ever stop to remember that a young man lost his father that night? With Luke, you have to think of things on a smaller scale.
  25. Knight-Ander Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2002
    star 4
    I haven't written Luke in quite a while, so I'm not really sure what would be the toughest part of his personality to write. I feel that I can identify with him --his awe and wonder and looking beyond the horizon for "adventure and excitement" but not finding it.

    I haven't really written him post-ROTJ (Beyond the Saga, as it were), so from a certain point of view, I'm avoiding writing about his maturity, paralleling elements in my real life, I guess. ;)
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