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Author Analysis: Ann C. Crispin

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac , May 22, 2006.

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  1. accrispin

    accrispin Author of the Han Solo Trilogy star 1 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 1998
    Okay, I'm going to give this a shot.

    (Just FYI, I have never been an addict of any kind. I just wrote about one. Doesn't mean I AM one. That's kind of the definition of fiction -- the author MAKES IT UP.)

    I don't claim to be a perfect writer. I think I'm a pretty good storyteller, but I have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. I am certainly no stylist. My writing is plain and straightforward. At its best, it's "cinematic," with a "transparent" style that allows readers to easily visualize the events I'm chronicling as though they were watching a film -- perfect for doing film and television tie-ins. At its worst, my style is overly simplistic, and comes across as non-literary, slick, and "juvenile."

    I guess if I think I have any one strength in writing tie-in fiction, it's that I believe I have a good "ear" for the way beloved characters (like Han, Lando, etc.) speak. I think my dialogue is pretty faithful to the characters we've seen on screen. Their speech patterns are familiar, and unique to them.

    I certainly did as much (or more) research as the other Star Wars novelists back when I was first hired to do the Han Solo trilogy. I read every adult novel, and most of the gaming guides, before writing my trilogy. It's too bad subsequent events have negated the continuity in my trilogy, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in writing tie-in fiction. You get used to it.

    That's also part of the reason that I have given up writing tie-in fiction, at least for now. Lucasfilm didn't approve the idea of a Leia backstory because they want to keep that era of the SW continuity untouched for the television series they're considering. That was the only Star Wars project that interested me at this point, so I didn't attempt to propose anything else. Just writing a plain old EU type adventure doesn't seem worth the research it would take, and, let's face it, those characters have had dozens and dozens of adventures by now. It would be difficult to come up with something intriguing and diverting in that universe within the constraints of the continuity that's been set up. And I'm not interested in writing just another adventure. I have to have an emotional link to the story I'm writing, feel that I'm chronicling life events of great importance to the characters. I've turned down some very lucrative tie-in projects because they didn't emotionally "resonate" within me.

    So these days I'm writing my own books. I'm lucky in that I've always had a career writing original novels, as well as tie-in books. Not all tie-in writers have been able to manage that, and I feel very fortunate.

    Anyhow, if I can answer any questions about the directives I was given, in writing the HS trilogy, it was all a long time ago, but I'll do my best to recall how it was.

    Best,

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Author: STORMS OF DESTINY/HarperEos
    www.accrispin.com

    P.S. Anyone who liked the way I handled battle scenes, can check out the first 100 page of STORMS for free on my website, in case you're interested in the book.

    I edited out some stuff to not bait anyone else.
     
  2. Spike2002

    Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 4, 2002
    As for your books, Ms. Crispin, I always enjoyed them, and I even liked the character of Bria. The Hutt scenes were my personal favourites, as was the depiction of the pre-ANH Empire. Personally, I'd have no complaints if you were to write anymore SW novels. :D
     
  3. AdmiralWesJanson

    AdmiralWesJanson Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 23, 2005
    The Han Solo Trilogy has it's high points, including like you hoped, very natural dialogue that does feel like it fits with the movies, and a rather large proportion of new EU territory. There are a few missteps, mainly in continuity, but a lot of those were caused after the fact by new material.

    Probably the most positive thing that you mentioned was the fact that you read the other books and game guides, and made the effort to learn about the universe before writing in it, and it shows, compared to some other authors. You also took the opportunity to add a lot of new things as well, which was nice.

    How much leeway did you have on creating the Hutt society and lifecycle?
    Was the troopship Han lived on an Republic or Seperatist vessel?
    What would you have written differently if the prequels had already been out?
     
  4. Jans_Walker

    Jans_Walker Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Aug 29, 2002
    I know this is a Star Wars board, but you should also promote your [link=http://accrispin.blogspot.com/]blog[/link], especially since there are probably a lot of writers here who would appreciate the service you're providing. ;)
     
  5. Crox

    Crox Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 30, 2006
    The Han Solo Trilogy was some of my early EU, and I've always been fond of it. I especially liked how Rebel Dream ended just minutes before Han's role in ANH began.

    Plus, The Paradise Snare audiobook got me through a long car trip several years ago :)
     
  6. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Thanks very much for dropping by. It's always a pleasure and a privilege to hear from the authors.
     
  7. 1_4_Jedi

    1_4_Jedi Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2006
    I'll try to keep this short & sweet.

    I really enjoyed reading the Han Solo trilogy as written by Ms. Crispin. It's as simple as that, but I will also say that I certainly appreciated her efforts to capture the nature of the exhisting characters and complimenting their development while at the same time introducing interesting new ones. I found the reading to be direct, upbeat and relatively uncomplicated - much like my perception of the OT movies themselves. I especially liked the plotlines and tie-ins, and frankly I learned a long time ago not to let continuity foibles spoil a good story (especially in the SW EU ;) ). Kudos on a job well done.
     
  8. accrispin

    accrispin Author of the Han Solo Trilogy star 1 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 1998
    "Admiral Wes" asked:

    >>>How much leeway did you have on creating the Hutt society and lifecycle?
    >>>Was the troopship Han lived on an Republic or Seperatist vessel?
    >>>What would you have written differently if the prequels had already been out?

    I was basically given a free hand in creating the Hutt society and interpersonal relationships. I don't recall any revisions that were suggested for Jabba and his buddies except that my editor asked me to "tone down" a bit of the violence in the scene where Jabba duked it out with his aunt, and then killed her baby Hutt. I didn't have any problem doing that, because, on re-reading, I thought the scene was a bit over the top.

    As for the troopship, I have no idea which faction it belonged to. At the time I wrote the books, I don't think the "Republic" or "Separatist" designation had been created. I guess if I thought about the ship's origin at all, I envisioned it as one of the "Empire's" old vessels, which would make it a Republic vessel.

    If the prequels had already been released at the time I wrote my books, I don't think I would have written much differently. I'm sure I would have changed the stuff I wrote about the early days of the Rebellion, as the time period was clearly off by several years. I might have had Chewie interact a bit differently with Han, but I can't be sure about that. After all, the main place where "ret-conning" was clearly indicated where Han and Chewie were concerned was during ANH, where Han decries the use of the Force, and says it's all hooey. Chewbacca's experiences during his encounter with Yoda on Kashyykk would have meant that he knew HAN was full of hooey, yet he said nothing during that scene on board the Millennium Falcon.

    I would certainly have shown or referred to Kashyykk being battle-scarred as a result of the Clone Wars during Han and Chewie's visit there.

    But, as I said before, I'm not really bothered by this stuff. It's just part of writing tie-in fiction, and you get used to it.

    (Note: I am aware this post will be edited for content by the TFN mods, and I give my permission for this.)

    -Ann C. Crispin

    P.S. Someone asked that I give the address for the Writer Beware website and blog. I don't know if this is allowed, but here it is: www.writerbeware.com (there's a link to the blog there) and www.accrispin.blogspot.com

    Writer Beware is a volunteer, non-profit, part of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)-- www.sfwa.org. We help writers avoid writing scams by posting items like the 20 Worst Agents List so aspiring writers can AVOID getting scammed.
     
  9. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Having read the HST many moons ago, I won't say with 100% certainty that there's nothing in there that's that difficult to fix, especially compared to other things we've come across like TTT and the Clone Wars cartoon (I certainly don't see where Han's relationship with Bria creates a problem), but as far as I'm concerned, whatever sources get contradicted should be the ones to have to bend around the HST, not the other way around. :)

    Edit - Ann, I'm glad to see you're still popping in here from time to time. I'm sure the mods would be happy to reopen your [link=http://boards.theforce.net/authors_artists/b10347/5817005/p1/?176]Authors & Artists thread[/link] if you saw fit to start browsing it again, since its purpose is similar to this one but would allow more extensive discussion of your non-SW projects.
     
  10. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Meh, there isn't anything that can't be fixed, and most of it really doesn't need "fixing" -- just not to be misunderstood.
     
  11. accrispin

    accrispin Author of the Han Solo Trilogy star 1 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 1998
    If I were to appear at my Author thread again, wouldn't the "Bria haters" come back and pester me? The only way I got them to quit sending me hate email was to agree to close that thread and stop posting on TFN.

    I do NOT want to start all of that back up.

    -Ann C. Crispin
     
  12. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Actually, after a particularly aggressive incident with Karen Traviss last year, the staff has gotten very strict about [link=http://boards.theforce.net/literature/b10003/23901745/p1/?122]the way VIPs are treated[/link] here, so you shouldn't have to endure anything like what happened back then. Anyone who tried to harass you, here or in private, would come up against a hardcore zero tolerance policy. I'll grant that it might be easier to just stay away entirely, but I think I speak on behalf of a wide majority (and certainly all of the staffers) when I say that it's worth the effort to keep you around.
     
  13. accrispin

    accrispin Author of the Han Solo Trilogy star 1 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 1998
    Okay, I'll give it some thought. Thanks for the response.

    -Ann C. Crispin
     
  14. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Ann I actually liked Bria though amd probably one of the few who does. She is a kinda foreshadowing of Leia and I can see the purpose she serves in constantly being in the story even when she isn't near Han.

    As for the Han Solo trilogy in general, it's one of the first set of books we have set between the trilogies and even though there is some quite interesting stuff that's left out (Han in the Imperial Navy, Han meeting Chewie) what's in there is quite good.

    That being said there's a gaping hole in the story (I think it's in the second book) when Han goes off to the corporate sector but that's simply to match with Brian Daley and with those books there's no need to re-invent the wheel.
     
  15. master_organa

    master_organa Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Crispin's books are entertaining and use good characters from the movies and books. But Bria isn't that interesting a character. And sometimes the plots were stupid. Not to mention she completely ripped of Oliver Twist in her first book.
     
  16. LtNOWIS

    LtNOWIS Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Han's absence was actually at the beginning of the 3rd book. I thought that was great, personally; it really fit the canon well, and if you wanted to know what Han was doing, you could just pick up Daley's books. I actually read them between sections of the 3rd Crispin book, per the chronological order.
     
  17. Rogue_Follower

    Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2003
    >>>Not to mention she completely ripped of Oliver Twist in her first book. <<<

    More of a homage, rather than a rip-off. I thought F8GN was kinda clever, a good Easter Egg.
     
  18. TwiLekJedi

    TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2001
    really? That's awsome :p
    I only read Oliver Twist this year, so I didn't notice it back when I read her trilogy :(
     
  19. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Well, you've been posting here, and how many Bria-haters have you seen? Given that they're more likely to show up in the wide world of Lit than a specific author thread, it seems like the general crisis is over. Plus, the mods are taking a hard line on bashing. I'd say the majority of people on these boards would be happy to have you back.
     
  20. accrispin

    accrispin Author of the Han Solo Trilogy star 1 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 1998
    Okay, enough time has gone by that I think I am "safe" from the hate email resuming. I'm feeling encouraged.

    I would like to open my author topic again, especially if I can use it as a way to help beginning writers. I'm an experienced writing workshop teacher, with many resources, as well as the Chair of Writer Beware. As the head of Writer Beware, I am used to volunteering my time to help out beginning writers.

    So...that said, could I re-open my author topic under those terms? How would I go about it?

    Can someone contact me via email to discuss this?

    Best,

    -Ann C. Crispin
    anncrispin@aol.com

     
  21. dp4m

    dp4m Also a Narc star 10

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2001
    I'll take care of it, Ann.
     
  22. Thanos6

    Thanos6 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 20, 1999
    Having just reread this trilogy the other night, I still love it. It's no easy task to make Jabba the Hutt LIKEABLE, but she did it. I loved the tying together of Han and Lando's previous trilogies, as well as just about every other source in the EU.

    The Battle of Nar Shaddaa, in particular, was a highlight.
     
  23. AdmiralWesJanson

    AdmiralWesJanson Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 23, 2005
    Yes, I agree. Jabba is one of my favorite characters in the HST. It adds a lot of depth to the hutt that we don't get from RotJ. Durga was actually a fun character to read as well, especially in contrast to Xizor.
     
  24. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Yeah, I really loved all the detail we got about the Hutts and the underworld. It's such a large part of the universe, and it was good to see that explored.
     
  25. sidious618

    sidious618 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 20, 2003
    I've only read the first two books in the HST but I thought both of them were rather enjoyable. I wouldn't count them as my favorite Star Wars books but they were never boring. I never had any problem with Bria and I'm curious as to why she is hated by some.
     
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