Don't Try to Scare Us With Your Sorcerer's Ways...(Non-Force Users in Fanfic)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Luton_Plunder, Sep 11, 2007.

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  1. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    The Non-Force Users Discussion Thread

    Welcome, welcome to my first resource thread! This is a place to discuss the negatives and the positives of Non-Force Users in Fanfic, and to try and find their place in the galactic scheme of things. It's not about the Jedi themselves, or any specific character. Discussion here will revolve around the use, effectiveness and impact of non-force users versus force users in Fanfic. Examples are fine, but please try to keep discussion of specific characters related to the topic :)

    "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, Kid."[/i]

    Non-Force Users - the Average Joe of the GFFA. If you or I were transported instantly into the Star Wars universe, we'd be one of them. There's gotta be trillions of them on all the planets of all the sectors in all the galaxy. Strictly speaking then, there ought to be trillions of stories to tell about them, right?

    However, because of this pesky "Force" business granting a small group of people super powers, the stories naturally and inevitably gravitate toward Force Users. Jedi are written as inherently more interesting, more powerful and more epic than regular folk because they're the "haves" looking after the Force-blind "have nots".

    Han Solo might disagree with that. Lets talk about the role that Non-Force users play in shaping the galaxy! There's plenty of them - and they want their turn in the spotlight.


    [hl=yellow][b]Current Topic[/b][/hl]

    [u][b]Topic 4[/b]

    So the Force is an energy field created by all living things, according to Obi-Wan. But just what are the properties of that energy field? According to Wookiepedia, there are many different interpretations of the Force and how it operates.

    Of particular interest to me is the idea of the Force and Destiny. More or less, the Unifying Force (and several of the theories) claim that the Force has a plan for the galaxy - a set of outcomes that will be achieved whether by means of good or evil, but they will be achieved. If that is true, then...
    Are Force Users the only characters in a SW universe that can influence events on a galactic scale? Can [i]anyone [/i]influence galactic events, or are they set in stone by a sentient, omnipotent Force? [/hl]

    [hl=yellow][i]Previous Topics[/i][/hl]

    [u]Topic 3[/u]
    [b][u]No. There is another...and another...and another...[/u][/b]

    Yoda seemed quite upset that Luke might be killed and end the lineage of Jedi Knights, apart from his Sister of course. And yet we see a proliferation of pruge surviving Jedi and hidden sith lords waiting to spring forth into the galaxy during the reign of the empire/new republic/what have you. So allow me, if you will, to prompt some discussion.

    [hl=white][b]How many Jedi [i]did[/i] survive the Purge, anyway? What kind of plot devices/character elements make a Jedi surviving the purge unnoticed seem feasible? And at what point does this kind of plot become entirely too much of a stretch of the imagination?[/b][/hl]

    There's plenty of great non-FS characters littered throughout the OT, yet all the time more Jedi keep crawling out of the woodwork. To a point I think this is an entirely reasonable concept, as there's no way the Emperor and Vader could stamp out every Force User in the galaxy. But then again, sometimes it appears that a whole army of them slipped by and that, if they'd coordinated their bus timetables, they could all have met up, re-formed a Jedi council and overthrown the Empire.

    Why so many Jedi stories, when there's that many more Non-FS stories begging to be written? Post opinions, comments, theories, anything you like :D

    [b][u]Topic 2
    The Force is...not strong with this one [/u][face_confused][/b]

    [hl=white][b]-- What do you think of the phenomenon of a non-force user suddenly discovering they have a connection to the Force?[/b][/hl]

    Corran Horn was a great pilot in Rogue Squadron. He managed to fly suicide missions and come out the other si>
  2. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    First post! :p

    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight?

    Yes, absolutely.

    Are they so entrenched in Star Wars lore that a story lacks that 'Star Warsy' feel if they aren't there?

    No, absolutely not.

    Star Wars is about the redemption of Anakin Skywalker, the Force, and all that jazz (and to be honest, one of my favorite scenes in the whole saga is the Vader/Luke fight in ROTJ), but the dogfights in space give me just as much of a thrill. As does Han Solo, and he's just a space cowboy. [face_love]

    What do the Jedi do? They protect peace and justice in the galaxy. What's in the galaxy? A whole lot of other people who may not even know the Jedi exist. And even if they do, nothing requires you to include a Jedi into your story. The Jedi are fascinating characters, but as Mara Jade might say, just because you can make something float in the air doesn't mean someone average joe can't kick your ass. :p

    And even though a lot of the EU material includes Jedi or Force-sensitive characters, there are also quite a few comics and such that don't include them. Like the Wraith Squadron series - Tyria was very slightly Force-sensitive, but I didn't have that fact in mind while reading. Mostly because I couldn't stop laughing, but whatever. :p
  3. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 8, 2005
    Okay so this seems to be mod-approved...;)

    Non-force sensitive characters in SW? You sure you saw them?:p
    Actually, I prefer stories without Jedi, or too much of them, inside. And SW can work out brilliantly witout them, too.
    *points at GrandAdmiralV's work*

    I agree that they appear in most fics, though. I even have a force sensitive Mando in my reading schedule now, so force sensitves are probably everywhere in the GFFA. (Like cockroaches:p )
    It might alos be, that a story is easier to anchor in SW with Jedi, they can be found nowhere else and are a surefire sign of SW. Also many characters of the PT and EU are Jedi, so interaction with them might be easier if you had a force sensitive on your hands.

    For me, I suck at space fights, so stories about pilots are a no-go. Which leaves nothing much but Jedi and scum.[face_thinking]
  4. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 10, 2005
    Hi! I think this could be a very interesting thread... I'm not sure if I'll have much to contribute to it, but since most of my stories are Han Solo-related and my only more-or-less well developed OC is Force-blind...

    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight? Are they so entrenched in Star Wars lore that a story lacks that 'Star Warsy' feel if they aren't there?

    Good question! I think this is a tricky question though ;).

    Can you write a SW without a Jedi/Sith character in it? Sure. I've done it (I'm not sure if I was very successful, but at least I tried).

    Can you write a SW story without any reference to the Force at all? Well, there I have my doubts, because... What's the difference between the GFFA and other Science Fiction universes? Space travel? Alien species? Science stuff? No, it's the Force and how it shaped the history of this place and affected the people, whether it's what middle class Coruscatis think about the assault of the Jedi Temple or if learning Alderaanian and preserving it's culture became a point of honor for every scholar after the planet's blowing. And of course I find always interesting what Force blind people think of something they cannot feel and how they relate with those who can...
  5. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Great questions, Luton.

    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight? Are they so entrenched in Star Wars lore that a story lacks that 'Star Warsy' feel if they aren't there?

    I think if you look on the boards or even profic (including comics), you can certainly find a lot of successful SW stories without Jedi. I don't write a lot of those simply because I like Jedi.

    The funny thing is that one of my favorite EU characters, Corran Horn, started out as a non-Jedi non-force user and discovered he was later. Wedge is very successful even though he's not a Jedi.

    As for the other question, I think Golden_Jedi said it pretty well. The Force, whether you can perceive it or not, has molded the society to a large extent so, even if you don't have Jedi in your story, the Force should to be there somewhere (even if it's only implied).
  6. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    The best one I've seen about an average Joe is LilithDemodae's Crash Course. Of course, the mild-mannered guy in leather pants does turn out to be Qui-Gon Jinn by the end, but for the entire story, it focuses on normal people. Well, as far as swoop gangs go.

    I believe that yes, there is an universal acknowledgment of Jedi influence, but that there were many people who thought of them sort of like leprechauns--funny-looking twerps who have magical powers and will never come around to use them on you.
  7. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 18, 2000
    I think this sounds like a good challenge. Write a story without any force users in it. I may try my hand at that sometime... [face_thinking]

  8. Minor_League_Commish

    Minor_League_Commish Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 8, 2007
    I think there a various reasons that Jedi tend to dominate SW stories:

    1) The Jedi were the main focus in the movies.

    2) Jedi and their counterparts, the Sith don't exist in RL. This fact tends to captivate the imagination.

    3) Even though Jedi have all these "mystical" powers endowed to them from The Force, they are still fallible beings, which paradoxically captivates the imagination.

    Yet, there are many non-force sensitive, beings in the SW galaxy (I'll even wager the non-force users outnumber the Jedi by astronomical odds, especially after the purge). A few of them can even go up against a Jedi and best them. Jango Fett comes to mind, though in the end he was beheaded by a Jedi. It's not the talent you have, but the way you use your talent that counts. Non-force users may not have special powers, but they have their own talents. It was a non-force user who told Obi-wan where that little dart came from in AoTC.

    I do believe it's possible to have a successful SW story w/o Jedi. I'm writing one now, and my readers seem to be enjoying it quite well. In fact, I have more people asking for PM's when I update than any of my other stories which do have Jedi. I think the trick is to know the universe. Get into the minds of the people and think how they would say and do things... which I know is pretty much what you should do for any story.

    Sorry, I'm rambling. I'll go now. [face_blush]

    EDIT: ACK! I just realized I'm using the sock for the upcoming index I'm working on... Minor League Directory & Discourse... where I'll be cataloguing stories whose main characters are minor characters from the movies and EU. I'm more commonly known as Alexis_Wingstar. [face_blush]
  9. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Oct 31, 1999
    I've been working on a totally non-Jedi story for quite a few months now. Not working all that hard at it, but it's always there percolating in the back of my Cro-Magnon brain. The hard part is that I don't have the initial story mapped out yet and I've already been bitten by a bunny for a sequel. [face_plain]

    The challenging part so far is to incorporate danger and narrow escapes without making the "regular characters" seem superhuman somehow. With Jedi characters it's easy to cheat just enough to let the good guy escape because there's less of a believability factor.
  10. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Great to see so many responses already :D

    And interesting to note that the majority answer seems to be that a Jedi is not a make-or-break factor in a story, but that the Force ought to have some kind of influence on things. All the examples being offered of successful stories that don't involve Force Users are excellent - I had almost forgotten the Wraiths (blasphemy!), who did have a Force User but it never became a factor in the plot. And it's also good to see a bunch of Fanfic recommendations, too.

    I think the point about the Force being integral to the GFFA is a very well made one by all involved.

    Very well said, Golden_Jedi. The Force does have a very exclusive Star Wars feel to it, and then like MsLanna said it can have an anchoring effect on your plot. As soon as you hear 'The Force', 'the Dark Side', or what have you, you know you're reading a Star Wars story.

    Then again, JadeSolo (Henceforth referred to as #1 :p ) makes a great point here:

    There is a certain 'Star Wars' feel that comes from beyond the Force. I believe i've heard papa George refer to it as a 'second-hand' or 'used' universe. There's something about the unkempt, dusty, dented, rusty look of the Millenium Falcon that makes it just as much uniquely Star Wars as anything that the Force could offer, don't you agree? There's an aesthetic to the GFFA - a kind of disused, industrialised society - that imbues a story with alot of that 'Star Wars' feel and has nothing to do with the Force.

    DarthIshtar, that leads me to think when you say this:

    That there's an argument to be made that, if you were writing a story that didn't involve Force Users, you'd do better to steer clear of mentioning the Force altogether. I agree wholeheartedly with you - a non-Force user might simply dismiss the whole Jedi history as a fairy tale or something too weird to pay attention to. The 'Hokey Religion' that Han Solo was referring to, I guess.

    So does the Force itself make the GFFA? It is certainly integral to the history of the place, that's for sure. But I'd put forward that you can accomplish a Star Wars 'feel' to a story by subscribing to the same kind of atmosphere as the films and EU material.

    All very interesting discussion! Keep it coming, guys :D

    P.S - the point about characters who are originally not Force-Sensitive but later discover I'm hoping to save for a later topic change ;) but if it's integral to your point, type away!

    Edit - Missed your response while typing, Herman!

    Ah, this is one of the big reasons why I believe Jedi get a good share of the spotlight in Star Wars stories ;) They can naturally and believably get into big fights and come out in one piece. A regular citizen has to keep things on a smaller scale.
  11. correllian_ale

    correllian_ale Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 20, 2005
    I personally get a little thrill when I see the non-Force users come in and take charge of the universe; ieg. The X-Wing Boys: Wedge, Wes, Hobbie, and Tycho. Or Ackbar, Lando, Thrawn, Karrde.

    To be fair, they ARE larger than life characters, who probably trancend the "sorcery" of the Force anyway.

    Can a story survive without a one of them? (Outside of Boba Fett & Mando fics) I'm sure it can , becuase to date, the Force does sneak it's way into my fics with a fake ID.

    EDIT: I forgot to compliment you on a great thread my friend. Now I totally want to scrap my fic in planning with a Jedi in it, just so I can try and write one without ANY force users.

    :oops: Wait, I have one of those too...
  12. Bale

    Bale Jedi Master star 4

    May 9, 2005
    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight?
    Yes. Everyday, Star Wars fanfic expands the limits of our imagination and forces us to look at the galaxy far, far away a little differently. I think that this has largely been the result of authors using non-traditional genres and OC's, many of whom are not Jedi.

    As others have mentioned, when writing a Force-sensitive character, the author always has an "out." Writing characters without these gifts forces (no pun intended) authors to do more with their characters and story lines. Is this a difficult task? Of course, but it's produced some great stuff that any Star Wars fan can enjoy.

    Are they so entrenched in Star Wars lore that a story lacks that 'Star Warsy' feel if they aren't there?

    Yes, and no. No matter how much we enjoy the other stuff, most of us became enamored with Star wars because of lightsabers and the mystical thing called the Force. Reading a story without these elements instinctively makes me ask if it's a Star Wars story or just some other plot set in the Star Wars universe. The fanfics I enjoy the most are the ones that can put those fears to rest while still taking me on a thrilling literary ride.

    For those who embrace the challenge of writing a good story without Jedi or the Force the difficulties are enormous, but the rewards are even greater.

  13. Darth_Manion

    Darth_Manion Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 5, 2007
    Nice thread, Luton!

    To answer your question, I actually find it easier to write an exciting Star Wars story without Jedi. Occasionally, I'll have one pop up, but it's just more exciting and the stakes are higher when you're working with people that don't have the Force to rely on. Blasters are no big deal when you can knock lasers out of your way with a glowing stick, or even just by blocking them with your hands. But when you haven't got fancy acrobatics at your disposal and you're staring down the wrong end of an E-11, that's where the fun begins.:D
  14. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    Nice thread and a nice discussion. I personally believe that there is always room in the Star Wars universe for non-Force sensitive characters in major or starring roles. Take the X-wing comics for example.

    I agree with Darth Manion that things can get very interesting if a character doesn't have the powers of a Jedi that makes life a little easier to survive. Sadly, as I looked through the 16 SW stories that I've written, only ~1/4 of them don't have Jedi as major characters. Our of those, Jedi/Force Sensitives are major plot points in all but two. That means that 87% of my work is Jedi related in some way. That is also not counting the countless RPG characters that I've made that are Jedi. It's very rare that I've played a non-Force sensitive.

    How can I change this? It's a simple theory on paper: write more characters that are not a Jedi or Force-sensitive.
  15. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 13, 2004
    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight? Are they so entrenched in Star Wars lore that a story lacks that 'Star Warsy' feel if they aren't there?

    This, sir - I dear say - is my Spec-i-ality. :cool:

    I love writing about the non-Jedi non-über non-godlike characters. Jedi (and Sith Lords too!) tend to get so entrenched in questions of morality and responsiblity and other highfalutin' conundrum bummers, that I feel it's best to leave them be on their thinkin' rocks and statuary pedestals. Gimme a borderline incompetent spacer, some world-weary travelers with little connection to or interest in the Big Picture, and maybe a con artist or two (or one). That's the kind of people I like: The kind who have serious discussions about whether or not Endor exists, or whether or not that Emperor guy actually had Force Powers (hey, those reports sounded alot like lame Alliance propaganda) The kind who don't know that the famous Leia Solo is related to the famous Luke Skywalker, but wouldn't care anyway. There's no room for the Force in lives like that. Hell, there's a damn ore shipment that needs delivered to Correlia, and the primary spacelanes are going to be disrupted by stray asteroids for the next two weeks. When your precious "Force" can clear the damn Hydian Way, maybe I'll start listening. Until then, you'll have to excuse me, I got a Protocol droid that needs cleaned.

  16. JediNemesis

    JediNemesis Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 27, 2003
    Yodimus - =D=

    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight?

    Yeah. I mean, the Jedi are a big part of it, but so are the space battles. So's the politics, in the PT at least, and the general sense that the galaxy is huge and multi-coloured. And out to get you. I confess at this point that I like writing Force-users, and going into their "questions of morality and responsiblity and other highfalutin' conundrum bummers" . . . but I've been trying to get an all-Force-blind story done for about six months now, and keep running up against the bottom line that there's no easy way out. To take an example, a non-Force-sensitive locked in a high-security cell is, on balance, going to stay there.

    Removing the Force from the equation makes constructing a plot much harder (at least to me). For this reason, I have immense respect for anyone who can do it.

    Are [the Jedi] so entrenched in Star Wars lore that a story lacks that 'Star Warsy' feel if they aren't there?

    For a whole generation of kids, Star Wars = Han Solo. So I'd tentatively say 'no' to that one. In fact, if anything, I'd say that the SW stories that are furthest from SW - hanging by a thread - are the ones that do have Force-users (particularly Sith, for some reason).

    A definite proportion of stories featuring Jedi/Sith (this is not a complaint, and I'd certainly include some of my own), could be non-SW fantasy if you changed the names - whereas the grubby held-together-with-string space-opera vibe of the OT is pretty much unique.

  17. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    For a whole generation of kids, Star Wars = Han Solo.

    Quickly adding to this, I was watching AOTC one day when my dad joined me for the Geonosis arena fight. After a few minutes, he said, "This is just like an Indian movie!" If that doesn't make sense, Indian movies (especially the ones made in the region where my family comes from) are full of heroes that can fight off 20 guys at once (making them fly 10 feet through the air with just a gentle jab), ridiculously larger-than-life villains, and plucky heroines that often do little more than look pretty. There's also some singing and dancing. Anyway. The point is that the elements of storytelling, stripped down and dumbed down (in many cases), are going to be the same in any genre. So if my dad read fanfic, he would recognize the story as SW if he saw some mention of the Force. But in the end, he wouldn't care so long as there was some good fighting. :p

    Which brings me to my real point here: My dad also loves Clint Eastwood westerns. It's too easy for me to hear the screeching theme of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" when Han and Greedo face off. Some people hate the added Jabba scene in ANH, but I love it because the first thing you see is Han's blaster. The Force is part of the emotional crux of the SW saga, but the blasters make it fun. :D If all you showed my dad were the shootouts, he might take the fandom somewhat seriously.
  18. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    First off, a big thanks to all those who commented on their approval of the thread [face_dancing]

    And the responses are fantastic! :D It's really interesting - if I'm interpreting the responses correctly, there's a number of factors that go toward making a Star Wars story seem like a Star Wars story. I think Nemesis put it nicely with this:

    I'd say from what we've heard here (so far) that you could compartmentalise the original questions. The Force and the Jedi, wonderful and intrinsically Star Wars as they are, are one element of the universe. There are plenty of others - terminology, epic battles, aesthetics, atmosphere, etc etc - that also go to making your Star Wars story. Perhaps if you are lacking in one element, there is scope to make up for it with another? Say you buck the Jedi and the Force from your story - should you work harder to create a 'Star Wars' atmosphere around your non-force using characters?

    One point that I keep coming back to, however, is this one by Bale:

    It's extremely true that when I first saw Star Wars, it was the lightsaber battle that I was interested in. I mean, come on. It's a sword made out of lasers. The mythically Force-powered Jedi and Sith are almost like Star Wars' big drawcard. If you needed to pick one thing that defined the GFFA, it would almost have to be that.

    So, to get a bit layered and technical here, I point to JadeSolo's post:

    I really like this because it kind of draws a connection between plot elemets, the genres they borrow form, and how they make up Star Wars. Han and Greedo - two Space Cowboys (yeah, I'm counting Greedo :p ) - are straight out of a Western. Westerns are all about the average Joe makin' his merry through the new frontiers. Or the 'Verse, depending on whether or not your Western is set in space.

    Luke and Ben Kenobi, however, are plucked from Fantasy. Ben is a wise old wizard. Luke is the brash and naive charge that must come of age and complete the final challenge on his own. From that, it stands to reason that 'The Force' itself is solely a Fantasy element of the plot. There are probably alot of other elements too - Obi-Wan almost (almost)became a detective in AOTC. There's the political intrigue of the PT, too.

    So, we have several elements coming together to make up the one big 'Star Wars' umbrella genre. I guess it comes down to which sub-genre - western, WWII epic, Fantasy, Detective Noir - you like best that determines which elements you can and can't leave out. Kick the Fantasy out of your story, but throw in liberal helpings of World War RAF fiction with a mix of political intrigue and Western, and you pretty much get the Rogue Squadron series.

    Is one of these genres more important than the others? Is the fantasy element of Star Wars integral to the GFFA? I strongly suspect it will come down to personal preference. Some would sometimes rather see the fantasy element kicked, as Manion, ale and Yodimus seem to have attested :cool:

    Yod - can you please post in the character of a disgruntled courier for the rest of the thread? That was just plain amazing
  19. thesporkbewithyou

    thesporkbewithyou Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 13, 2005
    Great thread! I always seem to find things like this just when I need them.

    I do think you can have a Star Warsy story without any Jedi at all. Like a lot of other people said, look at the X-Wing series (though granted, the Force does wind itself into it with Corran and Tyria, but they're in a completely different category), and look at The_Face's series, which features detectives.

    More than just the space battles, or Jedi vs Sith fightd, I think part of what makes a story feels like its Star Wars, is the inclusion of the other, major themes like loyalty, redemption, and so on. Because it's still Star Wars when you write about that down on his luck detective who redeams himself through his work.
  20. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Can you have a successful Star Wars story without a Jedi in sight?

    I sure hope it's possible 'cause that's all I do. :p In six years of writing SW fanfic I think I've character who was Force-Sensitive/a Force User. That was a brief cameo by Hoth-era Luke in a viggie that has never seen the light of day, and even that role was more Pilot!Luke, not Jedi!Luke. Whether I still manage to capture the "Star Warsy" feel without Jedi I can't really say for my own, though I strongly believe it is possible to do. Stories can center on technology specific to and recognizable as Star Wars: starfighters, Star Destroyers, stormtroopers, droids. Take a stormtrooper, for instance: if you see a picture of one, there's no doubt about what fandom it's from. I'd say that's just as symbolic/recognizable a part in Star Wars as Jedi are.

    Personally, I think a lot of it depends on the era the story is written in. Jedi and Force Users seem to have a much larger role and are much more numerous in the PT era and earlier (post-ROTJ EU too). That gives them a lot more opportunities for storylines and interaction and such. The OT era is a bit different. Opportunities are still there, but they're a bit more rare, plus there's the added difficulty of how did the Jedi/Force User in question escape the Purge. In the PT movies, a large percentage of the main characters were Jedi. In the OT, you've only got a handful. A lot more in the OT movies hinges on non-FS characters to move things along and accomplish things because the sheer numbers of them are so much higher than FS characters. Because of the way the Force has been "outlawed," so to speak, in the OT by the Empire, some of my OT-era characters either don't know anything about the Force or the Jedi or they know incorrect things, depending on where they're from. Some are a little smarter and/or had a more enlightened upbringing.

    I grew up with the OT, but when Ep 1 came out I became totally fascinated with the Jedi. To give you an idea of just how fascinated, I named my cat Padawan. :p Eventually I hooked on to the starfighter pilots instead. It was great to look up to the Jedi and watch them do all those awesome things, but more and more I found myself intrigued by the "average Joe" instead. I find I can relate better to a non-FS than a FS character.

    (And Yodimus, that was a great post. :D)

  21. Exeter

    Exeter Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2005
    That's a very good point. There's a tendency in the EU (and I'm not really speaking with any authority here, since I don't read the EU books) lately to pit groups of powerful Force sensitive people against other groups of powerful people. That's not very surprising; the movies have always centered around great contests within the Force. But such an awesome part of the OT, for me, was the varied group of heroes we had.

    Han firing at Vader on Cloud City and later being interrogated by him. Leia and Tarkin. Jango Fett and Obi-Wan. Those scenes were fascinating to me in the sense that these were people dissimilar in just about every way, people who if you stuck them together in a waiting room with no magazines or music, they would find it very difficult to find any sort of common discussion ground.

    HAN SOLO: So, what did you do today?
    VADER: Killed younglings. Also, genocide.
    HAN SOLO: My mother-in-law really was totally nuts. I don't care what Leia told Luke.

    So that's something I like to see in stories, and for that same reason I also tend to write my work in that fashion. I don't think it has to be one or the other, Force or non-Force. I love pitting non-Jedi against bad guys with the Force. It's the different combinations that make things interesting to me. I expect to see Jedi taking on the Sith, so I'm pleased when someone delivers what I don't expect.

    I've never avoided putting my characters in those kind of situations because of things like, "Well, there's no way they could actually beat Darth Fancypants." I think that's a mistake, because by the same token there was no way Luke should have been able to destroy the Death Star, or Ewoks defeating stormtroopers, or X,Y,Z. Throw that banker/filthy-mouthed droid combo at the super-baddie. They might get their atoms blown apart, but won't it be hilarious and interesting at the same time? We know Arkon Skywalker-Solo-Sunrider III can take down the Sith, and anyone in between.

    Obviously, there is very little you can do with Perry Planetstomper who has Yoda's midichlorian count beat by a multiple of 10, who in your prize AU defeated the evil galactic Sith Lord and his hordes of mindless drones while simulataneously dividing by zero, marrying Polly Perfectbody, and earning his Ph.D in nonsensical physics and theoretical particle bloopers - all at the age of 18! He's got it all, he's done it all, and he's so ridiculously overpowered that to save Yavin IV from the Death Star he'd just deflect the superlaser away with his lightsaber. No flaws, in my book, equals no fun.

    So we know these crazily perfect characters don't work so well, but we also know that Jedi have a tendency to be standing on the lower rungs of that same ladder. We know they can take on the Sith or comparibly evil bad guys, because we've seen it time and time again. It's expected.

    But what about that aide to that one old senile Senator who's so shy she can barely look the waitress in the eye when she orders a meal - can she? Or the shipyard worker who works long hours in low orbit assembling those giant ships we all have flying around the galaxy piece by piece for low pay - can he? What if they team up?

    Sometimes the unlikely combinations that bubble up from our disturbed imaginations become the fruit of a very interesting story. Like Yodimus pointed out, there are so many stories to tell with non-Force characters that they practically beg to be told.

    But I also think you can have your epic space sagas - at least in terms of stakes - populated by a bunch of everyday folks, however bumbling or telekinetically-challenged they may be. It doesn't matter when you boil right down to it. All that's important is how you engage the reader's interest through the story. If it takes an Australian Outback-bred Sith Lord
  22. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    I just wanted to say, that is one of the best posts I've ever read. Especially this part:

    The hard part is coming up with interesting storylines to place those folks in, but like I said, just because the characters are more mundane doesn't mean the plot has to be.

    I always have trouble keeping characters in an ordinary, grind-of-daily-life story. I know their actions don't have to be life or death for the galaxy (in the "balance the Force" sense), but because SW places a heavy emphasis on that kind of stuff, it's often hard to figure out what "life or death" means on a much smaller, more personal scale for these everyday ordinary people.

    I think part of the problem is that no one wants to read a story about a life that resembles their own. Wouldn't it be more entertaining to read about a dashing hero with a lightsaber, instead of Average Joe Speeder Mechanic trying to pay his electric bill? The latter just reminds you of your own electric bill due in a few days. :p

    An example: the boardgame "Payday" used to be so much fun when you were 10 years old, because you got to collect your salary and pay bills every month like a grownup. Now, as my sister-in-law once said, "I pay bills every day. I don't want to play a game where I have to do that!" So instead you play Monopoly, where you get to buy property, build hotels, make cutthroat deals, and screw people over with hefty rent (sidenote: don't underestimate the power of Baltic and Mediterranean).

    But this all makes me wonder, would people be more interested in the Electric Bill Drama if it involved a Force-sensitive character? [face_thinking]
  23. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I have to agree with your sister-in-law. Even monopoly begins to pale when you are in the corporate world.

    I'd be more interested in the Force-sensitive trying to deal with the electric bill. There's got to be a story in there somewhere!

    I do think this discussion is more OC-centric than not (not that it's a bad thing but the SW profic does seem to center on Force users and their relationships to non-Force users). But we haven't really touched on Han and Wedge and others and how they deal with the Force users much... yet?
  24. Exeter

    Exeter Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2005
    Very good point. We can't quite get away with average people doing average things, because - well, like you, your sister-in-law, and dianethx pointed out - then it's just us with a bunch of flying cars in the background :p

    The trick is bringing the most out of both scenarios and carving an intriguing premise out of their problem. How do you make a dude with the Force getting caught with an overdue bill and an OC in the same situation both entertaining enough to draw people in?

    Well, like I said earlier, what I would do is throw them into unfamiliar territory. It's the quickest move in the book for generating inst-a-plot.

    Using the bill example, how would I do it with an OC? Well, there's a lot of possibilities. What would differentiate me, or you, from this average SW guy who seems pretty boring on the surface. Well, how about the way in which he responds to the overdue bill. Maybe he needs money really quick, so he takes a loan out from some super shady guys. Maybe he even does "a job" for them. In a flash, you've got your by-the-books Suzie Homemaker / Louie Baconbringer plunging into the seedy underworld, and suddenly they're in way over their head just because of a stupid bill.

    The Force user is far more difficult. How could somebody with access to something as powerful as the Force ever have trouble with a bill? They could just throw a mind trick at the collector, pull a "What bill? I never saw no bill" ruse. Better yet, remove the entire premise. The guy's a Jedi - they don't have any bills! The Order pays for everything!

    So don't make him a Jedi, first of all. We hear all about these obscure "other" organizations, populated by Force users who are neither Jedi nor Sith. Maybe they don't get their bills paid. I work for a company, and indirectly that pays the bills, but my boss doesn't have my mail forwarded to him and cover me out of his pocket (though I may bring that idea up next staff meeting). So this Force user has bills to pay, like anybody else. Make the clerk, or landlord, or loan shark a Toydarian or a Hutt or any of those species that are immune to mind tricks. Bam. Two problems nixed.

    Now, how to make the rest interesting? Well, something we don't see explored very often in stories (well, at least I don't) is Force morality that isn't at either extreme. We've seen golden perfection in the form of the Jedi, who kill without impunity because their motives are just. We've seen Sith who partake in genocide before breakfast because that's what the handbook says.

    But what about the rest? The Force is [link=]Gyges Ring[/link], and the potential for abuse is incredible. We usually see that realized in the form of ex-good guys whacking little cute kids and glaring a lot, but what about in between? Facing bills he can't slide out of, maybe he'll come up with less noble ways of procuring cash money. Maybe he cheats at gambling, or she uses her talents to rob a bank. Could be something as simple as using telepathy for economic benefit - "ATM"-style PIN numbers, insider trading, or seeing the future lottery numbers. And suddenly you have a story with possibilities, out of something as funny as a Force user and a bill.

    Now back to my original point. I think the premise of either story is equally interesting, so I believe the idea that mundane OCs or "non-Jedi" who find themselves in situations that we, as Earth readers, are familiar with somehow diminishes the level of interest or the potential for excitement isn't always true.

    It all boils down to how you sell it. That's really what this thread is about. Are your Average Everybodies viable charac
  25. Golden_Jedi

    Golden_Jedi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 10, 2005
    =D= =D= =D=

    All the post is quotable, but it think that RL example is outstanding. :)

    Every time Luke Skywalker damages his X-wing, someone has to repair it, right?

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