Experimenting with genre - does it work with SW?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Katana_Geldar, Aug 19, 2007.

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  1. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    Recently, I delved into the depths of hard-boiled detective fiction on an experimental level for a fic, departing form the more epic style that is associated with SW. Good vs evil, the Force, jedi and Sith etc.

    I'm just wondering if anyone else has experimented with genre and how turned out. Can SW be adaptable to different genre? I know there are elements of the EU that are political drama (Cloak of Deception), legal drama (The Kyrtos Trap) and existentialism (Shatterpoint).

    Personally, with detective fiction, I found it wquite interesting as I had to have a very different 'voice' from my other fics and do quite a bit of different research. The characters are also different (one smokes and drinks, another uses drugs, another is only loyal to you for $$$) and the story has a different feel.

    I can say one thing, doing regular jedi stuff is far easier.
  2. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Katana, I suspect you will get a landslide of replies for this post :p

    I've got a fic series that is about, well...almost exactly this. Detectives on Corellia. The links are in my bio if you're interested.

    I'll let all the other brilliant authors that write in these genre-bending ways come forward as they will, but I might suggest that you check out the following link. It's a thread about all of the seedier elements of the SW universe that you're talking about, containing many detective, crime and underworld stories and discussions.

    [link=]The Seedy Side 2.0[/link]

    Your question as to whether mixing genres can work in Star Wars, my answer would be absolutely yes. All of my favourite fics on these boards have been OC centric stories that are distinct in the elements they take from other genres. I'd go one better and say that if you mix genres in a Star Wars story then it's a bit of a breath of fresh air for the franchise.

    Your story sounds exactly like the kind of thing I'd love to read. Grey areas of morality, deception and gun-toting law men :cool:
  3. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 16, 2006
    There is more than just Jedi and Sith in the SW universe, and there is plenty of room to tell stories from the point of view of those not attuned to the Force. =)
  4. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Wrangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Jul 7, 2000
    My answer to the title question is "Most Definitely!!"

    I've read a fics here that were wonderful horror, film noir, romance, humor, everything that can be had in writing.

    While GL may have had a specific journey in mind for a set group of characters, fans have seen far beyond even his scope... IMHO

    I'd go one better and say that if you mix genres in a Star Wars story then it's a bit of a breath of fresh air for the franchise.

    I agree and would add it's what keeps those plot bunnies biting.
  5. BigE

    BigE Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 31, 2002

    I heartily agree, and I think it?s that kind of ?thinking outside the box? story telling that would make the SW universe all the more interesting.
  6. MariahJade2

    MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 5 VIP

    Mar 18, 2001
    A big yes on this one. It absolutly breaths life into the GFFA, and helps everyone think outside the box if done well. I'm very fond of the dectective/mystery story slant. Since Leona and others have already said it better than me just let me say ditto. ;)
  7. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Very much so. I've written everything from horror to Tom Clancy and the only genre that absolutely did not work was when I was challenged to write a bodice-ripper romance novel based on A New Hope.
  8. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Wrangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Jul 7, 2000
    I think it's partially why fanfic is so fun.

    We get to play with our fave characters and put them in all sorts of situations and then why discover OC's (whether our own created ones or others) and widen the field even more.
  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    Katana_Geldar, I love the bring this up because it was so well done. Kidan wrote a "western" style vignette at my behest. It worked very well. the characters were true, and the Force aspect was there, but down played until the end.
  10. Darkwriter

    Darkwriter Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2006
    I think experimenting with genres works extremely well---probably better in Star Wars fan fiction than it does with original fiction. Because with original fiction, readers go, "Oh, yeah, I like this genre. It's cool." But in Star Wars fan fiction, readers go, "LOL! OMG! I can see him doing that!" It always turns out especially neat (and it means more) when we know who certain characters really are and we find them playing different roles. And what's even more spectacular is that most of the time they fit these different roles perfectly!

    Referring to the profiction books that have experiemented, I think they have turned out wonderfully, too. Shatterpoint, for example, is among my favorites. And obviously in the NJO, DN, and LOTF, the authors aren't sticking to the good v. evil formula. [face_peace]

    I do mostly romance with my characers. I love working in AU, especially when the characters are younger.
  11. Onoto

    Onoto Jedi Knight star 5

    Oct 7, 2004
    I've tried to write SW westerns, but they've all ended up as Firefly.:p
  12. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 22, 2003
    That is exactly the basis for my main series of fics, Galaxy Noir. :D More on that in a moment...

    Absolutely. The nice thing about the GFFA is its broad variety. It allows not just for light-swords and mystical life forces, but smugglers and Senators and gunslingers and a thousand other things. I just finished writing a legal comedy. I've also done a prison break/intrigue story, military commando piece, and a bunch of other stuff. oqidaun's Dakari series uses elements of horror and politics and drama all to fantastic effect. Luton's The User works a police procedural angle through CorSec. If anything, I seek out the genre-bending fics. I come to a Star Wars fanfic board, and then read bunches of stuff unlike the Star Wars movies (Jedi/Sith grand conflict, etc.). :p

    As a writer of morally murky detective fiction, I find doing regular Jedi stuff far harder. ;) It's my muse's fault; I just enjoy the former so much that I don't mind the challenges. Because now that I'm thinking about it, "Jedi stuff" is typically (operative word) simpler. Set up your good guys, set up your bad guys, hit each other with lightsabers, etc. Whereas in the underworld you have to deal with shifting loyalties, characters making both noble and abominable decisions, etc. When everyone has an agenda, there's considerably more to keep track of.

    Add to that mystery? Hoo boy. Outlining ceases being optional once you decide to write a mystery IMHO. So much to keep track of. The solution has to be plausible; the heroes being able to figure it out has to be plausible; the heroes not figuring it out until you need them to has to be plausible; and ideally the readers feel like they could have gotten it, but don't until Hiro J. Protagonist says "Here's what happened." Add to that your red herrings and misdirections and dead ends... 8-}

    There's a reason I'm as utterly mad as I am. ;)

    EDIT: Posted before I meant to. Does that prove my point? :p

    Annnyway, despite all that, I still have a harder time getting into the Jedi characters. Something just doesn't click.

    Genre. As I said, I mostly write detective fiction (the aformentioned Galaxy Noir, links in bio if anybody cares). I also blend in sci-fi (of course), humor, action, and character-driven drama. Foolish ambition, thy name is series. It does take a whole 'nother mindset different from your usual Old Republic Jedi vs. Sith superweapon-epic. I think the voice and tone (they go hand in hand in this example I think) are crucial. It's probably easier to do these things with OCs, because you can define them as any archetype you want. It's more satisfying IMHO to make up your own obsessed Dirty Harry cop and plunk him in the Imperial ranks rather than mischaracterize Pellaon or whoever.

    What I do is I go to the parts of SW that do resemble my style. That's typically ANH's character interaction among Leia, Han, and Luke (for all intents and purposes they're non-Jedi in that movie, and they bicker almost as much as my OCs :p), particularly Captain Solo while he's still out for himself. TESB's Lando, Fet
  13. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    Wow! Thatnks for all your replies! On the spirit of this, I think we should go more specif.

    Let's start with the detective story since that got the most responses...

    As The_Face said earlier, the plot has to be the hardest to set up as you have to consider kinda two plots the real one and the false one, the trail of red herrings. I found the easiest way was to set up a character as the red herring and put the character squarely in plain sight with the real villian slightly off to one side but still a major character.
    Pretty much you have to decide who the villian and who the red herring is before you start writing.
  14. leia_naberrie

    leia_naberrie Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 10, 2002
    Actually, you have to set up three plots: the real mystery; the false one with the red herrings ; and the actual story in which the mystery is contained in. It's the latter that makes the difference between a detective/mystery story and one of those Two Minute mysteries one reads to pass the time in the train. Example: take Agatha Christie's The Man in the Brown Suit. The real mystery was the murder of the spy/blackmailer by the Colonel and the theft of the diamonds. The red herring story were all the false trails our heroine Anna followed that made her suspect first Henry Lucas, then Colonel Race. But the actual story is the coming of age of Anna, her adventures and the love story between her and the man she eventually married.
  15. LLL

    LLL Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 16, 2000
    I once did a SW/New Age/personal growth hybrid.

    My husband says he could do a SW mystery thriller, but he'd want to get paid for it ... :p
  16. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    Tell him it would snow on Tatooine first.

    And you were right about three plots, leia. I just remembered that even my story had three plots. What a lot for a writer!
  17. Beta-Commando

    Beta-Commando Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 4, 2007
    Hm, I never thought I could mix my two loves; Detective and Star Wars Fics. I should seriously try that.

    I don't have much experience writing solid Star Wars, and as much so with Detetive Fics, so not much I can contribute. But there is one thing...

    Suspense. Something that, to me, even my beloved Legacy of the Force lacks almost entirely. However, the entire Detective/Mystery genre reeks, when well-writte, of great suspense, foreshadowing so that we smack ourselves for not figuring it out, etc. However, mix the two, you have a rare example of suspenseful Star Wars. Then you can pat yourself on the back.

    But, in answer to question in the title, yes, I've tried integrating Romance, Politcal Intrigue (Heavily so), and some 'Hard Technical Sci-Fi' as someone put it.
  18. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 6, 2005
    Experimenting with genre is fun but brain-stretching. I'm right now in the middle of a dark V/P romance that I wanted originally as more of a horror fic. It's harder than I expected. And political intrigue is also hard, as are crossovers that introduce a variety of new genres. But the experimentation is fun.
  19. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2005
    I'm definitely not the first to do it, but supernatural horror works really well in the GFFA. [face_skull]
  20. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    I wrote a couple of creepy psychopath vigs starring a Jedi, and they were so much fun. Surprisingly very easy to do as well. [face_laugh]

    As others said before, I think mixing genres is one of the best things to do in SW. The films themselves are a blend of genres - you've got a little bit of Western with Han, a little bit of epic, a little bit of romance, and some coming of age. Plus there's your general scifi/fantasy with lasers and spaceships, and a touch of horror thanks to Palpatine's shriveled face. You've also got the military and political arenas. To me it would be perfectly natural to take each of those samples and expand them into wider spheres of stories.

    One thing I'll say about detective fiction is that you can be crafty and "Double Indemnity" your story - tell people at the very beginning whodunit, and leave the rest of the plot to explain why. Good way to set them on edge. [face_mischief]
  21. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Nov 3, 2003
    I'm a big fan of combining different genres- it's what makes life in the GFFA interesting. :D

    My main epic is fairly traditionally written- mostly because I'm adapting a video game to text. But it's also basically an extended philosophical dialogue with lightsabers. This is what happens when you daydream about your fanfic in philosophy class. :p

    Other than that, I tend to like writing what I call "life sketches." They're usually really short, completely un-epic, and just peeks into the lives of a handful of characters that I love. I was raised on Anne of Green Gables, so these kinds of stories appeal to me. My OC isn't an epic character. She got pulled into one, but let's be honest- she'd rather be back on Corellia, minding the fruit farm. So I just like looking into the everyday lives of Our Heroes.
  22. InyriForge

    InyriForge Jedi Master star 5

    Jan 24, 2002
    When I read the first post, I was like "I must recommend Galaxy Noir to the thread-starter!" but I see The Face already has (which makes sense since it's his story). LOL.

    As for the main question, I think as long as you keep your characters and/or locations consistent with canon, you can write any genre. I personally prefer stories that aren't Jedi-centric and look for those sorts of fics to read.

  23. LLL

    LLL Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 16, 2000
    Once upon a time, The Powers That Be were searching for a mystery novelist to pen a real SW mystery EU novel.

    They didn't find anyone, however.

  24. lazykbys_left

    lazykbys_left Jedi Padawan star 4

    Feb 17, 2005
    LLL: They didn't find anyone, however.

    Yeah. For some reason, none of the mystery authors LFL approached signed on. As I understand it, some were too busy with their own fiction, others weren't interested in writing in a franchise, and so on.

    I tell you, some people have no sense of priorities. :D

    - lazy
  25. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002
    You guys should take a look at [link=]this[/link]. It's a detective novel set on Coruscant, set to come out in July. There's a second one slated to come out in September, and a third in November. They're supposed to be noir style.

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