Discussion Staying Within the Lines: Writing Fanfic within the Boundaries of Continuity

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Corellian_Ale, Aug 11, 2009.

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  1. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008
    I?d be very shocked right now if anyone entering this thread was not aware that there is currently a philosophical debate on whether or not the Star Wars Universe is about to implode upon itself, and blow everything we?ve known about the EU into obscurity. It is assumed by many based on this past weekend?s developments (yours truly included) that the The Clone Wars Animated Series will severely disrupt the established EU continuity as we know it. If you?d like to read about it, check out [link=]here[/link]
    , [link=]here[/link], or [link=]here[/link], (among a hundred different other places).

    The whole fiasco has provoked me into wanting to visit the topic of continuity as it affects us as fanfic writers, and maybe discuss as to how disjointed continuity may or may not influence our visions or current works in progress.

    Now granted as fanfic writers by definition, whether it?s expanding the EU, creating AU?s and cross-overs, or even OC-centric fics, we?re generally in the business of disregarding the established continuity recognized within the confines of the OS.

    However how many of us feel the established continuity plays a great impact upon our writing, and the choices we make for our stories?

    Are you like me, a staunch follower of what has been established?

    Or are you of the mindset that you don?t really care for it at all - and outside of you AU writers - I?m going to change all this, because ?to me it?s all little more than garbage??

    This thread is open to everyone, however discussion about current events can only be touched upon in a factual manner. Join he above discussions if you want to express your opinion on 'teh dramah'. There will be no tolerance for those who wish to rehash their gripes (or present new ones) from the current situation, or anything perceived continuity issues in the past. We're above all that...
    No blame game here. (because you know then the discussion will just have to be shut down :p)

  2. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    I read her message, but that Lit thread looks loooooong - do we know what exactly is changing, and if it just concerns Mandalore stuff?

    If so, then for me, it won't change anything. I don't think I've so much as had a Boba cameo anywhere in my writing (I could be wrong, but you get the idea). Plus, I not only ignore everything about the TV show, but I also don't keep up at all with anything but the post-ROTJ books. And the Mandos are in the LOTF series, and I write in that era, but I don't include the Mandos because they're not my thing. Since KT won't be writing any more SW books, and she wrote extensively about the Mandos but outside of the last LOTF book no one else did, I seriously doubt that Boba and the fam are going to come back and play big (any) roles, so future storylines (and this my reading and writing interest) won't really take a hit.

    And now that I think of it, every or almost every story I wrote that's longer than a vignette is an AU anyway, so this REALLY won't change my style.
  3. CodyMonKenobi

    CodyMonKenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 29, 2001
    I think we are all effected to a degree by continuity. I don't know all the details about what all is being changed, except to know that Mandalorians are getting re-vamped. But that is the nature of the play ground George created. He lets all these writers write what they want, and if he wants to he changes it. That being said, regardless of whether you are writing Boba, Han, Obi-Wan, or Joe Schmo on planet x, what is going on in the world, or galaxy in this case, will effect you to some degree.
  4. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Not necessarily, I think. I mean, because there are so many writers and so many media and so many different people doing different things, even without mistakes/typos, the continuity of the entire Star Wars universe doesn't hold up. Do it's impossible to be entirely canon 8-} But I think you can be canon to a certain medium or certain time period. It means ignoring other storylines, but I honestly think it's impossible to do otherwise - like Ale said, the EU basically implodes.

    I think it definitely effects your writing, but it depends on what the continuity is like during the time period that you're writing in or with the character that you're writing. If you're writing Joe Shmore OC 40 years post-ROTJ and he never meets the Mandos, is stuff going on with them going to change the way you write or what yu can include? Probably not. Now, if Jaina Solo decides to pull a Yoda and like like a hermit on Dagobah and you were planning for Joe to marry her, that would change things - does he crash on Dagobah and meet her, do you forget Jaina and have him hook up with Tenel Ka, or do you change things and make Jaina stay where she is? But what happens with the Mandos isn't going to change that. (And yes, Boba helps Jaina out so to some extent what happens with him could change what he does with her, but either it doesn't - and I don't know how big the changes are and if they'll change where Boba ends up in life or just changes a few details - or you ignore it.)
  5. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008
    Well, if what was seen in the previews is true (I can't tell by watching 30secs., and I'm not going into it until I know truth from rumor), it's not just Mandos, and it's not a new issue with this show.

    Irregardless, I think for someone like me, who likes to have his stuff taken "seriously" for lack of a better term, adhering to what has been established is part of this sub-culture of fanfiction. After all, I'd say a good majority of what's written in the EU is a direct influence over the muses of the writers on these very boards.

    For instance, in LotF, how many authors read the story go from point "A" to "B", and relaize there's still room in the arc for "C"? Or skew the line to "B" all together to fit what they would have wanted to see.

    Say for the sake of arguement, that this situation does turn "what we know" on it's ear, would it affect how you approach what you've got going on now? I know it would will definately turn me sour on the clone commando fic I've been working on. :p
  6. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    No. I'm great at compartmentalizing - I have no problem pretending whatever changes they're making don't exist 8-} As long as nothing off-kilter is written into my preferred material, it won't change my writing since I won't read it. Esay enough for me to ignore.

    If they did do something weird with the post-LOTF books starting now, I still don't think it woud change much, since I prefer AUs.
  7. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008
    So in that statement Nat, particularly concerning preferring AUs, would you say the general story line from the films - maybe the OT only - is really the only canon you need? Or are the films and novels really just an outline of the galaxy you write in?

  8. Thorn058

    Thorn058 Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 28, 2008
    I was greatly disturbed by the news the KT is done writing I enjoyed her style and the way she dealt with a more realistic side of a GFFA. It reminded me very much of the x-wing series which are amoung my all time favorites. Does this effect my writing or lack thereof in recent months? I don't think it will since much of what I like to do is outside canon and yet still in universe.

    I have said this before about the CW series though in other discussions, I think the creative team is getting so caught up with the newness of what they can do that there really isn't anyone like KT or some of the fans saying yes we can do that but should we? Much of the behind the scenes stuff I have watched from Lucasfilm and lucasarts has many of those involved getting really excited about some idea they have and they run it past others and everyone goes "oh that would be wicked cool, let's do that" and before you know it you have a huge ret-con situation. So as cool as I thought CW was a few months ago the potential damages I see might make me less excited now.

    The up sided to the series though was it did give more hard core facts so that one story I was working in 1st person seemed more real. Knowing what Assualt ship or Venorater class star destroyer Obi-wan and Anakin were on going to Christosphiss and some of the other details from teh show helped with my Republic sniper story if I ever finish it.

    So anyway long story short I am of two minds on the subject. Sad and depressed that KT won't be writing for SW anymore(I hope Bungie taps her for a Halo book or books though) and excited about some of the things CW has given us. Either way I will be writing something soon I hope.
  9. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 6, 2005
    I'm honestly not overly concerned. I haven't been paying much attention to the Clone Wars series, and I tend to write more in the NJO to LOTF and after time- and I don't write Mandos (yet). If this does cause a bit of an EU implosion, we fans will have to debate over whether we want to accept it as canon- all of us have some things in canon we don't like, and I have a feeling that some of us will ignore a major retcon or continuity issue if it doesn't really affect what we do.

    With the very nature of Star Wars, there is so much room for contradictions and canon compliance issues. Also within the fan community, some of us care more than others about some things. I think it depends on where in fanfic most of our writing takes place, and for those of us who write lots of AU, this probably won't matter all that much. Hopefully.

    I too will be a bit sad to see KT go- her style is cool.
  10. Draconarius

    Draconarius Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2005
    I'm also not worried by any canon screw ups. I would hate to see Star Wars EU go the way of Star Trek, where nothing outside of on-screen is canon and there's hardly any attempt to keep all of the other works in order, but at the same time I've always taken anything that comes out with a pinch of salt. I usually do what Ale aksed; I take most works as an outline of the galaxy. The books, movies, comics, and episodes are sort of like dramatisations to me; they keep the general facts in place (eg Qui-Gon finds Anakin, Anakin becomes a Jedi, Anakin falls to the Dark Side) but take a few liberties with the specific details.

    And, like a few other posters, I write almost entirely NJO-era and have never included the Mandos in a story, so changes to the Prequel-era and Boba won't affect my writing at all. I doubt Mr Lucas would let them change things so much that Boba wound up working in Dex's Diner instead of becoming a feared bounty hunter. 8-}
  11. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Eh, I have my own canon A, B, C etc. A = movies, B = what I like to take from other sources and C = who cares. ;)

    Actually I avoid the Beyond forum specifically because I am so out of touch with profic that I suspect I'd be pitied for any stories I wrote there (I quit sometime around the time Ben was born and know nothing but names - Jacen goes Sith, Jaina - not sure, Anakin died, the galaxy is no better off than during Palpatine's time as Chancellor then Emperor...who is it Jaina likes more again?).

    I have "issues" with Ahsoka in TCW because it screws AoTC-ROTS continuity in my book but I am free to ignore her or someday, perhaps, include her.

    So far, and other than a lack of enough Obi-Ani friendship scenes (and lack of Obi-Wan in general, I'd say) I enjoy TCW as a side-event to the movies - complementary but take from what I will and leave what I will as well.
  12. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 13, 2001

    Well then, Ale, it's time to be shocked. Because I wasn't aware. Well, not really. Just a few things passed on by MsLanna but since the Mandos and Clone Wars and what not doesn't really interest me, I simply ignore the talk on continuity errors.

    It wouldn't change anything, anyway. I only write JAT, NJO or LOTF. Mostly only OC's too.
    So whatever happens before that, really doesn't effect. And even if it did, I'd ignore it anyway, change the story into an AU and be done with it.

  13. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008
    Alright Ceillean, with you, I'd go with mildly surprised. ;)

    The main focus of issues with the TCW has been the Mando stuff, which interests me greatly. And I know KT and her Mandos aren't everyone's cup of tea.

    But there's other stuff too that bothers me, especially if you were to write about specific characters or events. What if all that was changed, and you found out the story you knew and derived from was wrong?

    Forget the Mandalorians, what if the reports of a young Han spotted with the Wookiees on Kashyyyk, a la Tarzan? (images I have yet to see, so I can not confirm nor deny) Or Obi-Wan's love interest in season 2? Does this change your POV on a fic as a writer? I'm just saying.

    I'm not an AU writer, I've tried it and found I'm no good at it. I personally like to research the hell out of what I'm writing about, and try to remain as faithful to the originally accepted storylines as possible, whether it's about the origins of C-3PO, or which planets the Vong didn't invade in the NJO. That's just me.

  14. Game3525

    Game3525 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 25, 2008
    Doesn't effect me, I usually just follow the movies and the TCW series and disregard everything else when it comes to writing.
  15. BigE

    BigE Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 31, 2002
    I also wasn?t aware. Interesting development.

    Personally I too often stay away from Before & Beyond because, although I try to keep up with the Profic, I just can?t; or I tend to forget far too much of what I have read. I?m just afraid I?m going to screw something up royally, and since I try to write my stuff so that it fits within canon, I tend to shy away from it.

    The whole Mandalore thing is a great example. Whenever I come across something about the Mandalore culture and whatnot I get blown away. The amount of research I?d have to engage in to even attempt it?yikes.

    Kudos to you, Ale, that you are able to do that.

    In the end, I try to fit things into canon if I can. My primary source material being the films, and if it turns out that I write something that conflicts with the comics, Clone Wars, Profic?I?ll just say it?s AU. :p
  16. CodyMonKenobi

    CodyMonKenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 29, 2001
    Okay I hadn't heard about the Han thing, that will be weird. I saw about Obi-Wan on the trailer, if those are the only things changing it won't affect me as a writer so much. But continuity does, like I said earlier GL, is notorious for disregarding what has already been established, so it is very possible that in the near future, either with TCW or LAS, that they will change a lot more.
  17. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Actually, keeping the canon strictly limited to films only would have prevented a potential implosion of EU material. Too many cooks in the kitchen inevitably means a mess of dishes with varying flavors that don't always complement each other.

    Anyway, I'm canon specific only when it comes to the OT. I'm even particular on what version I consider canon (no Special Editions, neither the first or second run). The prequels were so disappointing to me that I strongly considered *not* including any elements from those films in my stories. But I've mellowed enough to include certain things, although I do have to "reinterpret" Padme's demise, because that still doesn't sit right with me. I stay away from the EU books and basically everything else that's part of the merchandising canon for many reasons.
  18. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002

    Pretty much what Draconarius said - I do use plotlines and characters and such from EU novels, but I change what I don't like. For instance, Jag - I hate that he's protrayed as so stiff, so I give him more of a personality. It doesn't bother me to change things like that. Or to add to what leiamoody says - I'm not a big fan of the Padme dying of a broken heart thing, so when I write her dying at the end of ROTS, it's injuries from what Anakin did and/or childbirth complications. I like changing stuff like that, even.
  19. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    I have to honestly say that outside the movies and a very, very few books, I deny the existence of the entire EU. Too many silly things have been done that no one has been allowed to clean up.

    So to be brutally honest, no, nothing the animated series does is going to affect me or my fanfics in any way, except to wonder who let the writers off their meds.
  20. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Nov 3, 2003
    Well, being that I write my little heart out approximately 4,000 years before Boba Fett walks on screen, I think I'll be okay. :p

    As to whether or not canon is going to finally snap, I doubt it. The Prequels were a source of numerous retcons, and we survived all of those (even though some don't make sense- really, Leia can remember her mother who died within minutes of her birth? Qui-Gon trained Obi-Wan and not Yoda? The list goes on...). The prequels mucked with the timeline in the Thrawn trilogy, I don't see anyone throwing those out the window. Pretty much all of Boba Fett's history has been rewritten more than once. Star Wars canon is far from perfect- but the core stories and ideas have survived, and will continue to do so. We might shake our heads, but until one of us is given a red pen and power over continuity, we're pretty much stuck with what we've got.

    I myself am pretty good with the concept of [link=]DisContinuity[/link] (warning: TVTropes link!). If I don't like it, I just pretend it isn't there. So far, that method has worked pretty well for me. :D
  21. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    People tend to forget something about Star Wars, including profic writers. These events happened "a long, long time ago". How long we don't know. I equate this with the Greek myths. They also could have happened a long time ago, but do we have any facts written about them? Just like Star Wars, they are stories told by generations of people for entertainment. So why does there have to be one single story that cannot be told in different ways? It also got me thinking - outside of the "fourth wall" who we know is George Lucas, who exactly in the Star Wars galaxy is telling the story? Is it just a conglomerate of stories to tell around the campfire - just like 3PO did in ROTJ?

    I write in Beyond mostly and I'm just beginning to write in the Saga recently. I do write some AU primarily because of things the profic authors have written to destroy some of the best aspects of what I loved about Star Wars. It all depends on the story I'm writing. I'm into an epic now where I am researching canon to see where events take place if I mention them (thank the maker for Wikipedia!). I don't, however, go through the canon with fine tooth comb to painstakingly rehash what's already been told.

    For me, the whole point of writing fan fiction is to make up your own stories. I don't foresee myself writing anything about the Mandalores. I may mention Boba Fett or have him appear, but nothing in detail. And I can't stand The Clone Wars, because it seems too childish to me. That doesn't mean all stories have to adhere to one set of facts that can't be changed. Seems like a certain Emperor tried to conjoin all things into one set of facts. Coincidence?
  22. Thorn058

    Thorn058 Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 28, 2008
    I wish for the sake of this discussion at least we could leave off the idea that it is only the mando stuff that is/has/or will be affected by the Clone Wars series. Now while KT's recent announcement was a huge shock to many of us this isn't entirely about the Mandolorian culture or screwing up Boba Fett's biography. There have been just as many ret-cons about preconceived ideas regarding the Republic, Jedi, and many canon characters.

    I remember this time last year going round and round with people over on the TV/Cartoon/live actions boards about what the new series was doing, how it compared to the GT micro-series and how absurd some of the stuff was. They hated Ashoka, they hated funny droids, they thought the Jedi were too weak and so on.The discussions were endless and it seemed that everyone had a somewhat differing view on everything. That being said some of the animation and the way that they were going about the CW series was amazing. So what am I rambling about?

    Well lets not just focus on why KT is leaving and lay it all at the feet of whether you care or write about mandos, since the CW has touched many other small brush fires in a GFFA. Someone has brought up the possible Han Solo plot line as well as the already done and in the can Obi-wan's girlfriend episodes which I am sure all those who write Siri-Obi stories(I think I have that couple right) will be going thermal about. So there will be far reaching effects that many aren't considering. Will this affect most of us Fanfic writers to the point where we won't want to write due to the huge gaps? I don't think so, but it does create new possibilities. i will give one example

    Up till I actually saw the Clone Wars movie and the following TV episodes I had never given any thought to who the republic had maning the Capitals shipe of the fleet nor staffing them. The CW series put clones in every job imaginable in the GAR, from flight deck to command deck as well as hospital ships and so on. Once they did that i began to get plot bunnies for a story I was working on set 5 years after the empire is established and that led to more and more and more.
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I write mostly in before and in the saga between TPM and AOTC and try to follow the books of Jude Watson. For the Clone wars period I use the DH comics as a source.
  24. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 16, 2004
    I haven't read the lit thread mentioned (very long and active), but I wonder if this is news? Haven't the cracks in the EU been there all the time anyway?

    Weren't whole EU books from the late 80's early 90's blown out of the water by the prequels anyway? Back stories for Boba Fett and such? 'Children of the Jedi' makes NO sense now -- I know it wasn't popular, but it IS an EU book, published and sanctioned by Lucasfilm. Weren't Han and Leia married in two different ways in different books? It wouldn't be anything new if something that comes along on the screen contradicts something in the books.

    And really, the pre-prequel EU storyline does NOT mesh with the prequel movies. The pre-prequel EU books were always treading water over the Jedi back story because Lucas just hadn't written it and none of the writers seemed to want to go too far into it because they knew that anything they wrote could be contradicted by any future SW movies.

    And ever since the prequel movies came out the EU has been trying to paste band-aids of continuity on the sucking chest-wound of dis-continuity in the EU. ESPECIALLY with the Jedi back story that finally emerged.

    I'm not sure if I've read any of Karen Travis's books -- I only sample EU books here and there and then give up on the EU again -- but she says in her post that she doesn't make most of her money on the SW books. Lucasfilm has always used only established writers and artists for EU things. I presume they pay them well enough, but Lucasfilm is the owner of the property and if they choose to change universes, that's in the contract and the writers know about that when they sign up.

    If the EU devolves into one giant AU, that's fine with me. It already doesn't have full continuity to me anyway.

    I have written stories based on different 'canon' and EU assumptions -- and when I write in the Beyond timeframe I never use the established post-ROTJ EU anyway -- so none of this would really affect my fan writing.

  25. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Even with non-Mando stuff, I think I (and by the looks of it, several other people) wouldn't have a problem ignoring it and picking which continuity they want to follow, if any.

    Edit - By the way, I just found an awesome line in Stookymalarkey's sig: Fanfiction: cause If George Lucas doesn't care about EU canon, why should you.
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