The Laboratory

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Mistress_Renata, Apr 25, 2003.

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  1. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Hi, all! This started after a discussion in the Cliche Elements thread, where we tried to envision how to write cliche elements in ways that weren't cliched. At some point, I mentioned how I wished there was a thread where writers could try things like this out, without having to commit to a whole story. Much to my surprise, everyone clamored for it, and a few started asking me when I'd post it.

    So this is the Laboratory (with the blessings of Kit'and the insights of Melyanna). Here, you can post a scene, a paragraph, a page. Ask for help or constructive feedback. Do something you've never done and don't want to do a whole story about, just as an experiment and a way to sharpen your writing skills.

    THIS IS NOT A PROMOTIONAL FORUM! Do NOT post scenes from your fabulous new story and oh by the way here's the link. There are other places for that.

    This is to try writing about... to get the hero out of a sealed room WITHOUT going through the airducts...

    ...child characters who aren't adorable or precocious...

    ...writing an action scene when you usually write romance...

    ...writing a mush scene when you usually write action...

    ...writing dialogue between two characters when you want one of them to sound like he's from another planet...

    ...writing first-person when you've always done third...

    Get the idea? This is for testing the waters and trying something new. People may post ideas (like challenges) but this is not a challenge thread, and you don't need to "do the homework" to post here. Any challenges or exercises are simply to help stimulate the creative juices.

    Jump write in! ;)
  2. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999

    I have a short scene, but I don't know if it is going to fit anymore. I'll post it up later and see what people think.

  3. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 9, 2001

    Congrats, Ranata, and thanks for this cool thread! I'll hope to participate in the future, as well as I hope for many participations of others :). But as it seems, they are very willing ;). A question: We surely can post non-SW-related stuff here, eh? :)

    Mata ne,
    Val ^_^
  4. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I'd, personally, rather that you didn't post non related SW stuff here. This is still a Star Wars forum and we really don't allow it anywhere else. If you stuff doesn't reference Star Wars specifically that's okay - but I'd like it to still be noticeabley set in the GFFA.

    That's just my view. If you disagree then PM me and we'll chat about it.

  5. Chocos_Ramabotti

    Chocos_Ramabotti Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 9, 2001
    Okay :). I guess it was good that I asked ;).
  6. ThatJediGirl

    ThatJediGirl Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 11, 2001
    I love the idea of this! I can assure you that I will be participating here :)
  7. Aunecah_Skywalker

    Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 25, 2002
    Here it is. I usually have trouble writing children, so you can tell me if this is good or bad. :)

    Run, son, run.
    by Aunecah_Skywalker

    Han ran. He didn't know why he was running, only that he knew he had to run. He had to run so fast. He had to run very, very fast. The street was dark, and he almost turned around and ran back to Papa many times, but Mama told him not to.


    Han's eyes filled with tears.

    "Stop them, Papa. Stop them."

    His brown eyes wide and overwhelmed with tears, Han clutched Papa's leg and shook it. Mama screamed again as one of those men hit her in the leg.

    Papa, Mama, and Han had been eating dinner when somebody had knocked loudly on their door. Before Papa, who was already in a bad mood from having another argument with Mara, could open the door, it was blasted open and a lot of people entered it. Han hadn't been sure, and he still wasn't sure, whether they were people, exactly. They were dressed in white and they had helmets.

    "They're hurting her, Papa. Stop them, Papa."

    "They're doing nothing more than what she deserves," Papa said gruffly.

    "Mama do nothing wrong!"

    "She's a traitor."

    "She help people who has no food," Han said tearfully, shocked that Papa would say such a thing. "Nobody help them. She help them."

    Papa scowled in disgust. He took Han's little arm in his big hand and jerked Han away from him, toward those men. Han cowered in fear. He tried to sink back toward the safety of Papa's leg. He clutched Papa's hand tightly as the helmet men looked at them.

    "Take him away, too, I don't want him."

    "Papa?" Han whispered, looking up at his blurred face through tearful eyes.

    One of the white man just shook his head. Though Han couldn't see the helmet man's face, he felt as though the man thought Han was too worthless to even consider it.

    "Put him in that Imperial school of yours. And give me the credits."

    Han's eyes filled with tears again.

    Mama and Papa were always arguing about it. Papa wanted money so he could go to the bars and drink; he didn't work. Mama usually gave him half her salary, but as of late, she started to get more and more angry ? and very, very sad, too. She didn't know it (because she thought Han was sleeping), but Han had seen her one night, sitting in an armchair in the living room, weeping. Han didn't like it when Mama weeped. He didn't like it when Mama and Papa fought.

    "He's not old enough."

    "I'm three," Han said petulantly.

    Papa's jerked Han back, his grip on Han's arm so very tight and painful. His eyes were hard as he glared at Han, who quickly shut his mouth, looked at Mama, who was crying silently on the ground, and then looked down at the ground. Mama's legs were bloody. The helmet men had hit her with batons.

    "You can sell him as a slave to the Hutts."

    Han shuddered. He heard Mama talking about them. He had gone with Mama many times to that place where there were many poor people; Mama and some others gave them food and water for free. Many of those people were slaves; they told Han that slaves were ? that slaves had no ?

    "A generous offer, but the Hutts would not want him."

    Papa smirked. "Unless you tell that about his aptitude with machines."

    "Yes?" The helmet man looked at Han. "How do you fix a broken droid?"

    "What's a droid?" Han asked with a frown. He looked up at Papa, who was scowling fiercely, and then at the helmet man again. He gulped. "Me no have no apitude with machines," he blurted out quickly. "Me no know nothing."

    "He's lying!"

    "He's telling the truth!" Mama said weakly. "Han doesn't know anything about machines."

    "She's lying," Papa shouted.

    "Mama no lie, Papa," Han cried.

    "It doesn't matter," said the helmet man firmly. "We aren't interested in him." He looked down at Mama and then at his men. "Let's move."

    Two of them men dragged Mama up by her arms. Mama cried out in pain.

    "No!" Han shot forward. He ran to the helmet man and grabbed his leg. "Leave Mama, please. Mama, come with
  8. TheBiggerFish

    TheBiggerFish Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 26, 2001
    Ok, before I reply, let me stop crying for a minute *wipes eyes* On the whole, well done! Niggly details from pedantic little me ;)

    "Me no have no apitude with machines," he blurted out quickly. "Me no know nothing."

    It sounds like Jar-Jar to me. Three years olds wouldn't be able to pronounce aptitude I don't think. One of the hardest things to do with kids is decide how much they'll be able to say. Personally, I think Han would only say a few words in this situation because he's only three, he wouldn't have a lot of time to think about what he was going to say and how he would go about saying the words and on top of that, he's petrified. I think it would work better if Han said less, or only said a few words, or just sat there screaming at Dad to make them let Mama go, or yelling at the stormtroopers he didn't know anything about what they were talking about. The last part though "I'm runnning Mama" That was good.

    I think it's OK to call his mother Mama, but calling the dad (who's obviously evil, well done with that part BTW) Papa went a little far. Calling the father Dad conveys less cutesiness and less familiarity with the dad from Han.

    Overall, it was a great scene, the mood of it was done really well!
  9. Knight-Ander

    Knight-Ander Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2002
    I pretty much agree with TBF.

    *covertly kicks tissues under desk*

    However, "Dad" still seems too... nice for Han's father in this case. Probably having Han refering to him by his first name (whatever it may be) would work best. It also gives Han that aura of being a bastard-child that his loner-personality later in life seems to exude.

    Another point on Han, when he says big words such as "aptitude" have him try to say the word but not be able to pronounce the unfamiliar word, finally giving up and saying something like, "I don't know anything about that."

    Just a couple of ideas to think over. :)
  10. bobilll

    bobilll Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 8, 2002
    I agree w/ TBF that Han probably wouldn't have even said that much. He might bawl and cry Mama a lot, and I think that that itself will drive his father over the edge. The things that he say might run through his head, but I doubt much of it would come from his mouth.
  11. JediNemesis

    JediNemesis Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 27, 2003
    *shoves tissues out of sight* :_|

    Yeah, I agree with the others - I think I got here a bit late. Three-year-old Han! I have to admit I'm surprised - usually reading about little kids makes me want to throw up. Great writing! :D

    I'll definitely be using this thread.

    Nemesis ;)
  12. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Jan 12, 2000
    Great idea, Mistress_Renata! I've been looking forward to this, and I'll be participating as soon as I have time to actually write out the scene. And, uh, decide which challenge I want to tackle first.
  13. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 2, 2003
    Interesting ... most impressive ... I like the dialogue part. I had opened a thread once, but I think I could learn here, too.

  14. drippyzeo

    drippyzeo Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 11, 2002
    Ok, taking a shot at the non-air duct thing. This is my first "creative" post around here, so be gentle. Sorry it's so long.

    BTW, I'm looking for beta readers, if anyone's interested.


    The room was small, empty, and brightly lit. Too bright. The light reflecting off of the smooth featureless white walls reminded Anakin of the glare Mos Espa gave off at high noon. He kept his eyes on the ground as he paced back and forth, assessing his situation. No windows. One door, with no apparent controls on the inside. No evidence of an access panel on the walls, either.

    He walked to a wall and knocked. The dull rap told him that they were thick and resilient--he wouldn't have been able to penetrate them with his lightsaber, even if he had it.

    Anakin felt an uncomfortable tingle at the back of his neck. He felt like he was being watched. No. He was certain he was being watched, assessed, tested. Anakin turned slowly, deliberately, walked to a corner and sat down. Best not to give away what he was thinking, he decided. He slumped into the corner, bringing his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them. He tilted his head back, closing his eyes. An observer may think he had already given up, but his mind was working rapidly, running through his options.

    He couldn't think of any. His training had not prepared him for this: here he had to wholly rely on himself. And the Force.

    He slowly opened his eyes. The ceiling. It's uniform white plane was broken by two aberrations: the intolerably bright light and a duct that quietly pumped air into the room.

    Anakin considered the air duct out of the corner of his eye, trying not to show the attention he was giving it. It certainly was wide enough to fit him, but it was covered by a metal grille. The ceiling was very high, though, too high for him to reach the duct. Not too far for a Force jump. If he didn't want his jailers to catch on, he'd have to wrench the grille out of the duct with the Force and jump immediately. It would take an incredible amount of concentration, and Anakin doubted that he was adept enough at manipulating the Force to pull it off. But he didn't see any other options. He began reaching out with the Force...

    And stopped short, inhaling sharply. There was something there, on the other side of the grille. Some sort of sensor mechanism. Perhaps it simply monitored the air flow. But it could also be an intruder detection system. Or worse, a security trigger. Anakin shuddered at the thought of being criss-crossed by defensive lasers.

    No, the air duct was too easy. A trap, for sure. He turned his attention to the light. It was too bright, too powerful. Anakin felt exposed in its beams, as if it could pierce even his own thoughts. No doubt a useful element for interrogations. Controlling the lighting would certainly be a valuable asset for his jailers.

    Anakin's eyes widened. Of course! Without any controls inside the room, an interrogator would need some sort of remote access. The light was likely connected to some sort of circuitry running through the ceiling. Perhaps it could lead him to something controlling the door mechanism.

    It was a longshot, Anaking admitted to himself, but he had no other options. He had fiddled with basic electronics when he'd built his pod racer back on Tatooine, but that seemed like a lifetime ago. His cell's circuitry no doubt was far more sophisticated, but hopefully if he tinkered a little, he'd find something.

    Again, he reached out with the Force, focusing his gaze on the light, even though it hurt his eyes. He tried to feel his way around the light's circuitry, run through it, as if he himself were an electron running through it's subatomic pathways...

    The lights flickered.

    Anakin blinked. He was in! He closed his eyes, imagining himself traveling along a path, looking for the door mechanism. He had the sense that he was moving, faster than light, to a destination. He was coming up on a node of some sort, a big bright sphere of light. M
  15. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Jan 12, 2000
    HA HA HA! That was good! I loved the way Anakin stepped out of the cell only to discover that it was raining because he'd short-circuited the fire-control system. I also liked the way Obi-Wan informed him that he didn't pass the test -- but otherwise it would have been an ingenious way to get out of the cell. Funny, too, the way Obi-Wan told him to use the air duct next time.

    Complaints? The occasional mis-use of "it's" where it should have been "its", and a sort of a question, just out of curiosity. Was the air duct really a trap?
  16. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    *Chuckle chuckle chuckle!*

    Very cool....
  17. bobilll

    bobilll Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 8, 2002

    Hehe, if every padawan had to go through that test, no wonder air ducts are so popular!
  18. JediNemesis

    JediNemesis Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 27, 2003
    Nice one! [face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    Still trying to decide which challenge to try first. :D

    Nemesis ;)
  19. Knight-Ander

    Knight-Ander Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2002
    Excellent job, drippy. :D
  20. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Wow, two wonderful stories already!

    Aunecah - you did a really good job of an emotional time for Han. Kids are so hard to write and I really appreciate the effort. I probably would have made him four or five - that way you can increase the language skills a lot without sacrificing the story. Kids change incredibly fast at that age. I know I have problems with writing the language skills for young ones even though I have 2 kids and experience (it is easy to forget how quickly they grow).
    I consider writing young children to be the hardest thing to do in that list that Mistress_Renata posted.
    Other than that, this was a real tearjerker. Great job.

  21. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    drippyzeo - this was really good. Funny and fast-paced, it seemed to draw you in and I didn't even guess the ending!!!
    I couldn't really find anything wrong with it other than what Jane said about it's versus its but I see that in a lot of fics. I think this is perfectly fine.

    A question for the mod. Can the authors post their stories here to the other boards once the "help" is complete? I don't think that everyone on the other boards always get to this board (I didn't know what this writer's resource board was until very recently). The two stories so far (and I expect others as well) deserve a wider audience.
  22. drippyzeo

    drippyzeo Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 11, 2002
    Wow. Thanks for the advice, and apologies about "it's its"--it was late, and I wanted to punch this out before inspiration left me.

    Jane: actually, the way I drafted it, the mechanism would be a sensor that detected someone in the duct. Hence, they'd know that the Padawan passed the test, and they'd open the door. I wanted to put a line in there where Obi-Wan kinda says in frustration "You're supposed to use the air duct!" but I couldn't think of a way to do that without taking away the dramatic effect of the last line. :D

  23. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I'd say yes, people can post their stories in the other forums.

    However, my only condition is that they can be posted on the appropriate boards only after they've been posted up in the laboratory. If they are larger fics, then I don't mind if they are posted on the boards first and then linked too - but I don't want this thread, and neither does Mistress Renata, to turn into a promo thread.


    Edit: I make no sense in the morning
  24. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Mostly, I'd just like to avoid PLEEEASE PLEEEASE PLEEEEASE read my story. But if something you write here gives you an idea that turns into a story and then you want to post it somewhere else, I can't imagine why that would be a problem.

    Goodness, you guys really grabbed the ball and ran, didn't you? Twenty two posts already?! Melyanna PMed me to say she had many more ideas, so I'm hoping she'll agree to be a co-host and throw a few more out to stimulate the creative juices. But remember that if you want to try something that hasn't been suggested, go right ahead and post it. (This is supposed to be laid-back and useful). Oh, and PS --it doesn't need to be a whole complete story. If you just want to do a scene or a paragraph, that's fine, too.

    Very creative take on the air duct idea, drippyzeo. Mostly, I think it works because Anakin's character is well-established as being able to tinker with electronics and energy. If it were Leia or Luke or Obi-Wan, I don't think the alternate escape idea would be as credible. But you made a good choice, and stuck with the characterization, so for Anakin it was plausible to me. I liked that he was trying to think things through, too, assessing his options before taking action. Nice twist at the end, too, that it was part of a test. I certainly wasn't expecting that. Now I'm kind of curious to know...what would happen if it WASN'T a test and his life DID depend on it working? Would the bad guys find out what he was up to in time to stop him? Very intriguing!

    Now since I'm not as familiar with 3-year-olds, I'm not as sure on critiquing Aunecah's segment. (Some actual parents may have to chime in, here). I have to agree with BiggerFish, I think Han would be terrified, probably just screaming or crying "Mama!" Maybe he'd try to attack or run at the troopers, saying "Don't hurt my Mama!" I do think he'd run if he was told to. Is he old enough to be aware of the problems between his parents? Would he know that his father wanted money to go drinking? Kids really have a very self-centered view of the world when they're young. He might be aware that they were fighting and that his Mama cried a lot, but he might not understand what they fought about. The reader can get a lot from the context of the dialogue between the father and the stormtroopers, even if Han doesn't understand. It's tricky to do, writing a scene where the reader understands the subtext when the protagonist doesn't. You gave yourself a big challenge! :)

    It is a tear-jerker, Aunecah, and not a bad start. Why don't you try re-writing it and put it back up? I think you can make it work pretty well; you've got a good start.

    Now I'm going to have to think what to write for my own contribution... grr...

    (Melyanna, anytime you want to throw up some ideas...everyone seems to be raring to go! :eek: )
  25. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Here's my paltry contribution. I didn't do anything on the list, but something slightly different. Feel free to rip apart.


    The girl stood in the middle of the council room, the afternoon sun setting warm golden tones through her thigh long red hair. The ever present breeze that whispered through the council chambers stirred her heavenly curls so that they caressed her face and outlined her slim, supple body. Her green eyes, framed by gloriously long dark lases, blinked calmly as she stared patiently into the pink and golden gloom waiting for the council to speak.

    Master Yoda shifted slightly in the chair, but it was the Jedi in the centre of the floor who spoke first.

    ?My Masters,? She said melodiously, bowing very low, ?I come before you only after saving the Jedi Order from my ex-boyfriend, slaying the Zulan monster before he could devour an innocent boy. I've defeated the last remnants of an ancient evil, and established relations between the two planets of Tu and Bu after years of conflict. I only managed to do this after the horrible death of my Master and my short descent into the darkside. I?m afraid that only your eternal gratitude and my immediate elevation from Padawan to Council member could ever make up for it.?

    There was a pregnant pause as the council members stared at her. The girl could only imagine that they did so out of envy.

    ?Yes, about that.? Mace Windu said clearing her throat as he did so, ?We have several problems with your performance.?

    ?Problems?? The girl?s voice echoed, still so beautiful in its intonation that one could only imagine the sweet singing voice she obviously possessed. The frown on every council member?s face deepened slightly.

    ?For starters,? Mace continued, ?your ex-boyfriend wasn?t going to blow the temple up.?

    ?He wasn?t?? The girl answered incredulously, ?but he had the pliers, wires and timer and he was fiddling with the temple fuse box.?

    ?He was an electrician,? Adi Gallia intoned from the other side of the room, ?he was fixing a blown fuse. And another thing, that Zulan monster was the king?s pet. That boy you saved it from was the kings son. Who, I might add, was very upset when you cut its head off in the middle of playing chase.?

    ?The king is demanding retribution.? Plo Koon added, ?As are the leaders of Bu and Tu.?

    ?But I made friends there.? The girl squealed her peaches and cream complexion turning raspberry.

    ?The warring sides of Bu and Tu have only become friends due to there overwhelming dislike of you.? Mace took up the conversation again. ?They have said ambassadors demanding that we give them trade subsidies as a concession for having to put up with you. Your Master was merely suffering the rodiesian flu and although she may have asked you to kill her ? we are sure that a couple of days of good bed rest would have cured her.?

    ?As for your descent into the darkside.? Adi Gallia said, ?Having one bad day and a temper tantrum does not a dark Jedi make.?

    ?And the ancient evil?? The girl asked twisting white hands over one another.

    Mace Windu flipped his data pad open and scrolled for a few seconds and scanned it.

    ?No,? he said looking up, ?you got that right.?

    Another pause filled the room with its foreboding silence. The girl was looking a lot less calm now, her tunic was beginning to rumple and crease and her skin had a white look to it. Again Master Yoda shuffled in his chair and the young girl turned her large green eyes beseechingly towards him.

    ?Never go unpunished, crimes do.? Master Yoda beamed, ?Sentenced you are, to never be mentioned again.?

    ?But master.? The girl began to waver.

    ?No more shall we hear from you.? The green monster quavered, ?Dismissed you are, Maari-Zu.?
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