……..the continuing adventures of a certain Rebel team and their compatriots are finally being told in cinemas across the world.

No, this is not a review, nor will I post any spoilers. This is a reflection of my own enjoyment of Star Wars, its sequels and, to some degree, the prequels.

I was seven when I saw the first Star Wars and by first, I mean the one that introduced us to Luke Skywalker, the Force and a complex villain named Darth Vader. I was so completely enchanted with that universe that I wanted to be a part of it. So I created my own stories and my own character and reenacted entire scenes. I began writing them down and have pages and pages of unfinished and badly written tales. I didn’t know at the time that it was called fan fiction, but that’s what it was.

They weren’t very good, in case you’re wondering. In fact, they’re pretty bad. But I learned a great deal from writing them, so I feel certain fondness for them. I learned about beginnings, endings, dialogue, character and sustaining them all with the multiple plot threads. I learned how to convey subtext without belaboring the point. Because I loved the characters that George Lucas gave us, I enjoyed the process of learning the craft of writing.

These stories were meant for no one’s eyes but my own. I wrote quite a few, featuring characters not only designed for Star Wars, but for my favorite TV shows and books and another popular science fiction phenom, Star Trek (yes, I have unfinished stories for all incarnations of Trek, except the reboot). Now, these terrible little stories live in a box, condemned to darkness and my own private amusement.

Then I realized I had stories and characters of my own that demanded attention and I haven’t stopped writing. What I learned from that foray into fan fiction (a term I became vaguely aware of in my twenties) taught me more about writing than I had ever learned in a formal classroom setting. I would still encourage any aspiring writer to take writing classes, if only to discover a support network, objective ears and to have fun with words.

I’ve always been asked when I started writing, but no one’s ever asked why or how. So, with the opening of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I decided to write about the why and the how.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a lonely farm boy yearned for adventure among the stars. From the moment his uncle bought two droids named C-3PO and Artoo Detoo, he began to walk a path that led him to encounters beyond his wildest imaginings and he took all of us with him.

Advertisements