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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

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Star Wars

So, when I was seven years old…….

……….my dad took me and my brother to see a movie. This was not an unusual thing – he would take us to see a lot of movies as we grew up (most notably, JAWS 2 when I was 8 and my brother was 5).

This movie was different. I remember asking my dad, “Why is it called Star Wars?”

He replied, “Because it’s about a war in the stars.”

I didn’t understand that (I was 7), but I loved that movie with all my little girl heart. I loved it so much, I wanted to be in it.

So I made up stories to amuse myself. And I added myself into those adventures of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and Leia Organa. I was Leia’s best friend and Han’s little sister (whether by blood or in spirit, I don’t remember).

I got two of every Leia action figure available at the time, so that my character could be on the same worlds as the others. I wrote myself into the movies and had side adventures where they joined me and my Wookie co-pilot.

Star Wars is why I started writing. Leia Organa is the template of all my female leads and the friendships they form.

Sherlock Holmes may be my first love, but Carrie Fisher was my first hero, with intelligence, wit, humor, kindness and no fucks to give.

Recommended:
Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Credit: Pacify Mind
Photo Credit: Pacify Mind

Thirty-two years and seven months later, in a galaxy far, far away…….

……..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.

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