Borders Books invited authors Troy Denning, John Jackson Miller, and Joe Schreiber to team together for a series of guest blog posts that ran over two weeks on their Babel Clash blog. The guys seemed to have a blast as they wrote about everything from Barabels to world building, from fixing continuity mistakes to plugging favorite books, and from the Carrie Fisher airline upgrade to the ultra rare blue snaggletooth figure. Each blog was fun and informative to read. How about a little taste from each author?
Troy Denning, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
What I Learned Writing Star Wars — part two
“Early in my Star Wars writing days, I was under the impression that I wrote some pretty great space battles. After all, the space battles in Star by Star were described as epic and exciting, and I kept being offered more books. So my space battles had to be good, right?
But after a few more books, I noticed a trend. A lot of readers were saying that they found my battles confusing. Now, this really puzzled me, as I went to great effort to map out maneuvers and think through tactics. And I was very careful to show EVERY aspect of my work in the space-battle chapters . . .
I hope a light-bulb is going off in your head, because it sure did in mine. The readers still found the battles suspenseful, but they were having trouble tracking all of that detail — and that meant the action wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. So I changed my approach to writing fleet actions, summarizing more and concentrating on individual points of view. The comments about being confused went away, and — even better — more comments appeared talking about how exciting the battles were.”
John Jackson Miller, Star Wars: Knight Errant
Eating your mistakes: Turning continuity problems into opportunities
“One of the frequently told stories about the Dark Horse Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series centers on the warrior-woman Jarael. I described her in the plot summary as a member of the Arkanian species, which had been introduced some years earlier in the Tales of the Jedi comics. Artist Brian Ching came up with a great design for her that we instantly fell in love with.
But the problem was — as readers immediately noted — she had several features that Arkanians didn’t. Like pupils! Arkanians have that “blunk-eyed” look, as Walt Kelly said of Little Orphan Annie: no pupils or irises. The Arkanians we’d seen before also had different hands. Meanwhile, while most Arkanians were pale, Brian’s Jarael was paler still, with an alabaster skin tone. And she had something else they didn’t: elf ears!
Now, Brian had made the right calls in designing his visuals: We always wanted her to look cool and different, and we also wanted the character to have expressive eyes. Human-looking eyes came in handy. Her elder companion, Camper, had them, too, only with out the ears. So instead of asking for art changes, I looked in those early days for ways to make everything work — and, in the end, came away with springboards for several plotlines that would run the length of the series. Jarael and Camper were Arkanians, but part of a race of genetically engineered offshoots, a group that had its own culture and issues with the Arkanian powers-that-were. And Jarael’s ears I made part of a second, unrelated explanation — one that ultimately tied into the series-long mystery of her origin. (We also didn’t know on Day One where her tattoos came from; that was a third story springboard!)”
Joe Schreiber, Star Wars: Red Harvest
Top 10 Awesomest Things about being an EU Author
“2) Lifetime 24-hour protection by the 501st [Legion]. On the Death Troopers book tour, I was made an honorary member of Vader’s Fist, which was already incredibly cool, but following the book signing I found out even more exciting news. For the rest of my natural life, no matter where I was, my immediate family and I would enjoy round-the-clock protection by members of the 501st, both in and out of uniform, in the outside world and in my own home. Sometimes I would see them, sometimes I wouldn’t. But simply knowing they’re out there is comfort enough.”
This is just a small taste of the what the three authors posted over the two weeks. You can find all of the blogs in one convenient thread at this Babel Clash Star Wars link.
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