First of all, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is good. I needed a second viewing to tell if it was truly good, or if it was just my Star Wars excitement that made it seem good. My second viewing confirmed it: the movie is very good. I was entertained and emotionally invested in the story and characters. This was not something I could say about The Phantom Menace.
But one thing I’ve noticed in reviews and reactions to the new movie is that people feel the need to mention that The Force Awakens is basically a retelling of Episode IV: A New Hope. This mention is made with a bit of a sigh, as if it’s a knock against the new film.
But it shouldn’t be a knock against it. The Force Awakens DOES retell A New Hope’s story, and that’s a GOOD thing. I’m not breaking any new ground by writing this, but A New Hope was successful in large part because the story Lucas wrote followed the Joseph Campbell/Hero with a Thousand Faces/Hero’s Journey thing to perfection. That is why the story resonated with so many people. It’s one of the classic narratives. I won’t go so far as to say it really IS the monomyth or whatever, but it’s a strong narrative structure that storytellers throughout the ages have returned to again and again. In copying A New Hope, The Force Awakens has tapped into one of the greatest story structures in human history.
This story was originally written as part of NaNoWriMo 2015. To read the complete story, go to the MISCELLANY section of this website.
The Heron said nothing, and Jack had a wicked feeling that the stories weren’t true. This bird wasn’t anything special, just a strange creature that lived alone in an old forest. But then the Heron croaked and it was a terrible broken sound. It rolled its yellow eyes back into its head.
“You okay?” he asked.
“You’re bleeding.” He looked really concerned, like he knew me and cared.
“It doesn’t really hurt.” I wasn’t interested in letting him see me all bloodied and bruised. I wasn’t interested in letting him see me at all. What happened to just being able to forget about him? I had no escape.
“Okay,” he said.
“I’m sorry I crashed into you.” What else could I say? I was on the verge of a total word explosion, ready to start asking him all kinds of questions, inviting him over to go swimming, inviting him over to play or watch a movie or have my grandma make us lunch. Thankfully, I realized the oncoming avalanche before it wastoo late. Before I could start rambling, incoherent and desperate, I hopped back onto my bike.
I made it to 32,154 words. Not bad, not great. I was able to write with more speed this year, but I wasn’t able to carve out enough time to hit 50k winner status. My goal going forward is to schedule my time better and find more time to write (while also not neglecting my family in the process).
I was a bit of a rebel this year — working on short stories that aren’t connected in any way — and doing things the rebellious way was hugely freeing. It helped me increase my words-per-minute speed, and it helped me keep ideas flowing. Whenever I got stuck or wasn’t “feeling it,” I’d switch to the story that had me most excited.
I think I will continue to have a couple of projects going at a time. It feels like a productive strategy. That means, right now I’m finishing up my collection of short stories and also completing my second draft of Thirteen Treasures. Doing both at the same time means I can always open Scrivener and find something to work on; I’m not chained to one particular story.
I didn’t complete my goal of blogging ALL of my short stories during NaNo. I got through a few parts of “Lightning in the Black Bottle,” a part of “Avalon Summer,” and a part of “Treasures Three,” but I didn’t come close to finishing any of those stories or even starting on my other two. That means, in order to make good on my promise of showing you my rough drafts as they are written, I will continue to blog the drafts as I go until all five of them are finished. I hope to have them all wrapped up by the end of December. So if you’re enjoying any of these messy and unbridled creations, stay tuned to the blog.