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Old 01-30-2014, 09:50 AM   #1
machievelli
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Same old, same old

Location, Location, Location

Roger Ramjet, newly minted Officer in the Republic is sent on a mission beginning on Tatooine...

A lot of stories I have read over the years could pretty much be summed up by that one sentence. All well and good. However as I learned back in the mid 80s trying to sell a short story in my own Gryphonrider series (Which later became a chapter of Gryphonrider II) editors who are buying stories look for lazy authors that can't think of a proper starting point.

Not to buy, but to throw aside.

You see, if the start is a generic stereotype, the story probably is almost as bad. While generic means 'the same as the others', it also means the author isn't willing to work, they would rather just take a scene they remember, drop it in, and put their character in the scene in the place of the hero of the original. I have lost count of the times the villain has both hands cut off by the hero, or slices off an attacker's arm. Back when the third movie of the original SW series came out, I heard several fans in the line say pretty much 'All right, who's arm (or hand) gets cut off this time?'.

With all of the locations from the movies, TV series and books, why do we keep coming back to just four or five? Worse yet, the places don't grow beyond where we first see them. Yavin IV is still some rock with ancient temples in a jungle. Korriban is still where the Sith hang out, and both Dantooine and Tatooine are the worst.

Face it, a planet is not going to just stay the same after several thousand years, or for that matter several hundred years. Look at our own planet, or for that matter the US itself. We went from a place with a stone age society when it was discovered in 1492, to a nation of 300 plus million who came from all over the world. Not bad in less that 600 years. Yet 4,000 years after we see Dantooine in KOTOR, it is still the same wasteland it was when we first saw it in ANH. In fact the only difference between the two views is that there is a second city, Mos Eisley instead of just Achorhead. Dantooine, which is a pastoral farming planet only mentioned in ANH, was exactly the same in KOTOR 1 and 2, and was still one when the New Republic relocated refugees there in the EU.

The universe is not a static stage. It is a dynamic force that is constantly changing. So why, with several hundred planets mentioned in the wookiepedia, do we always see those two, Korriban, Yavin IV, and Coruscant? It's like writing a sweeping epic of American History where the only place names are from Texas, New York State and California. For a simple question, why is it that with three inhabited moons and planets in the Yavin system, no one ever goes anywhere but IV?

It's because the authors are lazy. No other real reason I can see.

So do this for me; Look in the Wookiepedia, find a planet. Better yet, copy the page into a document file, mark the planets I mentioned with the note not to use, and when you start your new story, find one not on that list.

Better yet, assume that galaxy is like our own, with a hundred million stars, and probably as many planetary system. Make one up! That's what writers do!

It will make my reviews a little less caustic.

Oh, BTW, if you want to find my list of overused planets, I haven't created one, as yet. But as the Headsman in the Mikado sings, 'I have a little list'...


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
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Last edited by machievelli; 01-30-2014 at 09:52 AM. Reason: additional diatribe
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