Good evening, all, and thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to come and read Erin’s blog. Erin says to tell you all that she’ll be back to posting soon enough, if she can ever escape the clutches of that evil mastermind who is her little sister. (Personally, I believe that she is exaggerating. How can an adorable four-year-old girl be an evil mastermind? Unless it was Xanatos who raised her… Never mind. That was an attempt at humor, in case you were wondering. My master always said I was not that good at it…)
You may be wondering who, then, is posting today. You shouldn’t be worrying that Erin’s WordPress account has been hacked. It’s only me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, currently assisting Erin in the capacity of editor. I have regular access to this blog, to ensure that she doesn’t embarrass herself by posting something too badly structured. I have, in the past, taken the liberty of correcting her most flagrant abuses of syntax, grammar, and spelling, normally without her notice, except when I’m forced to read over her shoulder. You really can’t blame the poor girl, though. Fingers slip on the keyboard, Raya slips into Erin’s workspace and pounds on some random keys. Typographical errors happen to everyone.
I should probably tell you why I’m posting today. It’s mostly because Erin can’t be bothered to do it, since she’s currently taking care of Mistress Raya. It’s partly because of a conversation we had last week. We were discussing the effect fans have on a story world… I believe “fandom” is the Internet parlance. I wouldn’t know, actually belonging to one of those worlds myself. Specifically, the conversation centered around fan fiction and fan art, though we began by discussing how various authors discover what they call “story worlds.” Erin and I had never discussed this before. She had recently discussed a book (I don’t know the title, and I’m reasonably sure that she doesn’t recall it,) with her father, in which the main characters had invented a space/time traveling machine–being the avid reader of Madeleine L’Engle that she is, she called it a “tessering device.” The idea that had so intrigued Erin was that every time the characters of this novel entered a separate dimension, they found themselves in the world of a story–and the characters had actually read the stories they found themselves in. Erin speculated that the authors of said stories had somehow gotten into various dimensions by accident and wrote about the things and people they had met there, the better ones without including obvious self-inserts (which is, she said, is strictly verboten.) She wondered if all authors have an innate ability to breach new dimensions, or if they actually create the dimensions by writing about them in this “master dimension.” She seemed to favor the first view, that we characters have always been here, waiting, in our own worlds, just to be discovered. I told her that I would not know, being either a) the denizen of a separate dimension, or b) the figment of someone’s imagination, myself, in the first place. She laughed. That was when the conversation turned to the effect fans have on a story dimension.
She said that the story often evolves with the fans, though it does also happen, conversely, the other way around, listing the extreme popularity of alternate-universe fan fiction and the tendency authors have to want to please their audience to prove her point. I said that it was most likely so, but our lives really aren’t determined by one set “canon”, they’re evolving all the time, as long as the authors really want to work (and play) with us. She looked thoughtful for a moment, then both delighted and triumphant and said that it was true.
“Do you have lives outside of your stories, though?” she asked. “The stories that you live in, I mean.”
“Our lives are continuing, evolving, all the time,” I said, “but you don’t really think I’d tell you about them if we did? There is a reason why I don’t have Facebook.” She found that comment amusing.
“So, what do you think of fan fiction in general?” was her next question. “I may be good at telling what you think and feel in a set situation, but reading you here is out of my league.” And thank heavens for that, too. I happen to like my privacy, just like anyone else.
I told her that it was a pleasure to work with a really good author, and that in my experience she generally knew what she was doing. Even if she sometimes writes horrible situations for me to find myself in, the poor lass is generally very contrite the whole time and for a long while afterwards; once, she sobbed all the way through a very difficult scene. I’ll be tactful and keep her secrets for her. You won’t get a word out of me about what that scene was until she posts it. And even then I just might not tell you. (Anakin would call that secretive streak of mine a result of being named to the Jedi Council, but I think it really came of trying to keep him from driving me insane.)
She wasn’t surprised to learn that some of us aren’t really willing to work with authors who put us in certain situations. We tend to desert them if they really do horrible things to either our families or our honor. And when the author tries to go on without us, it generally results in the phenomenon known as OOCS–Out Of Character Syndrome. I’ve been confronted with it a few times over the years–mainly in the area of romance (which, as Erin has already doubtless told you, she avoids like the plague because there is so much bad romance, probably due to the sheer volume of romance written)–and stories where I’m supposed to inadvertently turn to the Dark Side. What am I to do? Turning Dark is not in my character, at least not really embracing evil. I may have my moments when I’m pressed to my limits–I am human, after all–but having me turn evil instead of Anakin? That is just… insipid.
But I digress.
Erin was surprised to learn that Xanatos redemption fics were really right at their very core. Xanatos never really was evil. He resisted the temptation of wealth and power, and though Crion’s death drove him to the brink, he still overcame his own inner darkness. He’s been a good friend of mine for years. The only reason why he was depicted as evil in the young reader novels that have been published was because the author needed a villain who would ratchet up the tension, so to speak, and also give Qui-Gon a good reason not to want to take me on as an apprentice (in the books), so there would be more tension still, and Xanatos was the only one tolerant enough and willing enough to play the villain. I was actually scared of him, then. I had nightmares for weeks, even though I really knew it was only a sham. I didn’t tell him or Qui-Gon for years, and both of them found it hilarious when I did. (For those who are wondering, the years of my apprenticeship were far too confused for young reader novels, tense, occasionally dark, and very, very convoluted. There was more than just one villain to the story, as in the books, and often the “villains” were not clear-cut. The author needed an actual plot, and many of my real adventures with Qui-Gon were never fully resolved until Palpatine was revealed as the Sith Lord, which explained quite a bit but never really tied up all the loose ends. For obvious reasons, the Sidious reveal could not take place for many years yet, and stories without a legitimate ending, happy or sad, do not make very good reading.) Erin caught me out there–I had inadvertently admitted that we do have lives and stories apart from the ones that are published. I still don’t intend to tell anyone about our personal lives, though. Let us have at least a few secrets, please.
Erin’s next question was about the Star Wars movies proper. How did I feel about my life as depicted therein? Was it very different from what actually happened? The answer is, no. The movies are what actually happened. How did I feel about my actual life then? I think the only answer I can give is that I’ve come to the conclusion that it was inevitable for things to run the way they did. True, there were things I could have done better, and things I regret, but I don’t think I could have actually changed anything–at least, not without the help of others, and knowledge of what was going to happen, and even then I might have only succeeded in making things worse.
At that, the conversation turned back to fan fiction. I commented that, in some stories, we actually live–we really come to life–while in others, we merely exist. It depends on the ability and talent level of the author in question. Then the conversation turned to fan art. For the record, I really do not care much for some depictions of myself out there. Even in fan art, there is such a curse as out-of-character syndrome. She thought it was amusing.
Apparently, there is a drawing circulating which is supposed to be me, but looks more like a character from a vampire romance. I hope that it was merely mis-labeled. However, I fear that whoever did it might have really intended for me to look like… ahem. That’s frankly disturbing, and Anakin teases me about it. I’d rather pose for a portrait while covered in mud.
Erin asked if we, the characters from various story worlds, can actually interact with people from other “fandoms.” We can. I have been friends with Horatio Hornblower for years, and was actually allowed to participate in one of the raids that the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel made on a French-Revolution political prison, outside the books. Master Qui-Gon nearly had a heart-attack at my re-telling, and Master Xanatos found it extremely funny. Also, I have been known to visit Camelot on occasion, and Merlin, Arthur, Gwen and co. once spent April Fools’ Day with us. (For those who were wanting to know, Merlin called Anakin a “prat”, and we did not invite Kilgarrah. The dragon would not fit inside the Jedi Temple, for one thing. For another, he’s slightly creepy and I fear he might be a bad influence on Anakin.)
Of course, Erin had to ask then if I was envious of Merlin, since we seem to have almost identical abilities, but his eyes “glow gold”, which is apparently “cool”.
I also am not much of a romance reader, in case you were wondering. There’s really not much that point to it, as I doubt that most of the authors really have any idea of what they’re writing about. I prefer historical fiction, as is probably obvious, and honest, faithful re-tellings of historical events.
And, since this post is already well in excess of a thousand words, I should probably stop now. Make sure to check out the upcoming “Archives of Selay’uu” stories, upon which this post has a great deal of bearing, and Erin’s other works.
Have a wonderful day, and may the Force be with you.
[Erin’s Note: Hello, everyone! I found this and added the tags, but that’s it. Actually, I’m pretty excited to post this, since Obi-Wan is normally so reticent. 😉 Hope you enjoyed this brief deviation!]