It's day three of Sparkfest! What is Sparkfest? If you're still a little confused, check out the Sparkfest Frequently Asked Questions. Late entrants are welcome, and we're going all week, so come join the fun!
I was sitting on the bus. A big kid, a sixth grader, had a green book poking out of her backpack. I saw the word "Jedi." I had to know. I simply had to know.
"Is that Star Wars?" I asked.
"Is it like the movie Star Wars?"
"Oh, well, kind of. These are books about characters outside of the movies." She showed it to me. "This is the first book in the Jedi Academy series."
It was less than twelve parsecs before the fates decided what every cent of my allowance would go to for the next three years of my life.
Star Wars Books
I devoured the Courtship of Princess Leia with the ferocity of a Dathomirian Rancor. My favorite hunk in the entire galaxy far, far way kidnaps Leia the night before her wedding to some prince? The men are all made into slaves on a female-dominated planet? Luke gets his molars exploded by an evil force-witch?! It was love. For me, as well as Leia.
Next up was the Han Solo trilogy, and that's when my allegiance of eternal fandom spread like the blue Ylesian mold to every Star Wars writer out there. I was a fact-reciting machine.
My Dad would pay me 2 cents for every page, just enough for me to go back to the bookstore and buy another. When the third "Han" volume came out, it was the first time in my life that I experienced the sensation of my heart engaging the hyperdrive and making the hump to lightspeed seeing a long-awaited book on the shelf.
But it didn't stop there.
While perusing my local comic shop for Sailor Moon tidbits (yes, my nerdiness knows no bounds, in two-dimensions as well as three), I ran into Star Wars manga. All the dialogue was made up of the movie lines. Verbatim.
I would watch A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi every day after school, accompanied by my Han Solo action figure that made its home in my shirt pocket. I found the fan-secret "golden dice," and would stay in during recess to type up my favorite scenes from memory.
My idea of telling a boy I liked him was kicking his ass at Star Wars trivia.
Which I did often.
--wiiith the trusty help from my Essential Guide to Characters. It was so nifty, everyone's backstories summed up in a few pages, with a character sketch and details all neatly spelled out.
What did this spark in me?
All of my character's backstories summed up in a few pages, with a character sketch and details all neatly spelled out. Except for the hands. I couldn't draw hands. Everyone turned out a little stumpy.
But it led to me realizing that if I wanted to make my story really big, and I mean big, I was going to have to make characters that people would never want to stop hearing about.
Star Wars made me dream in franchises. Not franchises in the sense of money, but in the immortality of characters.
My own immortality.
Because we all know, once you become a jedi, you don't really die. Not your world, or your characters, or you.
At least until Jar Jar Binks walks into the picture.