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BRodgers
30 June 2003, 05:45 PM
Heya you fan fiction nuts.

Thought I would start a thread here involving sex/love in the SW universe in regards to fiction and how it's handled.

Now, whille my buddy Darklighter is still gone (I think he is anyway), I encourage everyone who participates in this conversation to act in a responsible, respectful and adult manner. Thanks.

So...if you are a writer, how do you handle it? What is too much? How far can you go and still maintain the "Star Wars" feel. Is outright description of love making TOO much? does it depend on how it's handled?

I mentioned in another thread that I struggled with this line in some fiction I'm currently working on:

"HIs bare form scurried across the room to retreive his flight suit", and another holonetter thought I went too far.

I can see his point of view, but after having the fiction read several times by not only men but women, all of which are HUGE SW fans and roleplayers, no one seemed to think there was anything wrong with the sentance at all. In fact, I was commended on handling love scenes with respect and dignity befitting the SW mythos.

So does it come down to context? Lets look at the novels and movies....there are several scenes in the classic trilogy where you CAN see nudity, Plain and simple. In the novels, such as Shadows of the Empire, we are treated to a scene in which Leia almost succumbs to the charms of Prince Xizor.

And what if someone does think you went too far, but you feel, as an artist, that you kept the interaction/scene withing the boundries of good taste? Do you have an obligation to change it?
For the record I wont be changing anything. When you refer to a persons bare form, especially in the SW universe, I think it's a very subtle and painless comment to make. Take Wookies for example..they are in their "bare form" all the time.

Characters do not exist in a vacuum. If the bare form line was written in the context of the subject just being dumped out of a bacta tank instead of just having spent time with another person, would the line even warrant a thought or comment? I don't think so.

I liken the situation to fine art. Nudes have been painted for centuries and are still the subject of great works...not becuase the art is supposed to elicit sexual feelings, but because the human form is a wonderous challenge for an artist to depict.

So..thoughts? Discussions? What do you writers/readers think?

ij thompson
30 June 2003, 06:37 PM
Another great topic, Bob!

In my Star Wars writing, I try to keep to the style laid down in the films - which is to say, sexual situations are implied, not directly depicted. This is not because I'm in any way squeamish about the subject, I just don't feel that overt sexuality is part of the 'draw' of Star Wars. In fact, in that regard, I see little difference between sexuality, violence or profanity. Just as I wouldn't depict sex in a story, I also wouldn't throw in gratuitous violence or any common swearing. And I, personally, probably curse at least twenty times a day!

It's all about the vibe, that's how you know you're reading Star Wars. And when I'm looking at a story, and one of the characters says, "Holy sh-t, there's a damn rancor coming after us!", I just stop reading - because if I'm taking the time to read SW fan fiction, I want SW. Not regular joes I'd meet in the street surrounded by SW hardware. And if I want adult situations, I'll just follow one of the 200 or so links I get in my email every day! ;)

BRodgers
30 June 2003, 06:53 PM
I hear that IJ!

I tend to stick to the "leave off /pick up" method when it comes to the love scenes. Basically I leave off right before anything serious happens and then pick up immdeiately after...if people want erotica there are plenty of sites out there that deal in SW erotica...personally, I just don't have the interest.

I think depicting the personal relationships are important, but the phsycial relationships are not. What is said (or sometimes not said) between the characters is way more important than demonstrating that they can mate.

I think it was David Gerrold who said "Sex scenes are easy to write..Love scenes are HARD"

In regards to language, I tend to use nothing stronger than what you would find on prime time ajor network television. Star Wars has already kinda set the parameters for that...not to mention it' so much more FUN making up fictitious curse words. Frell, Frag, Nerf Chucker, Nerf Lips, laser brain are all a lot more entertaining and appropriate than anything crass or off color.

:D

Jedi_Staailis
30 June 2003, 07:19 PM
I don't see anything wrong with that particular line. While sex is never even directly implied in the movies themselves, physical attraction is definitely a part of the story. In the books, specifically Shadows of the Empire and the X-Wing novels, the topic is tackled more directly, but, in my opinion, still fitting within the spirit of Star Wars. And the level of description in those books is very similar to your sample line.

A physical relationship says something about the characters, and is an important part of who they are. Neglecting it completely makes them much less real. That said, we don't really need all of the details of a sexual encounter. I think you're balancing it well with your writing.

BRodgers
1 July 2003, 04:28 AM
Originally posted by Jedi_Staailis
I think you're balancing it well with your writing.

Thanks Jedi Staailis !

I've said before in another thread that I think fiction writers, when dealing with the SW universe, have an obligation to the mythos to stay true to the feeling of the source material and not to deviate too much.

I often like to reference the X-Wing novels and other EU stories as examples of this, since they are licensed LFL properties. If George seriously had an issue with something in those novels, it wouldn't see print. Just as it was with one of the NJO books; a writer wanted to kill off Luke Skywalker and Geroge outright nixed that proposal.

The SW universe is a vast playground for a writer. Be it someone pounding out RPG fiction or a writer working on the newest mass market paperback. But, playground or not, I think it comes down to how mature you treat the subject matter and the amount of respect you have for the material.

I just simply couldn't imagine writing a detailed sex scene between Anakin and Padme'. It would just feel unnatural to me, given how the characters have been presented and the emotional connection the films create with those characters.

Darklighter
3 July 2003, 09:25 AM
Hi Bob! Yep, I'm around. Good topic here, so I'll weigh in. :)

Different authors, and fans, are going to want to explore different plots and possibilities. I've enjoyed your fiction, Bob. You know that. And I guess I'm not bothered by the flash of some skin, because it seemed relatively seamless and appropriate to the moment.

Some writers, though, are going to want to explore a variety of off-screen possibilities. Episodes 4 and 5, for instance, introduced a slew of questions. What were the Clone wars? What happened with those bounty hunters on Ord Mantell? The tension between Han and Leia was obvious in Empire Strikes Back. Had something happened between them?

So we construct fantasies about the fantasy - Star Wars. And some of those fantasies are sexual. How far have things *really* gone between them? We start heading into erotica, or at least into some steamy scenes - and maybe some funny ones too. In one of those X-wing novels, I believe Corran Horn relates a tale about his consequences of spending a night with a particular alien female: an allergic reaction! :) Star Trek asks some of these questions too.

Now I've read some fan-fic erotica, and it's usually pretty bad, but I've had a laugh or two as well. Still, the SW fan fic that I have enjoyed most has typically depicted sexual tension, and love, without heading into the explicit details of the physical act. Both the tension and 'the love' are important elements of Star Wars, and most other adventure ficton, in my opinion.

But part of this topic is, how do you handle it? (sex, nudity, handling the tension, etc.) As a writer, I try to stay true to the moment. If a flash of nudity makes sense in a particular situation, I'll put it in. I have yet to want to write a love scene for any of my Star Wars stuff, but if I think it works, and I feel like I can do the scene justice, a love scene may get written. Some of my poetry has had explicit moments. If, after I've written such a scene, it sticks out like a sore thumb instead of adding positively to the piece, or working with the flow of it, I'll cut it. I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is that I won't rule out the possibility, but that it has to work with, or serve the interests of, the larger story.

Of greater concern for me lately is the depiction of drugs and violence. I've begun something that explores growing up under Imperial oppression on an Outer Rim industrial world - and that oppression is an ever-present, in-your-face brand. The teen-aged protagonist is part of a swoop gang who, like his friends, is rebelling against Imperial propaganda, in the school as much as anywhere else. This group knows they face conscription in the Imperial forces as soon as they are old enough, and consequently, they spend a great deal of their time living it up. They get into fights, petty crimes, attend the SW equivalent of raves, go to underground rock shows (usually anti-imperial in flavour), and score drugs and illegal holos off of various contacts they've developed in their 'activities'. Their parents are pulling longer and longer hours in the factories and refineries as the Civil War is at its peak (sometime after Endor). This is the setting and background I establish.

Basically, their world is harsh, their futures bleak, and they live a rough life.

Later on, they've reached a point where they're rebelling. (I won't relate the circumstances, but there's a big spark.) They've killed two Imperial soldiers (in a sort of 'didn't start it but finished it' sense), and it looks like one of their own number is going to sell them out to the Empire. They chase this guy down and kill him. It's a brutal scene, actually. He's shot, and dying, and they don't know what to do. If they take him to the hospital, they're all as good as dead, and they know it. One of the members, furious with the betrayal, kills the Judas with a knife. Tough scene to write, but important. They're committed to fighting the Empire from this point on, and re-making themselves as freedom fighters.

So here I have a story that I really like (though it's not done yet). It's the story I want to write. But I face a dilemma in which I openly question whether or not I can share this with anyone. I certainly doubt it would be appropriate to post it here, in the very forum I moderate. (There has to be an irony in that, somewhere.) I mean, there's drug use, criminal activity, and at least one scene of very harsh violence.

Still, I suppose if I were to use modern television standards as my guideline, it might be OK. :)

BRodgers
3 July 2003, 03:12 PM
Oooooh, sounds like a pretty compelling story Darklighter! I would like to check that one out when you are done.

I agree with you, I think you basically have to "go wtih the moment" and find a way to stay grounded iin the SW universe.

For example, in some of the RS fiction coming up, some rpetty horrific things happen. So how do you write them? I mean, other than Lukes run-in with the Rancor, how many truly "Scary" moments have been in the films? Not many (and really the Rancor thing wasn't THAT scary was it?)

I think, when you start exploring the boundries of the SW universe and hitting on themes that rarely occur in the movies and maybe only sporadically in the books, you have to almost "create" a hybrid atmosphere of whatever emotion you are trying to evoke peppered with SW. The upside is that you may succeed and create some really interesting fiction and a successful hybrid, the downside of course being that you may fall short of your goal and the hybrid comes off, well, not so much Star Wars but rather standard sci-fi fare, which isn't to say thats really a bad thing.

So! What about rating the fiction on a site? Do you guys think it would be a good idea to stick a G-PG-PG13-NC17-R rating on fiction when posted? Would it even really matter? Is it too restrictive? A waste of time?

Eager to hear your thoughts!

:D

Coming soon: SWWG-The Star Wars Writers Guild!!!

Just kidden!

:P

Kanner Ra'an
3 July 2003, 06:14 PM
I dont really have any problem with sex or nudity in Star Wars. As long as the actual sex is not the dominating theme of the story. Just nothing really obscene, thats out of the star wars style.


So! What about rating the fiction on a site? Do you guys think it would be a good idea to stick a G-PG-PG13-NC17-R rating on fiction when posted? Would it even really matter? Is it too restrictive? A waste of time?

Eager to hear your thoughts!


I think its a waste of time. Violence and drug use just have no effect on me, which is fairly common now. As long as the story doesn't say "Drugs good, go do." then their should be no logical problem. If you really feel its bad then a little "Contains violence and drug use" at the start will warn off anybody really sensitive. By the way Darklighter that story sounds really interesting, i definatly want to see it.

Im trying to right my own fiction right now, but its going slow thanks to my poor ability to write character interactions. It does contain a lot of violence and the one night stands (not described).

Darklighter
3 July 2003, 07:22 PM
Hey, thanks for the positive feedback on some of the plot line, guys. Bob, you know you'll be the first to see any of it. :)

And I agree with your point about drawing on other genres to create a hybrid story for those situations when the SW genre doesn't really meet your needs. My story, for instance, draws a little on my cyberpunk readings, and maybe a little on the Basketball Diaries (more the movie than the book for that latter text, I suspect). These books and films have given me a gritty feel to draw on. Basketball diaries gives me a source for a kind of lost youth, or youth gone wild/awry. Cyberpunk gives me that raw kind of cynicism I think I need in the face of a technological world in which power is held by the wealthy and the connected. Star Wars draws it back with a sense of hope - of taking control and making a difference. And there are swoops! :D

Anyway, that's an example I'm working with right now where I have found myself drawing on influences outside SW in order to meet the needs of my story.

As for ratings or disclaimers, this is the web. Anybody can get anything they want - but they often get things they don't want. I say, given the medium, I'll maybe put a rating or a disclaimer of some kind. "Here there be scenes of explicit violence and drug use", or something like that. Some might respond, "Really? Cool! Let's read it." But others may pause. It may be a 'thing to make you go hmmm'. :) And I think such disclaimers appropriate. I'm not big into the R, PG, or whatever ratings. Just tell 'em. It's violent, has sex, depicts alternate lifestyles, whatever. You, the author, will save yourself hate mail later. I guess you could call it the 'fair warning' rule. They ignore the warning, that's the reader's problem - and maybe their joy. It's the latter we hope for.

lynnlefey
7 July 2003, 04:23 PM
In the past year and a half, I've written enough fiction to equal an entire (rather lengthy) book. It ranged in its 'rating' from G to probably X. The site I posted most of it on is an adult site, where no minors are supposed to go, so I write what I feel like writing.

If I wrote more Star Wars fiction, I doubt I'd write a lot of direct sexual scenes. I'd also probably add a discalimer if the violence got too brutal.

My personal feeling is that the Star Wars setting is epic fantasy. Doing 'gritty realism' in the setting seems a bit off to me. Know what I mean?

I am not trying to disuade authors from doing whatever they are interested in, but for my taste, Star Wars will most likely remain Epic Fantasy.

Now, tonight I'll probably have a great idea for a gritty, realistic Star Wars story! LOL

BRodgers
8 July 2003, 05:21 AM
Originally posted by lynnlefey

Now, tonight I'll probably have a great idea for a gritty, realistic Star Wars story! LOL

I know exactly how you feel lynnlefey !

I think, as writers, it's only natural to want to create something that, while it's true to Star Wars, also carries your own "voice". If you can write a gritty SW story, but retain that certain "magic" that goes along with the mythos, then I think you are on the right track.


I'll be honest, I think AOTC really kinda expanded on the SW underworld in ways that I didn't expect it to. When Obi Wan and Anakin walk into the Club Outlander and the first thing you see is some woman in a thong..well, I think the gloves were off at that point.

granted, Leia wore much less in ROTJ, but there were an unusual set of circumstances surrounding that.

Taking it a step further, the Bounty Hunter video game also reveals a very seedy and dirty side of the SW galaxy, but, IMHO, still maintains that "SW feel" pretty well.

:)

Seghast
31 July 2003, 09:30 PM
Well, I think this thread is overdue for my ten cents worth of input...

I've seen some of the SW erotica, too, and I usually want to go smack the person that wrote it. Yes, we've seen tidbits in the movies like RotJ and in books like Shadows, but it was left open-ended.

I hate that.

I like having questions answered. Open-ended bothers me to no end (no pun intended).

So, when I was writing a SW story and realized I was heading towards a sex scene, I had to figure out a way to handle it on my own.

I described the events prior to the act, and cut it off as they headed towards the bedroom, implying what was to come. The next paragraph checked in on a different character elsewhere and what he was doing (seeing his own death in a vision of the future, always a fun thing).

Then I came back to the two lovers...

Below this paragraph, I'll paste that small paragraph. Consider this the warning of what's ahead, though it's not graphic (I don't think so, anyway). Though, if anyone else feels it was too much for SW, I encourage you to let me know.

(I think I'll begin the excerpt here...)

A thousand thoughts and emotions raced through Ryo’s mind as he kissed Dana yet again, with her pulling him closer, holding him tighter. A thousand words shot through his mind as his brain tried to describe what was happening. Life. Love. Unity. The Force. Existence. Eternity. Hope. Miracle. Dream. Fantasy. Reality. Completion. Heaven. Peace. Passion.
Perfection.

(and thus concludes the excerpt)

And that was it. No more. I have questioned if it was a bit much, but decided that I didn't really believe so. That was how I handled a sex scene, for what it's worth to ya, Baron.

BRodgers
1 August 2003, 11:09 AM
Well done Seghast!

See, I think you keep your prose very much in the Star Wars "feel". You let us know something is coming, you eloquently give us enough to know whats going on but you leave the "raw" parts to our imagination. A young child hearing it might envision something much more pure and simple than what an adult would piece together in their minds.

Thanks for sharing the excerpt!

:D

Nafai
1 August 2003, 11:52 AM
Well I think yer all a bunch of pervy hobbit fanciers... ;)

Seriously though, I don't care what the genre--if you describe too much detail in a sexual encounter, even when intercourse isn't what's happening, it ruins it.

This is just one of those things that if you can tell the reader what the character's intentions or thoughts are, it's better. Humans have different ideas of what's beautiful, erotic, compelling, attractive, gross, etc., and if you let the reader fill THOSE details in, then you've written well.

When the author forces his concepts of those things onto the reader, it often ends up reading as nothing more than smut.

Seghast, I agree, that was well done. Your director's choice of switching to another character for a bit is very good as well, and very much in line with Star Wars, and good story telling in general.

Seghast
1 August 2003, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the kind words, guys. I just hope that helped the good Baron, as he started this thread. :)

Vash Knives
23 November 2003, 01:13 PM
For frell's sake just do what you consider to be relevant to the story. With SW there is almost no indications that the woman where underwear on a regular basis-or sleep wearing anything at all...SW authors indicate nudity without going into detail. Almost every time I have read a part of a book where a women is waking up she seems to be naked-without definative proof either way. Indicate the possibility but don't go into detail.

BRodgers
23 November 2003, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by Vash Knives
For frell's sake just do what you consider to be relevant to the story.


Well, Vash, if it were that simple we wouldn't even have a thread about it, would we?

For you,

"Indicating the possibility wihtout going into detail" is how
YOU would handle the problem...but there are other writers out there who have all manner of how they interpret tricky scenes and what they think is reasonable, including wrtiers who feel you need to go into extrememly graphic detail when describing things like nudity, violence or sex.

Not everyone agrees on a single way to present information, and there are certainly no "right" or "wrong" ways ...even when dealing with Star Wars.

Kyle Pantrakahs
27 November 2003, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by Jedi_Staailis
In the books, specifically Shadows of the Empire and the X-Wing novels, the topic is tackled more directly

I seem to remember it in "Rebel Stand" as well. As I recall, Twi'lek Jedi Knight Alema Rar asked Lando if he wanted to "celebrate" after they had wiped out a group of Vong warriors. He declined, saying he was a married man. Who says Lando's not a man of character? ;)

Well, anyways, like many here, I tend to go with the implied scene tactic, which we see in several of EU books. I would not put anything sexually graphic in a SW story, but I have to admit I have trouble with the violence in my stuff getting gratutitous.

Warning, excerpt of mine:
Kyle ducked under the warrior's right hook, feeling the rush of wind as the blow sailed by. He deftly sidestepped and resumed his en garde stance. The Vong roared and heaved to with a strong left jab, claws aimed straight for the Jedi's eyes. Kyle grunted as he jerked to the left, causing the alien to overlunge. A perfect opening.

With a powerful upward swing, the right blade of double saber slashed across the warrior's throat in a brilliant emerald flash. The Vong abruptly froze, his narrow eyes widened in surprise. He wheezed, his claws slowly retracting as the tattooed hands involuntarily wrapped around his wounded neck. For hour-long seconds he stared at the Jedi; standing in silent, vain denial of his defeat.

At last he fell, first onto his knees, then onto his face. He spasmed once or twice, and expired with a hoarse gasp.




I dunno, too graphic? :? I don't really think so, as I have written much worse in my day. ;)

BRodgers
28 November 2003, 05:58 AM
Not at all Kyle ,

I think it is a well written passage and it seemd to flow smoothly. Nice work!

Darklighter
28 November 2003, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by Kyle Pantrakahs

I seem to remember it in "Rebel Stand" as well. As I recall, Twi'lek Jedi Knight Alema Rar asked Lando if he wanted to "celebrate" after they had wiped out a group of Vong warriors. He declined, saying he was a married man. Who says Lando's not a man of character? ;)



Yeah, he kind of blew it there, didn't he? Just kidding. :D

I think your passage is well-written. Nicely done!

In my mind, it's surprising how much the sex has drawn attention as an issue in SW fan fic. I have to admit that I found some of the violence in the NJO novels a little disturbing, and it's pervasive. Just as disturbing is how this violence often stands in for a certain kind of sexual activity. The Yuuzhan Vong 'embrace of pain', and the way some of the YV characters experience it, makes it a stand-in for an S&M experience, at least in my opinion. In any case, much of the violence in that series is tremendously graphic. In comparison, a little gentle eroticism placed at an appropriate plot or character development point seems, to me at least, relatively harmless.

Kyle Pantrakahs
28 November 2003, 08:00 PM
Thanx for the compliments on my excerpt, everyone. :)


The Yuuzhan Vong 'embrace of pain', and the way some of the YV characters experience it, makes it a stand-in for an S&M experience, at least in my opinion. In any case, much of the violence in that series is tremendously graphic. In comparison, a little gentle eroticism placed at an appropriate plot or character development point seems, to me at least, relatively harmless.

Definitely agree with ya there.

Corpus Juris
10 December 2003, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by Darklighter
Of greater concern for me lately is the depiction of drugs and violence. I've begun something that explores growing up under Imperial oppression on an Outer Rim industrial world - and that oppression is an ever-present, in-your-face brand. The teen-aged protagonist is part of a swoop gang who, like his friends, is rebelling against Imperial propaganda, in the school as much as anywhere else. This group knows they face conscription in the Imperial forces as soon as they are old enough, and consequently, they spend a great deal of their time living it up. They get into fights, petty crimes, attend the SW equivalent of raves, go to underground rock shows (usually anti-imperial in flavour), and score drugs and illegal holos off of various contacts they've developed in their 'activities'. Their parents are pulling longer and longer hours in the factories and refineries as the Civil War is at its peak (sometime after Endor). This is the setting and background I establish.

Basically, their world is harsh, their futures bleak, and they live a rough life.


I'll just second what's been said about this elsewhere in the thread: Sounds like helluva story, Darklighter, please let us know when it's done or when some of it is released and where.

Cheers
Peter

Darklighter
10 December 2003, 08:29 AM
Thanks for the interest, Corpus Juris! I'd set this one down for awhile, but I'm going to pick it up again over the Christmas period.