The second of what is shaping to be an annual Star Wars movie release under the new Disney regime is in the wild, and from what I’ve seen the fan and critical consensus is mostly positive. Well, I saw the movie Friday morning, and while I didn’t think it was terrible by any means, I do have some comments on what are (to me) some obvious failings.
(note: if The Yardstick is no longer in the current issue when you read this, click the Archive link and search for Will Weisser to find it).
A little more background for those who are interested: during the very little downtime I had at Worldcon last year, I felt like I needed to write something, having been inspired by the presence of so many great creative types. I free-associated a bunch of random titles in my notebook, most of which will likely never amount to anything, but one that did catch my eye was “The Yardstick.” I have no idea why I wrote down those words, but the idea of a measuring device implied story possibilities to me. What if this yardstick wasn’t regular, but magical? What could it measure? A person? What about them? Perhaps if they were brave enough, strong enough, worthy of some title or distinction?
Over the next couple of weeks I fleshed out the rest of the story without any planning, just making it up as I went, which is not my usual M.O., especially since I rarely write short stories anyway (I’m not nearly brave enough to try and write an entire novel that way). I think it turned out pretty well, and although not everything I start ends up so good, after 4 years I feel like I’m definitely making progress at writing fiction thing, as evidenced by this, the first time someone has paid me up front for my work.
So, please enjoy, check out the other stories on the S&S site, and blog, tweet and otherwise share the fruits of Mr. Ellet’s (and the author’s) labor. Now I’m going back to work on some ideas for my third novel…
Eren Arik is an incredibly talented concept artist from whom I was lucky to be able to commission a piece of artwork. The subject is a scene from Aetheria’s Daemon, my current WIP (click the image for a larger version):
Aetheria’s Daemon is what some might call a non-traditional fantasy novel. It takes place on a world with a landscape and ecology much different from Earth, where all the humans (or at least they think of themselves as human) are immortal, and any object can be conjured from the air with a thought. The elements shown here–the castle, the mountains, the drakenbird and even the dust clouds in the distance are all important elements in the story, but you’ll have to wait to read it to find out what they mean.
What I can tell you about the story is that it begins with Meli, a practitioner of the arts of plant and animal creation. Meli has had a dream in which she is holding a baby, something no one in Aetheria has heard of before. Drawn by a powerful urge to make her vision real, she recruits Ariden, an unsociable vagabond and legendary fighter, and Karis, an aged airship engineer with the appearance of a teen girl, to help make a perilous journey across the ocean. But when an attack by air pirates splits the companions and leads Meli and Ariden to the lair of an ancient cult, they begin to learn the truth of her quest, and its connection with a mysterious being who plots the destruction of all Aetherian life.
You can see more of Eren’s work in his CGHub gallery.
The exposition…here we go…the exposition…what a show!
Ahem. Sorry about that, was channeling Mel Brooks for a moment.
Where were we? Ah yes, exposition. The bane of freelance editors and critique groups everywhere, because generally speaking, exposition is boring. In it’s purest form, it’s simply a way giving the reader information in the simplest, flattest way possible. No plot, no characters, no emotion–all the things we love about fiction are stopped dead so that the budding author-to-be can clearly explain everything he or she thinks you need to know about the cultural mores of his race of talking marmosets.