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I Just Don’t Care

I’m going to admit something today that will probably get me shunned. Something that some of you may have a hard time accepting. I fully understand if you want to unfollow my blog after this. Are you ready for this confession?

I really dislike Star Wars.

I was going to say I ‘hate’ Star Wars, but I realized I don’t have an intimate enough relationship with the franchise to actually hate it. I very much don’t find anything enjoyable or entertaining about it. I have an aversion to it, really. That sounds more reasonable, I guess. If you love Star Wars you probably shouldn’t read the rest of this post, because I’m not going to change my mind and give it any credit before the end.

Okay, for everyone who stayed:

Perhaps I don’t like Star Wars because, with a few exceptions, I don’t like sci-fi in general. I entirely don’t like space opera-y type stuff. Star Wars is just not my thing. I never even watched any of the first three (or whatever sequence they’re in, I really don’t know) movies until my mid-twenties when my ex-husband (who very much likes Star Wars) made me watch them. I found them so unremarkable I barely remember anything beyond the pop-culture references and that, like–some people were being squished in a room? Siblings kissed to make the space jock guy upset?

A few years later, a friend of mine (who also very much likes Star Wars) dragged took me to see Revenge of the Sith. I can confidently say until this very day, I have never seen a worse movie. From the wooden acting to the fact the ‘plot’ was just a vehicle for the special effects, I had never been so underwhelmed in my life. But here, we come to the actual writing point of this post!

One thing I still remember being driven home for me at the time, for I was a writer then too, is that they sort of foisted upon the audience that we’re supposed to identify with Anakin’s angst over Padme because for goodness sakes she’s his wife. Amongst all the other horrible tropes in the movie, we’re just supposed to implicitly feel emotional about it because they’re married. This sat so wrong with me then and underlined such an important rule of writing that even all these years later, I’m reminded of it everytime I see it in action.

The issue is this: Revenge of the Sith was not by far the only movie–or book–where the author(s) simply expect the viewer/reader to care about a relationship based on what it fundamentally is. “Of course you must understand/identify/have an emotional connection because character x is character y’s wife/husband/brother/sister/father/mother/best friend/cousin!” I mean, who can argue with that?

All well and good, but not all of us have the same life experiences. Some of us don’t have a wife/husband/brother/sister/father/mother/best friend/cousin, or we don’t love/care about our wife/husband/brother/sister/father/mother/best friend/cousin. Some of us don’t speak to those people or would like to see them buried in a pit. You’re not going to make me instantly identify with the connection characters have just because they have a socially-recognizable relationship. For example, I don’t understand anecdotes about the close relationship between cousins because I don’t actually have any cousins.

So how can you make sure your readers come to identify with a relationship they may not have–or that they may have, but are not going to readily accept because you say so? This is done by building character and by showing the relationship in action, and in peril. Saying ‘our bond is strong because we’re married/related!” is not enough to make us care. Show us why we should care. Show us the relationship, the emotions, the things they love about each other and how they connect and interact. Give us a reason to care beyond ‘because everyone cares about that person!’ Show us what they’ve been through and why their bond has survived it.

  • What mutual interests or concerns do they share?
  • What has their life been like together? What have they been through?
  • What do they tell each other–and what secrets do they keep?
  • How do they resemble each other? How are they different?
  • Why would it be hard for one to live without the other, beyond the formalities of their relationship?

I never cared about Anakin and Padme, mostly because they were little more than accesories in a CGI-fest, but also because I’m not going to feel their angst just because they’re married. If it makes you feel any better, I thought Mr. and Mrs. Smith was an awful movie too, and didn’t emotionally connect just because they were husband and wife.

I apologize to any Star Wars fans out there. Maybe the movies got better, but I don’t plan to find out. Thank you for not breaking my knees because I used it to make a writing point! Please don’t break my knees, I need them to walk.

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

8 thoughts on “I Just Don’t Care Leave a comment

  1. I read anything and everything Star Wars and I can answer all those questions you posted.
    BUT not as much from watching those first movies alone, without the expanded Star Wars universe. The new ones–Love them. Star Wars changed my life and the way I view story. Star Wars set me on the path of writing stories. I saw 1st movie 10 times in 1977 and the same with 2nd and 3rd. Collected everything SW too that I could. I have a nice one today although I have gotten rid of some and just kept selective things. Have all the books in print, e-book & audible but been collecting for years too. Digital games too.

    I see a lot when I watch Star Wars the fight against tyranny and oppression, a coming of age and losing those you love most young. Feeling angry at the world because of that loss and wanting to change things. (I related because I lost mother really early and my dad a few years later so that gripped me.) Growing up making new friends and making grown up decision barely out of childhood while having the enthusiasm of youth and gung-ho attitude as well as know it all. Star Wars has emotional impact for some, spiritual impact in some ways with the looking within and trusting yourself and keeping faith in something you cannot see or fully understand. The cool factor of the magic of the Force, space travel in really cool vehicles. Lots of symbolism in SW connected to universal themes. For me, it is a deep world and I love to go there. I RPG for years in that world.

    The brother/sister kiss yuck!!, Yeah didn’t like that so ignore it, so happy it was not followed up on. Don’t know what Lucas was thinking with that.

    So I don’t agree that it is just superficial, but I do see why you think there is no depth to the story. You do make some valid points for the surface of SW and the first movie. I have just always seen so much deeper into it from the beginning, but I do get why you say what you say. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but my SW library is extensive and growing and probably will as long as I live and they continue to write it. Movies too. In fact, for my birthday, which is tomorrow, I have promised tickets to see Rogue One in December. (The X-Wing series was a favorite in the SW expanded universe books.) Last year I received tickets to The Force Awakens and loved it and yup, now own it.

    No, I don’t hate you. Love you and still buy all your books too. Everyone has a right to their opinion and preferences, besides, lots of people don’t care for SW especially girls. It is only in my later years I found females as crazy about it as I am and they are still few.

    Hugs,
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    Thought I’d give some answers to the questions: I know won’t change how you feel and is not why I wrote all that or meant as a counter to anything. You have some good points. Just showing some love for one of my favorite subjects. I’m having fun with this. Hope you don’t mind.

    What mutual interests or concerns do they share?
    Fight against tyranny & oppression
    Establishing a new government and fighting for the right to a new way life with opportunity for everyone while dealing with life and death odds, multi-interspacial cultures and ways.

    What has their life been like together? What have they been through?
    Well, they are friends just meeting so nothing together until that moment forward,but they had lives before The Death Star and they create lives together after The Death Star. They all have concerns for freedom and fight against tyranny as a universal concern within the universe, except Han Solo who says he is just in it for the credits,but again character believes a lie about himself.

    What do they tell each other–and what secrets do they keep?
    Han Solo has lots of secrets, so does Leia, but Luke is pretty much what you see is what you get. Yeah, none of that is fleshed out well in the 1st movie, but some things appear implied to me.

    How do they resemble each other? How are they different?
    They are alike in that they all believe their own opinion and world view outlooks and their personal reasons for the actions they take, however, that is the lie the characters tell themselves. They have to find something bigger than themselves and Leia has to learn to trust others with what is important to her. Different–One is a smuggler different type of life, one is a princess and later a senator and the other is a farmboy from a backwater planet–very different walks in life creating different types of peoples coming together to achieve a specific goal. They all have their own ideas.

    Why would it be hard for one to live without the other, beyond the formalities of their relationship?

    Well, a little harder to answer without relationships because it is 3 people just meeting and teaming up due to circumstance, so no real history between them yet. However, they learn a lot from each other, force each other to grow and make decisions, challenge each other, forge strong friendship bonds and accomplish some major things as a team for their cause and fight as time goes on. Again the books add a lot of richness to this story as I read over the years and maybe I would not be SW addicted if I had not read them, but I still really like it first time I saw it.

    Like

    • I’m very glad you brought the opposite view to this post and explained your love of the franchise. I think it’s important to share why we feel differently about things. It would be a super boring world if we all felt exactly the same way about everything. I’m a strong supporter or sharing our reasons for thinking differently.

      I know there are a lot of people who love and passionately defend Star Wars as you have, and that tells me there’s something to it. It’s unfortunate that I don’t connect with it. I always feel a bit left out when people are into something hugely popular and it doesn’t resonate with me. But in that same vein, there’s things I’m passionately into that other people don’t like, even my own friends. It’s all good though, like I said, it would be a boring world if we didn’t have differences!

      I’m happy you stopped by to explain your point of view with me. Even if I will probably never connect with the franchise, I respect your reasons for loving it!

      Like

  2. The writing problems in all the movies with Anakin where awful! But they are really great ways to make writing points, left and right, like “pay attention to your back story and plan your series so sibling relationships don’t happen.” When the first Star Wars movie came out, it was a stand-alone, and thus there was no sibling relationship to worry about. It was a basic love triangle. And then I think they were worried about what would happen if Luke, their “main character,” didn’t end up with Leia, so they made him her brother so that he wouldn’t be mad or completely lose out in the end.

    I think it was a very cheap cop-out, like so many of their other ways to “explain things,” but because Star Wars was designed to be a vehicle for special effects and all the other things George Lucas wanted to do, I can’t blame him for the bad writing–but it certainly serves as a good “writer-beware” series. 🙂

    Like

    • It certainly does! I also find it hilarious that no one could come up with a better way for Luke not to ‘get the girl.’ I mean you could have introduced a different girl for him, or you know, just have Leia tell him she wasn’t interested…gasp!

      Liked by 1 person

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