Midi-Chloriens World Building

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So, a bit of updating before I jump into the true post.

A couple cool things happened to me in the past three weeks.  It doesn’t explain the radio silence, but still, I’d like to share anyways.

  • I got back the last round of edits from my editor for AVENGARDE.
  • There’s a cover (and it looks badass–I’ll post it here and on my Facebook page when its finalized).
  • Short story competition round-up on May 31–whew!  Fingers crossed for the “long list.”  (Yes, that’s a thing.  Comes before short list, don’tchaknow?)

Anywho, little old me finally saw the Star Wars Rogue 1 trailer (felt the hype, of course), and this got me thinking about Wookies, parsecs, the Force, &c.

There are various and sundry complaints about the “prequel” trilogy (PT, or POS to some) in comparison the the “original” trilogy (OT), but one misstep has always stood out to me (I know you’re thinking “Jar Jar!” but that’s not it… just hear me out).  The Force is treated very differently from trilogy to trilogy.

In the OT, the Force is a mystery to nearly everyone, analogous to space magic wielded by space wizards who more closely resemble Gandalf or Merlin than any sci-fi trope.  At one point, Grand Moff Tarkin even refers to the Force as an “old religion.” This all fits the mythic feel of the original trilogy, the bildungsroman of a farmer-turned-hero that echoes through human history and storytelling.

Turn this on its head and you get the PT, in a classic example of world building gone wrong.  For the prequel trilogy, Lucas chooses to explain to the audience, and even the galaxy at large, what exactly makes the Force do its thing: midi-chloriens.

At this point, the tenuous divide between the right and wrong amount of information is, in my opinion, breached.  People don’t care about midi-chloriens.  In fact, their existence goes to cheapen the mysterious power that is the Force.  It makes the myth mundane.  Force lightning just got a lot less interesting, and that’s got nothing to do with Jar Jar.

This is important because authors run across this breed of trouble all the time.  We call it playing around in the sandbox.  What I mean by that is that you create a world that’s so interesting to you, the author, that you feel the world supersedes the plot in terms of importance; that details you’ve thought out (so that your world has consistency and reason–both important!) are also vitally necessary for the reader to understand.

In so many cases, this is too much information, especially if you agree with me that either plot or character is king.  So, build a world that is fully thought out, reasonable, and consistent, but when parsing through the details always ask yourself if they further the story or just cheapen it.

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Don’t steal my words.  They’re mine. Zachary Barnes 2016©

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