What the Story Needs to You to Know

Summer 1977. Southgate Twin theatre, Battlefield Parkway, Fort Oglethorpe, GA. A group of teens sits in a sold out theatre munching dollar popcorn and watching for the first time what will become the world’s most famous yellow scroll announce that Star Wars has begun. And what is the first thing it tells us? We’re watching Episode Four.

Wha–? Episode Four? What happened to the first three episodes? (we found out 20 years later. We can debate as to whether or not it was worth the wait). That question was quickly followed by others. Who’s this Darth Vader guy? What’s a Jedi? The Force? A seven-foot walking carpet? Despite our questions, the story told us what we needed to know when we needed to know it.
We left the theatre having enjoyed ourselves, our brains popping with unanswered questions. Like all fan boys, we huddled together, using our collective grey matter to puzzle out possibilities. I still remember reading a fan magazine where the writer suggested that Vader could be Luke’s father. Nah. Couldn’t be—Obi Wan said he was dead, and Jedi never lie. Right? Right?

Maybe George Lucas read the same magazine. Maybe he had the idea that Star Wars was always Darth Vader’s story. Maybe it was still cooking like story soup in the back of Lucas’ mind. Either way, I’m glad he didn’t tell us everything in Episode Four. Maybe it’s just me, but a story is more enjoyable when the movie or book asks me to bring my imagination to the experience.

That’s why you won’t find much exposition in Black Hole Sun and probably not much more in Invisible Sun. I want the reader to bring her/his imagination along.

Still…

From the fan mail I’ve gotten, there details of Durango’s Mars that some readers are just “dying—do you hear me, DYING!!” to read about. Here’s your chance. I’m right this minute working on the first draft of INVISIBLE SUN. The story is still fluid enough to insert some story elements, which is a perfect way to answer those questions. To submit them, just reply to this post, and I’ll pick a few at random. Who knows, your questions may inspire the story to move in a totally unimagined direction the way that fan mag moved the story of Star Wars for me.

One thing I can promise: Vader is not Durango’s father. Or his mother.

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