Today we’re going to do things a little different. Eriadu was the first story of the Between the Conclaves series for which I wrote author notes, giving a little peek into the process of creating the story. These notes will be appearing at the end of each story for the remainder of the series.
Like the stories themselves, no one aside from myself and less than a handful of friends have read these notes, so after nearly nine years, they will finally have their international premiere! Unlike the stories, these parts have been left exactly the way they were first written. I felt that way they’d better reflect what was going through my mind all those years ago. Please enjoy! ^_^
January 15, 2008
First of all, I must give credit to John Ostrander, who wrote, among other works, the “Star Wars: Purge” comic (an excellent piece of work, be it a bit on the short side). While I’ve made some small alterations to mould the story more to my purpose, I’ve attempted to remain in canon as well as possible, so from the scene where the clone patrol reaches a dead-end, the dialogue is almost completely taken from “Purge”.
I just finished writing “Eriadu”, and apart from “Dantooine: Reflections”, it has certainly been the toughest part of this series for me to write. I knew this beforehand, when I planned the basic outline for each part. It was to focus on a single character, Bultar. Until the clones came around, something I had not planned in the story’s initial stage, there were no other characters, so no dialogue, not even others to react to. The character’s inner monologue and thoughts, the description of the area and the mood, those were the pillars that were to support the story. I knew it would be difficult, but it took even longer than I had thought it would. Not as long as “Dantooine: Reflections” (hard to beat a full year hiatus), but still. In the end, I have to say that, although it’s not perfect and, as with all parts except “Nar Shaddaa”, turned out differently from what I had planned (not too much in this case), I’m quite satisfied about the end result and I hope you are too.
Now some notes on the story itself. Originally, this story was meant for Bultar to have some more “screen time”, something she severely lacked when I first planned out “Between the Conclaves”, because I was still unsure of writing a character that wasn’t completely my own brainchild. However, with “Dantooine: Reflections” she got her unexpected place in the spotlights. Instead of switching between her and Shamila’s view, as I had intended, she kind of took over the entire part! So as I finished part two I began to doubt whether I should still include “Eriadu”. The answer became clear when I finished “Kamino”. I had just dedicated the longest part of the series up until now to following Vhiran’s journey after Dantooine (with a bit of Shamila, who will get more attention later on). It would be unfair, not to mention odd, if I was going to leave Bultar completely out of the light until we got to Kessel. So, “Eriadu” remained. And that, as they say, is that.
The initial concept for this part was as follows: In orbit over Eriadu, Bultar senses a powerful Force presence on the planet and goes down to search for it. The search itself had not been worked out at all, but the story would end just before Bultar gave away to Tsui she was there, and then it would flow over into “Purge”, so their dialogue was initially not part of the story. The decision to add it was at the point where I finally was over my short hiatus and gained some inspiration to write on. I thought it would make for a better ending than the more open one I had in mind and that it would add a bit to the story (in more than one way). It’s mainly similar to the dialogue in “Purge”, but with some changes. Most are quite small, but there’s one more striking change: Bultar’s first words to Tsui. In the comic she greets him by saying “Well done, Tsui Choi.”. Personally, I did not like that line. While I don’t know if it was meant to, it kind of looks like she commends Choi on killing four people. That didn’t seem like something both the completely canonical Bultar, as well as “my” Bultar would say, especially with the whole thought train that precedes it. Conclusion: I changed it to something I thought would suit her character better, the line you see her say now.
‘If you carry a weapon, be prepared to take a life.’ Anime/manga fans will likely recognize the famous ‘A sword is a weapon. The art of swordsmanship is learning how to kill.’ in this, a line uttered at several occasions in “Rurouni Kenshin” (or “Samurai X”, for those who have only seen the English version). And that has indeed been the main inspiration for this part. I’ve gotten hooked on the series and have watched the anime nearly non-stop the past weeks (and strongly recommend it ^^). It sort of sneaked in the story when I started writing again.
Now that I think of it, a lot has sort of sneaked in. A lot of the story was, as I said, completely not planned out: the description of grey, desolate Old Town Factoryville, Bultar’s loneliness, her continuous struggle with her feelings both towards Vhiran as well as towards killing, and of course the six-legged Eriaduan rats (who are just awesome, because they have six legs). All of these pretty much formed during the writing itself. Aside from the initial concept, only the scene with her connection with Vhiran was somewhat planned ahead. That one I had thought up while writing Vhiran’s own inner struggle (in “Kamino”) about the deaths he had caused (though even this was not fully realized until the story’s later stages).
Yes, what more can I say now? I don’t know really. I don’t know what more I can tell/explain/expand on. Perhaps more things will come to mind later on, and I shall share some more of my wondrous insights!