The Accidental Novel

Honest, I never intended to write an entire novel. I certainly never intended to write an entire novel about a character in a video game. It was just supposed to be a 30-ish page little story about Jolee Bindo training a Padawan, and it kind of went a little nuts from there.

The Adventures of Jolee Bindo sprang to life one night when I got a sudden picture of Jolee grousing about having to train a stupid apprentice Jedi who insisted on using a lightsaber and blaster at the same time. I’d posted about the intelligence of wielding a lightsaber and a gun and using both at the same time in a LucasForums thread. Should you be unconvinced of the wisdom (or lack thereof) of such a thing, try waving a broomstick around while shooting a water pistol at a picture of Nancy Pelosi or George Bush (your choice) nailed to a tree. It doesn’t work very well, no matter how motivated you are to make a bulls eye.

Anyway, I posted another reply in that thread and included a little vignette on the trusty LucasForums of Jolee that I’d just written on the spur of the moment, thinking that if the image made me chuckle, others hopefully might also be amused. Well, they were. If Trusty Friend RedHawke knew he’d end up creating a monster by putting a laughing smiley in his reply, however, he might not have been so quick with that complimentary post. 😀

Thus inspired by the fact that someone might find a Jolee story entertaining, I started writing ‘a little story’, thinking I might be able to make something fun in the fanfic section. Fanfics, for those of you who do not share my Geekiness, is fan-made fiction. There’s an entire forum devoted to fanfics (, and for those of you who love the Knights of the Old Republic games as much as I do and run out of fics to read on LucasForums, there’s another forum just for Kotor fanfics called Kotor Fan Media. Imagine–entire forums devoted to fanfics about a Star Wars game. Here was not one, or two, but an entire flock of tech-silver sheep creating stories for this game, and I was right at home.

I finally willed up the courage to create a thread for my little story. I had no small amount of angst at posting my writing for a bunch of strangers to read and comment on. You don’t know what ‘intimidating’ means until you post a story and hope no one rips it to shreds. However, Jolee grabbed me by the throat and was quite insistent on having his story told. I _had_ to write it–the words and pictures came out whether I wanted to or not. In fact, I was rather consumed by the whole process for close to five months, which reminded me a bit of college courses, except they’re a good month shorter. I think I was married to the laptop for that whole time, and Jimbo probably would have wondered where his wife had disappeared to had it not been for me muttering in frustration when I got writer’s block.

To be honest, I thought the whole story would be 20 or 30 pages, maybe 40 tops. I’d never written anything longer than 23 pages prior to that, and that was my senior seminar paper in college. That was _supposed_ to be a long project. It didn’t take me long to work through a series of vignettes and then decide, “Hey, Jolee’s a Jedi, and so are the other main characters. I should send them on a quest!” Quests being something that all good Jedi should do regularly, particularly if it improves the LucasArts bottom line and/or the entertainment of other Star Wars fans. Before long, I’d gotten to 50 pages, and made the stunning realization–I was nowhere remotely close to being finished with the story. This was rather frightening, daunting, and exciting all at the same time. I soldiered on, buoyed by the comments by Trusty LF Friends Emperor Devon, Char Ell, Hallucination, Pazaak Princess, Pottsie, Renegade Puma, JediMaster12, and a long list of others. By the time I finished the story, I’d ended up writing some 200 pages and close to 100,000 words–an honest-to-God novel. About Star Wars. About a Star Wars game. About a character in a Star Wars game. It was all very geeky and wonderful at the same time.

I’m off to write up some comments on some other people’s fanfics that got entered in a little contest. Feel free to come join the rest of us tech-silver sheep. 🙂

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