If you’ve ever experienced a bad case of writer’s block then you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be. In my case it generally spasms through me when I reach a point in the story and realize it’s gone off the rails – usually because I’ve been unconsciously (up to that point) relying on some essential trope or clichéd character.
In August I had found myself wandering into the second act of my Fallout Shelter script when the whole mess just stopped making sense. I knew what needed to happen, but the whole thing suddenly became too convenient — I’d painted my characters into a corner where any action they took would either undermine prior decisions or be utterly non-dramatic.
I fiddled with it for about a week before realizing that I wasn’t actually getting anything written. Typing and deleting does not count as writing – I might as well have been batting out “All work and no play makes Nick a dull boy.”
What I needed to do was write. Anything. And I realized suddenly that it had to be something entirely for me, something with no commercial value whatsoever. As I stood in front of my DVD stockpile, eyes wandering, I ended up pondering the nearly adjacent copies of 2009’s Star Trek and the original 1977 Star Wars and I suddenly had an awful, horrible thought.
“What if J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Wars?”
And then I had an even more terrifying possibility spring to mind…
“Heck, what if Michael Bay rebooted it?”
The whole thing just rolled out in front of me. Rewrite Star Wars in the style of Transformers. And I wouldn’t stop there. I’d mercilessly strip away all of the naive charm, the childhood wonder, everything that made Star Wars what it is, reducing it to an explosion filled summer tent pole movie. I’d turn Obi Wan Kenobie into a drunken has-been! Hell, I even thought about making it a musical, but that would have been too much work.
It took just three days, and by the end it was everything I’d imagined it would be and worse. And, it’s probably exactly the movie that’d get made if Star Wars went into production now, and not thirty-three years ago.
Like Frankenstein before me, I had created a monster, built upon the skeleton of a classic motion picture, stitched together with bits of flesh sliced from twenty-first-century blockbusters.
But that monster ripped through my writer’s block. It didn’t solve the problems I was having with Fallout Shelter – it allowed me to see that those problems were so fundamental that the entire story needed to be told differently. I’d lost sight of the original premise and gotten so wound up in intricacies that I had written myself not just into a corner, but into a maze.
Done with that.
As an afterthought, I sent copies of the script to a few of my friends, suggesting that I’d found it on the net and was concerned that it might be legitimate. Those who read some of it and replied responded with suitable outrage.
My sincere apologies for that, but those of you who did peruse the script would never have been honest about how infuriating it is if you’d known it was me.
Anyway, for the personal amusement of those who weren’t on the mailing list, I now present Star Wars in a way that I hope never comes to be.