Sunday, February 19, 2017

In Honor of Valentine's Day // My 10 OTP's

  Since I am on the cusp of being an old married lady, I thought a Valentine's Day-esque post might be a good thing (and my blogging brain is currently not very inspired). Today I am bringing you my top ten OTP's (One True Pairings) and fangirling a little bit, cause that seems Valentine's appropriate.

  So, let's begin - in no particular order because it's impossible to order...


  ARAGORN AND ARWEN (lord of the rings)


  One of my favorite pairs (any fantasy lover's favorite pair, probably). They're both just so beautiful and perfect and amazing. Ugh. Can you get anymore beautiful than Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen? I don't think so. 

  HAN SOLO AND PRINCESS LEIA (star wars)


  These two are dorks and I am a sucker for the enemies or "in dislike" turned lovers trope. Han and Leia are a classic example of this and that is why they rock.

  PETER PARKER AND MARY-JANE WATSON (spider-man)


  The original Spiderman movies with Peter and MJ has been one of my first OTP scenarios for a very long time and as cute and adorable as Emma Watson and Andrew Garfield are, the original Spideys are what I'm here for. Fight me.

  FARAMIR AND EOWYN (lord of the rings)


  Couple #goals. Better than you. Warrior who loves peace and shieldmaiden turned healer. The literal bestest.

  KATARA AND AANG (avatar: the last airbender)

cartoon kisses, lol
  Well, these two are pretty cute. And pretty cool. And ATLA, guys. It's ATLA. They make every fandom related list. 

  BUCKY BARNES AND NATASHA ROMANOV (marvel)


  A typical dysfunctional couple that has gone through the same typical dysfunctional garbage and should just be allowed to be happy and also have their romance acknowledged in the movies?? Like, what's up with that????

  ANASTASIA AND DMITRI (anastasia movie)


  Not all OTP's are live-action or from a book. Some are characters from historically inspired animations. And just so happen to be their own special brand of awesome. Like these two. 

  MERRY BRANDYBUCK AND ESTELLA BOLGER (lord of the rings)



  I know this is a pairing that only gets mentioned in the Appendices of LotR as ever having happened at all, but I've written a lot of fanfiction for these two and they have a special place in my heart as the literal cutest ever. Unfortunately no images of Estella. :(


  ANAKIN SKYWALKER AND PADME AMIDALA (star wars)


  Yes, I do in fact have a thing for romantic tragedy. Yes, that is in fact 90% of why I like the Anidala ship. Sue me. 

  SIMBA AND NALA (the lion king)


  I will not be judged for having animated lions on this list. Do you hear me?? THERE WILL BE NO JUDGMENT! You know they make your list too.


  WILL TURNER AND ELIZABETH SWANN (pirates of the caribbean)


  Again with the two incredibly hot people playing an incredibly hot couple. I have to say, Will is such a sweetie and Elizabeth a firecracker. Just look at that GIF! They're beautiful.


  JESSE AARONS AND LESLIE BURKE (bridge to terebithia)


  If these two adorable tragedies aren't on your list then there is something wrong with you. Clearly. This book. This movie. I can't not cry every time. I swear, Josh Hutcherson's sobbing takes years off my life every viewing.


  LIESEL MEMINGER AND RUDY STEINER (the book thief)


  I swear I don't have a problem with doomed childhood romances...I swear....

  But these two. How can you not love them? Especially in the book. Gah, the book. Just love them with me.


  ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN (disney and otherwise)


  I like the "real life" pairing but also and especially the Disney one. Look at that scenery, isn't it magical? Robin really knows how to treat his girl. Before I had any inkling of what romance was, these two were showing me. 


  ZUKO AND MAI (avatar: the last airbender)


  I don't know why, but Mai reminds me of me and I really like Zuko and yeah. These two are pretty awesome. More from ATLA I know, but who cares? Not me. Besides, Zuko and Mai probably deserve their own entire post, just saying. 


  MIKE AND ELEVEN (stranger things)


  And finally we have my latest pairing, Mike and Eleven and all their adorable-ness. Ugh, Season two cannot come fast enough. I need more of these guys!


  So there are my top ten OTP's for you this belated Valentine's Day. Do any of these guys make your lists? Is there someone critical I left out (probably)? Let me know in the comments below!



Monday, February 13, 2017

Things to Know If You're Writing About Horses...

  As both a writer and equestrian, I notice a lot of the time horses get completely misrepresented in media. And that bothers me.

  Today I am hear to clear up any misconceptions and give you readers some tips on how horses think and function that may keep other horse-enthusiasts from rolling their eyes at your equine characters. Nobody wants an eye-roll from an equestrian, trust me. We are the judgiest people on the planet.

  So, without further ado, here are some tips on crafting equine characters in your stories...




  1. HORSES ARE NOT SMART


  Horses are often crafted in movies to be a Lassie-the-dog type character: clever, understanding, careful and ceaselessly benevolent. To that I utter a resounding HA.

  Horses are pretty much anything but benevolent - most horses anyway. They are some of the dirtiest tricksters around, especially ponies.

  (By the way, ponies are not baby horses, we'll get to that in a minute.)

  If you're going to write about a horse, no matter to what extent and in what genre this is an important concept to grasp. Horses are ANIMALS not PEOPLE. They cannot reason, they cannot think through things and make a cohesive plan. They learn through association and repetition, not because they're good at figuring things out. Would you climb on a 1200 pound animal who knew how to "figure things out" - things like getting you off him? Yeah, I wouldn't either. So remember, treat horses like the dumb animals they are. Yes, they are beautiful and athletic and intelligent enough to learn what we teach them, but they would never accomplish anything like that on their own. One of my biggest peeves is seeing any animal portrayed on film - especially horses - like a rescuing angel, sacrificing themselves for their mistress/master. Horses DON'T DO THAT. They don't care squat about their human when scary things start going down. Have you ever watched a horse freak out about something and completely ignore its rider/handler in the throes of panic? They really don't care an ounce about you when there's something dangerous. Really, they don't.

  Anyway, now that that's out of the way...

  2. PONIES ARE NOT BABY HORSES


  This is a super annoying misunderstanding that definitely evokes a large eyeroll from myself. So here, let me say it again.

  PONIES ARE NOT BABY HORSES.

  Baby horses are called "foals", males are called colts and females, fillies.

  A pony is a small horse, much like a Chihuahua is a small dog. The dictionary definition is "a horse of a small breed, especially one whose height at the withers is below 14 hands 2 inches (58 inches)."

  3. HORSES MOVE IN FOUR DIFFERENT GAITS


  A horse has four "speeds" or "gaits" as they are commonly referred to. Walk is the first, slowest and most obvious. Trot is the second speed, it is a bouncy, jogging sort of gait. The canter is next and it is like a slower, more collected and controlled version of the last and fastest gait: galloping.

  Here is a video to help you get a better visual idea of the four different speeds so you can apply them to the horses in your story more accurately.



4. HORSES HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT COLORS


  Are you imagining a specific shade of horse for your story but can't think of any names besides black? Well, I am here to help!

  Horses actually have so many cool colors and learning about them is really neat (says the kid who grew up mostly on equine non-fiction books during her formative years).

  Here is a basic chart to get you started on the most common horse colors...



  And there (in this last ditch, night before effort to get a post on time) are some of my helpful hints for writing about horses in your fiction. Did you learn anything new? Have you ever written about horses in a story before? Is there something horse-related you would like to know about? Feel free to ask me! I will talk about horses forever with a willing listener. :P Or you could ask Google, I'm sure Google knows better than me. XD

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writing Wednesday - Thin-Skinned (short-term beta readers wanted!)

  Well, I haven't done one of these for awhile, but I was hoping to share about my latest project with you guys and thought I'd drag out this old "Writing Wednesday" idea (maybe I'll use it occasionally).

  As some of you may have heard, I am entering the last phase of my U of C Creative Writing Course here right away. The course is called 'Final Project' and focuses on the entire act of writing a novel from start to finish. I'm currently working on my 10-15 page submission to send out in the middle of this month. I'm nearly finished with it and am looking for some short-term beta-readers to give it a quick read this upcoming weekend: February 11th and 12th.

  Are you interested in dystopias? Things like 1984, Brave New World, The Giver, Divergent, or The Hunger Games? This story may be right up your alley...


  In a world without death or imperfection sanitation worker, Tobias Keat, experiences the unthinkable: the tragic passing of his wife, Erah. However, he soon learns that while his wife as he knows her is gone, the government has supplied him with her cloned replacement to maintain their Utopian facade; a puppet he is forced to accept as his own.


    I'm just looking for betas for these first few pages (probably about two chapters) for the time being, just to get a bit of feedback on how the story reads. I would like to send it out by this weekend and have it back by Monday? If you've got some free reading time this weekend and would like to help me out I would be incredibly grateful!

  Drop a comment here or send me an email request if you're interested! And let me know if you've been working on anything lately, I love to hear about everyone else's works in progress. :D


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Martin Hospitality Blog Tour - Spotlight on Abigayle Claire

  Happy Sunday, everyone!! I am so excited to be participating in the Martin Hospitality blog tour for my fantastic, talented and lovely friend Abigayle from The Left-Handed Typist! I've been following along with her blog from the beginning and will proudly boast that I landed the first comment on her 'About Me' section (bragging rights ftw). Along with being an excellent writer she is also a wonderful editor who was very helpful in beta-reading my novel for me last year. I so enjoyed reading her helpful and encouraging comments and will sing her praises all day long! Of course, this is a book blog tour so we should discuss the book in question...


I set it to EXTRA LARGE so y'all can see the beauty


  Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she spends the night in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.


The Martins aren’t a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.

When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?



  There is the synopsis and cover together. Aren't they both awesome? I think Abi has truly outdone herself and I personally can't wait to get my hands on some digital dollars so I can read this thing! 

  If you want to know more about the amazing Abi, allow her to grace your computer screen for a brief moment below...


Abigayle has been inspired to write since she could spell her own name. Her passion wasn’t completing the stories (she did that twice and decided it wasn’t for her), it was jotting down the ideas.


But in 2015, a story grabbed her—one she had to finish. Inspired by a crazy dream in a genre she no longer reads, Abigayle set off on a journey to write her first novel and she hasn’t looked back since.

Writing is her ministry, freelance editing her job, and reading her pastime—all of which prove that God really does know what He’s doing when He inspires a 6-year-old with a pencil in her left hand.


  She is hosting a Goodreads giveaway over HERE!

  Please go check out this girl's stuff! She is an amazing individual who has worked super hard - I can't believe what a good job she's doing in all this! She definitely deserves all the readers! Head on over to her blog to learn more about her and her book. 

  Congratulations, Abi! All the best to you as you pursue this publishing journey!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Highlights

Well, it's hard to believe it's the end of the first month of the new year already. My January started out looking like it would be super quiet and dull, but suddenly it morphed into this intense and furiously busy time and left me standing there in a daze. It was a good thing though. A very good thing. It's been a good start to 2017 so far (still can't believe I'm currently existing in 2017, whaaa???)


LIFE EVENTS

  • Beginning of the month we had our homeschool gang's annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange party - which was awesome as usual. Unfortunately I am missing a few close members of that group (my two Mackenzie friends who are overseas) but there were still plenty of great people to enjoy. 
  • I had a lovely tea time with some of my fellow older female camp staff, with tons of good treats, coloring, wedding talk (cause two of us are engaged) and of course...TEA. 'Twas grand.
  • I got to do two photoshoots this month with two beautiful girls and I'm really excited about the results. I'm hoping to do some more here in February. 
  • I went house-sitting for the family who lives at my summer camp and got the luxury of Netflix, a house full of junk food to myself, and all the camp horses at my disposal for five days. I loved it. 
One of the pretty, young camp horses - so gorgeous!
  • The weekend before last I went on a hut trip, backpacking 12 km up a mountain to Elizabeth Parker Hut near Lake O'Hara with my fiance's family and some of their backcountry friends. It was a long, hard snowshoe up but totally worth it. It was absolutely gorgeous up there. We were roughing it boiling snow for water, no toilet paper and only fire for light and heat, but it was a great experience (for a couple days at least!) - even if I didn't change my bottom two layers of clothes for two days...shh!
Our hut adventure group
  • My cousins came out for the weekend and that was a blast, we got to just chill out and feed cows while singing along to Taylor Swift and stay up late watching Seinfeld.

WRITING LIFE


  My writing was a bit all over the place this month, but I think I actually got quite a bit done? Maybe? Who knows. In any case, I've been writing my short novel The Snow Dragon since November last year and am about eight chapters in (that's not very impressive, I know!). What started out as a simple story suddenly went and morphed into something quite elaborate and much different than anticipated. But I mean, that happens with all the stories I don't plan out with a chapter-by-chapter outline.

  Speaking of which, I also picked up where I left off sometime last spring in the sequel to The Awakening. This one is called The Wandering, they are parts of a lengthy fantasy series that I have been developing in my mind since I was eleven years old (so eight-ish years?). I am getting close to the quarter mark there (15 chapters out of a planned 60 excluding prologues and epilogues) and that is kind of exciting. I had put it aside to write The Sorceress and the Squid and Faithless last year but my interest in it was renewed sometime earlier this month and I've been working at it relatively steady since. I know, I shouldn't be writing two things at once. Nevermind editing two other things. I'm bad. And very much an over-achiever who is also a procrastinator and thus remains in a constant state of nothingness. Life of a writer.

  Aside from this actual writing, I also came up with a couple new story ideas/plot bunnies that are trying to lure me away cause I totally needed some more distraction. Making Pinterest storyboards for the first time was a key player in this I believe. These inspirations include a sci-fi (or not? haven't decided yet) novel about the historical Queen Cleopatra, a weird paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy story about a demon-filled swamp, and a sci-fi retelling of the myth of Medusa (inspired by one of my poems from last fall). I'm kind of excited about some of these, do any of them interest you?

READING LIFE


  Successfully completed a total of 2 books this month (very pathetic so I guess I'll have to amp up my game in February).

THE CHEMIST by Stephenie Meyer
I was drawn in by the cover and the synopsis to buy this book around Christmas time. I pored over it all through the holiday season and slowly became disappointed with the story's direction. It started off great with a really interesting lead female protagonist but then devolved into a weird love story thing (not a triangle, thankfully, but still weird) and I couldn't really take it seriously anymore. The love story angle was completely implausible and out of character for the MC. The beginning bit was pretty good though. So I'll give it some credit it there. You're probably thinking "what'd you expect from a Stephenie Meyer novel, Emily??" And actually, her other novel The Host, is quite a good book, as much as Twilight is awful. So I was hoping for the best. Didn't quite work out unfortunately. :P 2.5/5

THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne M. Valente
This book was definitely the better of my two choices this month, I've seen quotes from this story in various places across the internet, but actually reading it is just, wow! It's very Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland - like, and it's awesome. It's not super long and really interesting - I highly recommend it. 4.5/5
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.” 

BLOGGING LIFE


  So far I'm actually maintaining my goal of posting once a week?? How?? I don't have any clue why this actually became a thing but I'm super stoked about it. I think I will be able to persevere and keep this up throughout 2017 and hopefully beyond (excluding July and August cause camp/wedding things). Now that I'm actually managing to spin out posts I'm hoping to increase my following, do more networking, have more guest-posters and maybe try out guest posting myself? We'll have to see how it goes.

Current Blogger stats are slowly climbing... :D

  • 4,413 pageviews
  • 13 followers (this is up a lot which is cool and encouraging)
  • 49 posts


GOALS FOR FEBRUARY


///READ 6 BOOKS? MAYBE? I don't know if I can do this but if I want to stay on track of my 50 book plan this year then I'll have to get cracking!\\\

///FINISH 1st DRAFT OF THE SNOW DRAGON This one won't be very easy either, I predict a busy February with wedding planning and such even though I don't have much scheduled yet. We'll see if I can buckle down.\\\

///WRITE 3 CHAPTERS OF THE WANDERING I should be able to do this one, that will bring me to the quarter mark and then I can celebrate by taking my focus back to where it should be!\\\

///FIND EDITOR FOR THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID I really want to get on this so I can hopefully publish before summer or late spring (my busiest season). If anyone has any recommendations for an editor I would be incredibly grateful to you!\\\

  I think I'll keep these goals short and see where I'm at by March - hopefully not ridiculously behind as usual!

  How was your first month of 2017? Are you meeting some of your resolutions or goals? Do you have any recommendations for editors for me or are you searching for a place to guest-post or a guest-poster? Let me know in the comments below!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Guest Post by Kerry Kelvas on Internal Inspiration

 Hello everybody! This week's post is being taken over by the lovely Kerry Kelvas of Iridescent Souls. She presented an awesome idea to me, instead of asking someone to write about what other stories have inspired them in their writing journey, she's here to discuss how the void in literature has inspired her to write what she's missing. I think that's a great topic and I'm really excited to share with you her thoughts! I am also excited to get to know new people through reaching out for guest posters, I love meeting new young writers and I hope you do too. So, without further ado, I shall let her take over... 


KERRY KELVAS ON INTERNAL INSPIRATION


  After delving into the world of indie writers and bloggers alike, it has come to my attention that many are propelled into their art from an external inspiration, fueled by a fandom of their favorite artist or their childhood hero. This has always caught my attention, not because it was puzzling or something I couldn’t understand. On the contrary, this sort of passion makes a lot of sense to me. However, the amount of people who fit into this category is what surprises me. Due to the overwhelming presence of fandoms, it seems that this is the way to be a writer at the moment, and I’m not a part of it. 

  I could give you a long list of books that I’ve enjoyed from the moment I started reading to today. However, none of these works or authors have been something that I could identify with completely. Each piece was merely just that - a piece. A portion of a concept or theme or idea that I could appreciate and relate to. I’ve taken these pieces and have made a collage, a map to understanding my unique self and form of expression. They’ve not inspired me to write something in light of the piece, but given me tools that I can use towards my work in progress. So if my inspiration does not come from an artist or book, where does it come from, you might ask? Many things, one of which oddly being lack of inspiration. 

  For the most part, I’ve been very disappointed with fiction for the past 9 years, since age 14. I found I could no longer connect to the story or the words, each book being largely the product of some formula that an author used to get its way into traditional publishing. When you feel like you could write something better, or something that will contribute the fictional scene rather than follow what already exists, it’s time to pick up the pen and get to work. 

  It is beautiful when a person can read a book and instantly feel that they are being seen, or delivered to a place they couldn’t get to otherwise. That is, after all, the intention of most writers. It is also beautiful to have that work be an inspiration to create, as I’ve already written in the past, creating for the mere sake of creating is extremely important.  However, I also feel that a person might be doing a disservice to the community, and perhaps even themselves, by only making something based on another thing. It is my personal belief that a person can be of service to the world by allowing their own unique form of expression to come through. For example, The Hunger Games is a wonderful and powerful story, but it already exists. Mimicking its style or theme is fun and helpful, allowing us to flex our creative muscles so to speak. But this only serves a portion of what it means to be an artist. Even if we take certain genres of writing that we prefer, or certain ways of writing, we can still make something distinct. 

  When I started Metanoia, I was going through an immense change. I was experiencing a culmination of thoughts, feelings, growth, and evolution, and it brought me to a place where I was compelled to dig down deep, pull something out, and make a physical item out of it. If I had any advice to give to someone who wants to write a book, paint a picture, or create anything at all that’s worthwhile, it’s to pause and think deeply about what your soul would look like if it were something you could see with your eyes, and then go make that thing. It may take years, or even decades to develop that vision, but this makes it much more than something fun to do. It gives you purpose, and it is the purest form of art, or at least the purest way to experience art. In doing this, you can put something into the world that could not have existed unless you were here. To me, that is just as important as volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating your clothes. 

  Ultimately, my inspiration derives from what has not been said and what needs to be. I would like to point out, however, that if it had not been for the works that I have read, I would have nothing in my writing toolbox. It is in this way that our favorite works is essential to the creative process. Overall, I align heavily with the saying ‘kill your heroes’. Idolization can pose the risk of not meeting up to our full potential by inadvertently placing it as something that exists outside of ourselves, rather than something that is already within and waiting to be met. Why try to follow in the footsteps of someone you admire when you can instead walk along side them by forging your own? 


Do you have questions or comments for Kerry? Leave them below and be sure to check out her blog, Iridescent Souls (link above). I will be opening up comment response to her, so be sure to leave her a comment!



"Kerry Jane seeks to unify the thought behind science and metaphysics. She knows they bring us to the same place and hopes to help others grasp this unifying concept. Kerry is a fan of those brave enough to embrace an alternative lifestyle and while not condemning those who have not grown past the superficial structures of society. She seeks depth in relationships and the practice of living here on our exquisite planet."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How the Star Wars Prequels Could Have Been a Total Win

(In Emily's own humble opionion, of course)

  I apologize this post was late - I went on a terrific three day backpacking adventure to live in a snowy mountain hut with no electricity, running water or cell reception. 'Twas awesome.

  Love 'em or hate 'em, the Star Wars prequels are a thing, and they are canon. And yeah, they weren't the best part of Star Wars ever...which I think is a real shame, there was SO MUCH potential for a really good story wrapped up in the poorly scripted mess that is the Star Wars prequel trilogy and it really, really wanted to make it out. Unfortunately, it didn't.

  Now, I happen to be a prequel fan - to an extent. I enjoy the movies for what they could be, not necessarily what they are. Basically, I fill in a lot of the story from my own head and smooth it all over and make it as awesome as I think it could and should be. So, for my post today, I'm going to share with you all some of the ways I think that the Star Wars prequels could have been a total win...


  1. ANAKIN'S TRANSFORMATION TO THE DARK SIDE AND HOW HE WAS RAISED AMONG THE JEDI


  This definitely should have been handled and written much better, and it definitely has the potential for that. Anakin is one of my favorite antagonist's simply because of his fascinating backstory and the potential the prequels had to really reach into the psyche of a truly messed up and evil character. Could have been so much more fascinating! First of all, the Jedi of the prequel time period were not necessarily the most squeaky clean of good guys. In fact, they are a hardcore conservative faction and almost cultish in a sense. They are the ultimate leaders, unchallenged and perhaps a little too powerful. They restrict their recruits ability to function within normal human emotion and deny any sort of individuality or expression which can be incredibly unhealthy, especially on young and impressionable minds. Of course denying oneself can often be a good and helpful thing, but the point to which the Jedi enforce this is incredibly toxic - it can even be considered a form of indoctrination (even if what they teach is generally good). If the prequels had been more opportunely written they would have used this to their advantage in creating the character of Anakin. Since he was taken at an older age to be trained as a Jedi, it would be harder for him to become the Jedi they wanted, hence their reluctance to take and train older Force-sensitive children.

  Now, the Sith are quite the opposite of the Jedi in most everything, but their philosophies are perhaps the most different. Where the Jedi are very conservative the Sith are very liberal, practicing a self-centered worldview and accepting no oversight or social responsibility over their personal freedom. Both views are taken to extremes between the two factions and Anakin - prophesied to bring balance to the Force - is in the perfect position to see this and become a Jedi warrior who can take an unbiased look at both sides and become a moderate, thoughtful and questioning young man who is not swayed or manipulated by a political belief. If anything was to bring "balance" to the Force, it would certainly be this.

  However, we know that this did not come to pass, but the stage is perfectly set for Anakin's failure. The controlling and overbearing nature of the Jedi faction pushes him towards the lure of the Dark Side and it's much broader and more personally pleasing views. As a Sith Anakin would be free to follow his own plans and ideas and not take orders or be forced into an empty stoicism where he must deny his feelings - including those for Padme. Examining the story this way, it is easy to see why Anakin was swayed to the Dark Side.

  Unfortunately for him, the fault in the Sith philosophy is that if you put yourself first you will become a slave to yourself, even to those who seek to control you through yourself. And that's exactly what happens to Anakin. The story is perfectly set up to send him on a path to be the perfect Jedi, but then have him falter and go too far along the way, leaving him as the bitter and twisted Darth Vader who hates both the Jedi and Sith and cannot find peace with himself. The interesting thing about this I think is that it would mean Anakin was not tricked into becoming a Sith, but chose it willingly. He was bullied by those who didn't want the balance he tries to bring to the Force through moderation and progress. He is bullied into moving from one extreme to another. Though one philosophy is no better than the other, he makes an incredibly human decision in favor of his real, personal situation. Sadly, the films miss their opportunities to really explore Anakin's clash with the Jedi, resorting to "telling" us that is the relationship rather than really demonstrating it with Anakin's intelligence and ability to see past the facade and to the dark underbelly of the Jedi world. I think that if this was addressed more, along with other subtle pieces of Anakin's character and life story, then we would have had a much more emotionally powerful tragedy to enjoy in Revenge of the Sith.

  2. GREATER EMOTIONAL FALLOUT BETWEEN ANAKIN, OBI-WAN AND PADME


  Along with some of the things mentioned above, Anakin's tragedy of turning to Darth Vader could have been a much more powerful punch in the gut if only his relationships had been properly delved into. In my opinion there was too much poorly scripted screentime between Anakin and Padme and not enough good stuff between him and Obi-Wan. After all, Obi-Wan is his mentor and trainer and their relationship is one of the coolest "brothers turned enemies" tropes to ever grace TV screens (in my opinion). I believe first of all, that Obi-Wan being so young and inexperienced when he took on Anakin and having a touch of a rebellious edge himself as a youngster made their master/student relationship dissolve into something much more personal than is traditional of Jedi. Being thrust with such a great responsibility as training the "Chosen One" at such a young age after so recently losing his own master must have been very difficult for him. I believe Obi-Wan tried and failed to contain his care and concern for Anakin, which was why he let his slip to the Dark Side go so far as it did. He allowed his feelings to overrule his caution and paid for it. Along with this being a building block of their relationship, I really wish we'd had more scenes of them together throughout the trilogy, stuff like we see in the Clone Wars show. Seeing them as companions and allies rather than just two guys getting into arguments who we are told are friends would have made their climatic Mustafar battle that much more intense.

  Anakin's relationship with Padme as secret lover and wife could also have been written much more convincingly. Put aside the poorly documented script and love story and imagine it different for a moment with me. Padme, an intelligent, progressive and bright young woman meets the grown up Anakin, a Jedi not stuck in the hardline conservativism of his fellows, but a thoughtful and idealistic young man who sees past the Jedi philosophy and could be real, lasting change in a stagnant and ancient environment. To Padme, a pragmatic, diligent politician, this could be quite an attractive feature and might encourage more and more time spent together reveling in their shared ideals until finally, one day, they realize they are in much deeper with each other than they ever expected.

  At first this is alright, they keep things a secret and go on with their lives. But the disapproval of the Jedi weighs heavily on the relationship and strains it over time, turning Anakin from someone calm, collected and rational to paranoid, anxious, and tempestuous, always looking over his shoulder. This also causes problems between the two of them and gives Anakin plenty of legitimacy to deflect to the Sith without the contrived prophetic dream sequence. It also gives him cause to be suspicious of literally everyone - including his beloved master and including the woman he loves and is doing everything for. To me this seems like a more realistic and interesting way to spell out the events of the prequels, it gives Anakin's character a lot more agency to have him struggling more with the laws of the Jedi and its personal effects.

  3. PADME'S HANDMAIDENS AND THEIR SECRET REBEL SOCIETY



  This is one of my personal favorite 'what-ifs'. It's a fan theory that I've fully adopted but cannot claim to have come up with myself (sadly I'm not good enough at fan theories). Basically, the five handmaidens of Queen Padme Amidala are portrayed as thoroughly trained soldier/bodyguard/handmaidens who not only look out for the queen but are each very individually intelligent, skilled and strong. Their strength comes from their anonymity and their bonds with each other. The fan theory is that after the death of Padme her handmaidens gather together and join the Rebel Alliance to avenge the death of their friend and queen. This includes them gathering intelligence, acting as spies and operatives and specifically looking into Amidala's death and trying to maintain her legacy of peace and diplomacy. It might possibly even include them watching over/helping to raise and teach Princess Leia on Alderaan. I don't know about you, but that would make a great sub-plot story in my opinion.

  4. AHSOKA TANO - no, actually, hear me out...

"Once I called you brother..." by Renny08 on deviantART

  I know lots of people didn't like Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars movie (some found her more tolerable in the show) and it seems so far removed from the cinematic Star Wars universe that yeah, I can understand if you're apprehensive about this idea. I think it could be really cool though, I mean, look at that magnificent fanart! ^^ Look at the angst! ^^ The possibilites for emotional fallout here are endless.

  Now, I know and am glad that we get a bit of this scene in Star Wars Rebels, but wouldn't it be so much cooler in live action? If they had established Ahsoka as a character in the cinematic universe then Anakin's turn to the Dark Side would have had yet another terrible price to pay. Plus, in the show Ahsoka also struggled with the restrictive Jedi mindset and, if this was applied in the SWCU then it would have been another thing that pushed Anakin away from the order. Adding yet another layer to his character development.

  To take it further, Ahsoka could believe herself at least partially at fault for his turn because of how she defected from the Jedi. Would she feel guilty? Torn by this revelation? Of course she would be forced to confront him, a former master and now enemy whom she had helped create. Would she hear how Obi-Wan failed in his mission to stop him and take it upon herself to track him down and end it? Would she be unable to in the final moments, remembering how he had been as a brother to her, and how she had failed him and left him when he needed her? Would she give in to his anger and rage and let him kill her (as Obi-Wan eventually does) rather than kill him herself? There are so many ways you could go with that and the theorizing of it in my mind just kills me. So come on, say that wouldn't be terribly cruel to audiences? You're a writer, you know it would be deliciously, wonderfully heart-wrenching, don't deny it!

  **The above fanart is titled after the song "The Plagues" from The Prince of Egypt movie soundtrack. And yes, since writing that section of the post I have been listening to the song nonstop. Don't judge me.**

  Ultimately, I feel the greatest tragedy of the prequel trilogy was not Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, but the fact that these movies were SO CLOSE to being SO GOOD. That bothers me every day of my life, not gonna lie. The skeleton of the story is pretty amazing I think, but they just didn't build on it in the best way they could have. And that is the saddest aspect of all of this to me.

  So there you have it, a few of the ways I would have tried to make the Star Wars prequels a little better. What do you think of these headcanons? Agree, disagree, intrigued or turned off? Do you have any mental improvements on the prequels of your own that you'd like to share? Please, nerd with me!