A Padawan’s Star Wars Journal, Entry #1: Writing in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

May 5, 2010patterns_reaves

Yes, this is a rerun rerun. In fact, I’m rerunning the entire Padawan’s Journal series because—TA-DA—we are prepping to turn the novel currently known as Holostar in to our beloved publisher and so, this is a sort of countdown to publication. I hope to break up the series though, with progress reports on what’s happening with the book so you can get a sense of the publishing process.

Here’s the first progress report: Michael is working his magic on the book and we are scheduled to turn it in to Del Rey in a few weeks.

Now, without further ado, here is the first entry in my Padawan’s Journal.

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Back in December of 2008 a Star Wars novel entitled (take a very deep breath) STAR WARS — CORUSCANT NIGHTS III — PATTERNS OF FORCE was released by Del Rey through its partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd.

What? You say that title vaguely resembles a mathematical formula and you don’t do mathematical formulas?

Let me translate: It’s a Star Wars novel from the CORUSCANT NIGHTS series by Michael Reaves and the title of this, the third book in the series, is (you guessed it) PATTERNS OF FORCE. The series centers on the exploits of Jedi-in-hiding Jax Pavan and his android sidekick, I-5YQ — I-Five for short (Michael lives in LA, need I say more?). I-Five was also partner to Jax’s daddy, Lorn Pavan, protagonist of the New York Times bestseller DARTH MAUL: SHADOW HUNTER (also by Michael Reaves).

PATTERNS OF FORCE represents my first writing foray into the Star Wars universe. It does not have my name on it (though you will see me mentioned in the acknowledgments), but Michael and I co-wrote the book, which was (big old fanfare) #16 on the New York Times Bestseller list in February of 2009.

My writing relationship with Michael is, ironically and appropriately, a Jedi Master / Padawan sort of thing. He’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi to my Luke Skywalker. After being introduced to each other by teleplay writer Marc Scott Zicree (with whom I collaborated on the MAGIC TIME series from Harper-Collins) Michael and I co-wrote the Del Rey original, MR. TWILIGHT (available from your favorite brick & board or online bookstore), and a Batman novel (BATMAN: FEAR ITSELF). We decided we made a great team. So when he asked me to collaborate with him on PATTERNS, it was a no-brainer.

Working on PATTERNS OF FORCE was fun, exciting and rewarding. Not only are the characters engaging, the story compelling, and the rave reviews from the fans gratifying, but I began to get an inside and behind-the-scenes look at the process of working in this iconic universe that was very enlightening.

For example, those of you are STAR WARS fans likely know that lightsabers come in different colors because of the type of crystal that channels the power of their emissions. But did you know that Lucasfilm allows lightsabers of only particular colors? I did not know this. Neither did Michael until he tried to give his hero, Jax, an amber lightsaber. Lucasfilm responded by patiently explaining that Jedi of the Prequel Era only have green or blue lightsabers and Sith have red. Other colors are a no-no.

“Ah,” you say, “but I saw the movies. Mace Windu has a violet lightsaber.” Yes, he does. But Mace Windu also has a friend in the business: Samuel L. Jackson, whose favorite color for things that glow just happens to be … aw, you guessed! When Samuel L. Jackson says, “I want a violet lightsaber,” apparently even George Lucas does not argue the point.

So now Michael and I are working on a new Star Wars novel with a much less prodigious working title than the previous one: STAR WARS — HOLOSTAR. The fans knew about this novel before the ink was even dry on the contracts due to the fact that information apparently travels through online Star Wars fandom at a speed significantly faster than light.

Fandom is just one of the subjects I’m going to be blogging about as I chronicle the life cycle of a Star Wars novel. Next week: Whence HOLOSTAR—The Concept.

What’s the book about? Hm. News at eleven.

Until then, feed your head—read a book! And may the Force be with you.


Visit Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff‘s bookshelf at Book View Cafe.

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A Padawan’s Star Wars Journal, Entry #1: Writing in a Galaxy Far, Far Away — 12 Comments

  1. News of this has now made it out into the wilds of fandom. Expect visitors!

    Fascinating insights: thank you! Sounds like this series should be something worth following!

  2. Welcome to the GFFA! I had no idea that you co-wrote CN3 Patterns of Force. It was my favorite of the series, a series I about didn’t pick up, luckily I gave Jedi Twilight a chance and enjoyed it very much. It was a very unique trilogy where for once the entire galaxy isen’t up for grabs but a outcast Jedi after Order 66 trying to find his way in a new imperial galaxy with his friends. I will def be reading Reaves and your new book Holostar when it comes out and I wish you luck and hope to see write many other Star Wars books in the near future.

  3. since when i found out about Michael and this unknown author Maya
    writing a SW book without putting it in the book schedule on the Force.Net?Is it my imagination or is this for real? Because i thought after CN series, that was that. After all.

  4. Yup, it’s for real. The outline has been stamped approved, and the publication notice is up on the Del Rey online schedule. It’s also already leaked to the Star Wars forum (in fact, before the ink was dry on the contracts).

    The response to the Coruscant Nights series has been so positive (and I had so much fun working on Patterns that I join you in hoping there will be more books about Jax and I-Five.

    (Let Del Rey know you love ’em, too!) 🙂

  5. Out of curiosity, did Lucasfilm provide an in-universe explanation for why Jedi were only permitted to use green and blue lightsabers?

  6. Indeed. Lightsaber colors are governed by the crystals used to focus the energy of the diatium power cell. At one time, Jedi fashioned lightsabers of a rainbow of colors, but after Palpatine seized power and wiped out the Jedi order, he ordered destroyed or quarantined many of the planets from which the Jedi got their diverse array of crystals. This left the remaining Jedi with only the “common” Ilum crystals which create a blue or green blade.

    Ostensibly, then Mace Windu was old enough to have been a Padawan at a time that the rarer crystals were still available when he crafted his saber.

    Sith lightsabers are red because, according to official sources, they are created using synthetic crystals. (It is unknown if the Empire’s version of the EPA has checked them for pollutants or carcinogens.)

  7. Very cool! Nice to know that somebody else is behind the wheel on this book, kinda makes me more excited to get my hands on it. Acctually, I’ve seen it a million times and just haven’t picked up the first book and read it. I’m always looking for new Star Wars novels, so I’m excited for Holostar!

  8. Maya, are you sure that’s the correct explanation? The Jedi had only blue and green sabers long before Palpatine came to power. Besides, Mace Windu is pretty young compared to most of the Jedi Council. Yoda’s 900 and he has a green saber.

    But I’m really looking forward to this book. I wonder if it’s about Wynssa Starflare.

  9. Hi, Joey,

    Re: lightsabers – that is the official-wishul, canonical explanation from the Essential Guides and the Encyclodpedia.

    I have been authorized to say that the male protagonist will be Dash Rendar. The female holostar referenced in the working title is a mystery…