My The Rise of Skywalker Theory: Rey is a Clone

A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer dropped and well. . . I feel it’s time to share a theory I’ve had since The Force Awakens (Spoiler alert from here on out).

First, the trailer:

Since The Force Awakens (TFA), I’ve concluded Rey is a clone of Luke Skywalker’s hand from The Empire Strikes Back (TESB). These points have only been reinforced with more Star Wars films. Why? Let me quickly list my points then elaborate on them further:

1. Rey has no knowledge/vision of her parents
2. Rey speaks with a British accent
3. General Hux discussing cloning very briefly in TFA
4. Luke/Vader’s lightsaber “called” to her in TFA
5. Rey’s vision of Cloud City when when she first grabbed the lightsaber
6. Snoke’s non-existent backstory
7. A lot of things in the new films are previously established Star Wars canon, “the Expanded Universe” (EU), now known as “Legends.”
8. It doesn’t break the Jedi Code, keeping the Skywalker lineage clean
9. The new trailer

1. Rey has no knowledge/vision of her parents

In The Last Jedi (TLJ), Rey makes it to Ahch-To and trains with Luke to both try and recruit him and have him train her as a Jedi. Much like how Luke fought a faux Darth Vader in TESB, Rey falls into a cave and sees a silhouette of her “parents.” We get no information on what they look like or even if they’re human. They’re simply shadows. In TFA, all we get is a flashback of Rey’s “parents” flying away on a ship – as if she was left abandoned. As a child, surely one should be able to have any little glimpse of their parents. Heck, in Return of the Jedi (RotJ), Leia said about her mother, “She was, very beautiful, kind, but sad.” Even though Leia WAS A BABY, she still had an idea about her mother. What’s Rey got? Nothing. Why? Because there’s nothing there.

Rey’s parents or shadow puppets?

2. Rey speaks with a British accent

I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the reasons why most Imperials speak with a British accent is for one of two reasons: One is that they’re imperialists much like how the British were – George Lucas wanted a direct correlation to the Empire and to real-world history. The second reason is because they’re from the central worlds like Coruscant, Corellia, Chandrila (lots of C’s there), and Alderaan. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn both had accents because they were on Coruscant with the Jedi and raised in central worlds. The Imperials had the accent because they were from main worlds. Mon Mothma and Bail Organa both had semi-British accents (as did Leia in A New Hope (ANH)). Jyn Erso from Rogue One had an accent because of her father raising her with Imperials around.

These accents are important to note because if Rey really did come from a poor world and family were really “filthy junk traders who sold [her] off for drinking money,” she wouldn’t have had the accent. She most definitely would not have picked it up on Jakku. She must have been raised in an Imperial world – or at least a central world. This is backed up further into my next point:

3. General Hux discussing cloning very briefly in TFA

Kylo Ren: How capable are your soldiers, General?
General Hux: I won’t have you question my methods.
Kylo Ren: They’re obviously skilled at committing high treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army.
General Hux: My men are exceptionally trained. Programmed from birth.
Kylo Ren: Then they should have no problem retrieving the droid.

This little discussion early in TFA subtly plants the suggestion into the reader’s mind that cloning IS A THING yet we don’t hear about it again.

In ANH, cloning was loosely talked about with Luke, Leia, and Obi-Wan, as the two Skywalker’s mentioned Obi-Wan serving with Anakin (or Bail) in the Clone Wars. Outside of that (and the prequels), we’re led to believe that’s all there is to cloning – only cloned Stormtroopers (but more with that on point 8). However, here we know that the bad guys, the First Order, are ACTIVELY using clones for the first time since the prequels (or in the Star Wars timeline, 60-80 years later). And like I said, that’s weird because cloning was not relevant in the original Star Wars trilogy, nor has cloning been relevant in the first two films of the new trilogy. So why bring it up at all? And I can’t help but feel that clones will probably have British accents like the rest of the First Order too. . .

4. Luke/Vader’s lightsaber “called” to her in TFA

A lot of this will be reinforced in point 7, however I think it’s important to let you know that in the Timothy Zahn book series, the Thrawn trilogy, Grand Admiral Thrawn has Luke Skywalker’s hand, cut off by Darth Vader in TESB, and clones it to create the cringe-worthy clone named “Luuke.” (I know, right?)

To make things really interesting, and to kind of sprinkle in point 5, with Rey’s vision of Cloud City, one could see how the blood of a Skywalker could want to “call out” to the lightsaber. To hit the point home even further, Rey touched the lightsaber and immediately found herself in Cloud City. Now most people would assume that it’s because “that’s where the lightsaber was last.” Perhaps it was Rey “remembering” when she was on Cloud City? A deja vu, if you may. However, it’s the Skywalker blood that’s having the deja vu. How can Rey not remember her parents, yet have a vision of some place she’s never been to?

♫”We built this Cloud City and Rey’s a clone.”♫

6. Snoke’s non-existent backstory

One thing I absolutely despise in storytelling is how the storyteller will purposefully leave out important information to make the “big reveal” feel stronger – films that loosely reveal information that helps develop a backstory – either with flashbacks or some sort of prophecy. With Snoke, it honestly feels more “hidden” than anything. There was tons of time to slip a line or two in about Snoke’s backstory. But what does the audience get? Nothing! Not a single damn thing. Films that purposefully hide plot points behind reveals is simply lazy storytelling. For a while, I was feeling frustration that there was lazy storytelling in TFA and TLJ. I really ripped into The Last Jedi over that one, actually.

However, I’ve come to the more comfortable conclusion that they’re purposefully not telling us because this “clone” reveal is going to be so huge that any glimpse into Snoke’s past would have said too much. If anything, since we know Emperor Palpatine is back, I’ll bet you Snoke was a failed clone of Emperor Palpatine – hence the disfigured face and, well, everything.

Speaking of hiding plot points, and to reinforce point 3: I wonder why General Hux – or for that matter, director J.J. Abrams – had cloning mentioned in TFA at all if cloning hadn’t been necessary to any plot point in the new films yet? . . . hmm.

7. A lot of things in the new films are previously established from the Star Wars EU, now known as “Legends.”

A lot has been borrowed from the original Star Wars EU, previously established in earlier books, video games, and comics. I mentioned in my review of The Last Jedi, that “Leia’s use of the Force bubble is something pulled from the EU/Legends in the book, The Courtship of Princess Leia.”

We also have lots of other tidbits from the EU, such as:
– The Hammerhead class Republic cruiser in Rogue One, which originated from the Knights of the Old Republic video game
– Kylo Ren being named “Ben,” which is what Luke and Mara Jade call their son
– The Sun Crusher and Starkiller Base both have the ability to wipe out systems, not just planets
– Exar Kun was an evil force that helped wreck Luke’s New Jedi Order. Look at what Kylo Ren did.
– Kylo Ren, a Solo, turned to the dark side. Just like Han and Leia’s son, Jacen Solo, turning to the dark side and becoming Darth Caedus
– Death Troopers looking like Shadowtroopers from Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
– In Solo: A Star Wars Story, L3-37 (ugh) is very similar named and looking like LE-BO2D9, or “Leebo,” Dash Rendar’s droid from Shadows of the Empire
– Swoop bikes and Dash Rendar’s Outrider from Shadows of the Empire were added into the Special Edition of ANH
– Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber was originally created with Exar Kun
– Kylo Ren’s crossguard lightsaber first originated out of the Star Wars comic books
– Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Star Wars TV series is originally from the EU books
– I’ll admit I’m speculating here, but in the Thrawn trilogy by Zahn, Leia feels the presence of Palpatine where he died in space over Endor. In a later book by Zahn, the Emperor returns as a clone. From the first teaser trailer, we hear the Emperor laugh over the destroyed Death Star on Endor. . .

Believe me, there’s more. But what I’m trying to get at, is that the Star Wars films aren’t without influence from things considered “non-canon.” The idea of Rey being a clone isn’t too far fetched when cloning characters is literally within the confines of the fantasy world Star Wars has built. We hear the Emperor laughing in the first teaser trailer for The Rise of Skywalker (TRoS). Is it that wrong to assume he’s back as a clone?

8. It doesn’t break the Jedi Code, keeping the Skywalker lineage clean

This is my big one: Anakin Skywalker falls in love with Padmé Amidala and marries her. That is forbidden by the Jedi Order because jealousy, temptation, and fear of loss could ultimately turn one to the dark side. Anakin breaks the Jedi Order, falls in love, and turns to the dark side. He becomes Darth Vader, the ultimate bad guy.

Padmé, however, gives birth to Luke and Leia. Leia is not a Jedi technically, so she’s in clear. Also, because Star Wars borrows from the real world, Ben is a Solo, not a Skywalker, because of his dad.

The clone of Rey, however, would be the perfect way to wipe the slate clean for the Skywalker lineage. Not only would Rey be a Skywalker, but she would be a way for Luke to “have a child” without ever having to break the Jedi Order. This Rey clone would keep the Skywalker lineage in check, and thus keep the Jedi, or even a neutral “Jedi” path, safe (that link/idea is also from the EU and has been heavily suggested from fans). It’s also called, “The Rise of Skywalker,” not “The Rise of Solo,” so it can’t be talking about Ben. What a better way to keep Luke’s lineage/nobility to the Jedi Order than to just clone him than have him “break the rules.”

9. The new trailer

Ah. The face of someone who has complete control of their mind. Definitely not a clone. . . ?

And finally we come to the new trailer that has dropped. We see Rey with a double-bladed lightsaber (which I’ve already established came from the Expanded Universe). Doesn’t she look a bit. . . stoic? Seems familiar to one Luuke Skywalker.

Mentally, he was little more than a mindless drone, an extension of Joruus C’baoth’s will. The clone was created for C’baoth’s use as a tool, and he obeyed the insane Jedi Master’s every command instantly. The clone was devoid of any sense of individuality and showed no recognizable sign of emotion until the end of his bout with [Luke] Skywalker, when he shrieked and attacked Mara Jade in fury after a viewscreen blew up in his face. Skywalker considered the clone to be thoroughly evil, a twisted perversion of himself.

While I’m not suggesting that there’s going to be TWO Rey’s in TRoS, it wouldn’t surprise me if she became the Luuke in this example – the extension of the Emperor’s mind to fight Kylo Ren or something. I’m not sure, of course. However, when you think of a mindless drone, that certainly is the face of one, no? From that short clip, Rey’s mind is gone, and I’m suggesting, is under Palpatine’s will.

I have to say, the more information that comes out about the film, unless it explicitly shows “these are Rey’s parents!” I have to continue my rationale that Rey, is indeed, a clone of Luke Skywalker’s hand.

Thoughts, concerns, or arguments to be had? Let’s go!

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’.

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Clichés in Fantasy Storytelling: Prophecies

Clichéd storytelling, man. It freaks me out.

It reoccurs in many films and books throughout many cultures around the world and we’re usually quite satisfied with the final product.

Specifically I’m speaking about any kind of prophecies that are placed in the film in order to actually make the story a story. Yes, there are films and books whose stories rely entirely upon a prophecy. Without the prophecy there would be no need for a story and as such no way for the masses to consume. Prophecies are a big part of fantasy stories. One is almost to expect them to appear in one way or another in the story as they seem like common practice for the genre.

Some of these clichéd points are done either really well or really awful. Or they’re hidden well enough that when one considers how the rest of the story is portrayed, the cliché is forgiveable.

In my eyes, writing in a prophecy is no different than writing a deus ex machina for the ending of the story. The only difference is that a prophecy gives the writer the rest of the story to set up the crap-shoot of an ending to make the prophecy make sense. In contrast, the deus ex machina will simply resolve it by some bizarre fashion (or groan-worthy moment).

I think of it like writing during NaNoWriMo: if someone decides to make a story for the month, they plug away at it and when they don’t know how to end it, the deus ex comes in and saves the story.

Alternatively, if someone doesn’t really know how to end their story properly because they “just need to write X amount of words,” putting a prophecy in at the beginning makes the ending fall into place easier.

But it’s strange. We’ve all shook our heads to clichéd storytelling at one time or another, yet we let some stories get away with it more than others. For example, films like The Fifth Element and Lord of the Rings (we’ll go with the film version for LotR simply to make it easier) both use cliché storytelling models and we’re (well, I am) mostly okay with it.

The Fifth Element is self-aware and tongue-in-cheek regarding its central prophecy (that a Fifth Element will save the world), and it is established at the beginning of the movie. The story itself is a wild one, filled with nods to other science-fiction films and stories, while kind of really making the prophecy the central point of the movie – it became fun and was purposefully clichéd.

If your prophecy includes Chris Tucker, I'm instantly hooked.
If your prophecy includes Chris Tucker, I’m instantly hooked.

While one easily argue that The Fifth Element is rather trite with its story, it still reeks of fan-service to its audience that (in my opinion) out-weighs the stories short-comings regarding the cliché of prophecies.

In the Lord of the Rings film, it is established early on that the sword that cut off Sauron’s finger which bore the ring is needed to quell Sauron’s forces. Only Aragorn, if he fulfills the prophecy of returning to the throne by wielding the sword, can he help defeat Sauron’s evil.

This cliché feels a bit more laxed as there are multiple stories happening within the film, so as a viewer, it is not the central story to the movie. It’s a bit of a passable cliché solely because it’s not involving a main character – or at least one that hasn’t become a main character yet from the storytelling and audience’s perspective.

Then we have The Matrix. One character, Morpheus, passes the prophecy onto our main character, Neo. Then the viewer is dragged along for another two movies as the prophecy is continually shoved into our face with more philosophy than action (I should take this time to say I actually enjoyed the Matrix trilogy. However, I have to be critical for reasons of this discussion). The prophecy, from the beginning, becomes the heart of the movie and in-turn, is all the movie is trying to resolve – Neo fulfilling his destiny/ancient prophecy told by the elders.

“If I’m the Chosen One, does that mean I get to keep this spoon?”

Now that I’ve ripped on three major films regarding this topic, let me redirect the focus to something a bit more constructive.

Let’s look at Star Wars and how these films deal with prophecies.

A long time ago in a prophecy far, far away. . .

Starting in order of appearance, we have the Original Trilogy (OT) – episodes IV: A New Hope, V: The Empire Strikes Back, and VI: Return of the Jedi – which do not really deal with prophecies much at all. Then we have the Prequel films – episodes I: The Phantom Menace, II: Attack of the Clones, and III: Revenge of the Sith – which is all about the prophecy of “the Chosen One” (to clarify, I’m not referring to this chosen one).

That’s not to say that there are not prophecy-like instances in the OT.

What I would like to try and show here (and is essentially my thesis) is that the way in which Star Wars presented prophecies is what I think, one of the better ways to tell a story involving prophecies.

Now let’s drive right in and talk this one out.

Within the OT, we have the traditional fantasy story of a young hero out to save a princess and fight the forces of evil. Within that fantasy is the all-powerful Force: a mystical power that binds everything together and can be used for good or evil. As the story moves on into episodes V and VI, it unfolds to finding out that the villain is the hero’s father (spoiler) and that it is up to the hero to save him and defeat evil once and for all.

“Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up my stolen dank mix tapes.”

That is a very bare-bones summary of the OT, but I think it works when trying to discuss prophecies. There was a mention about an “ancient religion” by Admiral Motti in A New Hope, and villain Darth Vader does proclaim, “Luke it is your destiny,” in The Empire Strikes Back when it came to trying to convince Luke to join him.

But that was really all that stood out regarding prophecies. The OT films did not rely on prophecies to make the story work and rarely alluded to them as well. There is mention of the Force in all three of the OT films, but it is not tied to a prophecy at all. The Force just “is.” Most people agree that the OT films are the best ones because of acting, action, effects, and so on. However, they may not be aware of it – but it could be because of the lack of clichéd prophecies within the fantasy world too.

But let’s look at the prequels.

“You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it’s this. . . boy [Anakin]?” asks Mace Windu in The Phantom Menance.

In Revenge of the Sith:
Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Is he [Anakin] not the Chosen One? Is he not to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force?”
Mace Windu: “So the prophecy says.”
Yoda: “A prophecy that misread could have been.”

“You [Anakin] were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Revenge of the Sith

The very vague prophecy is implied in little bits in the prequel films but is never fully explored or explained. We know that the prophecy revolves around Anakin Skywalker who will eventually become Darth Vader and kill his master, Emperor Palpatine. We know this because the OT came out thirty years before the prequels did. Anything that happened in the prequels was not really a surprise at all.

Can you see what I’m getting at here?

In the prequel films, we’re told that a young boy, Anakin Skywalker, may be the one to bring balance to the Force. The audience already knows that the prophecy gets fulfilled with Darth Vader, so the prophecy comes to no surprise.

Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace even takes the “mystical” out of the Force by putting science into the Force – and as such – into the prophecy. By describing midi-chlorians and how Anakin has the most of them out of any known Force-user grounds the prophecy to something more tangible rather than speculation. Anakin is the Chosen One because, damn it, he has the most midi-chlorians! That, and because the audience knows he becomes Darth Vader!

It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! I mean, I think I heard that somewhere. I, uh, I'm sure that's what it said!
“It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! I mean, I think I heard that somewhere. I, uh, I’m sure that’s what it said!”

What the prequels do WELL regarding the prophecy cliché is not try to let it become the story. While in The Matrix, there was the story of Neo being the Chosen One. In Star Wars we’re not forced to watch the path of Anakin become the Chosen One because we already know what happens and that he is the Chosen One. In a way, the prophecy is spoiled for the viewer before the prophecy is even brought up in the movie. He still has to bring balance to the Force? Well we knew all the Jedi were going to die and already know that Vader kills Palpatine. The viewer knows how the prophecy is fulfilled already.

The prophecy in the Star Wars prequel films are used as a plot device – a catalyst, if anything – to show the audience the story of Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader – not the story of Anakin Skywalker doing thing-X and something-Y to fulfill a prophecy to conclude the story. The prophecy, first mentioned in Episode I, is used to kick-start the story of Anakin for two more films. But the prophecy is not central or really that important to the rest of the story. The prophecy is in the background being unimportant as the rest of the movies move on. The audience is reminded in little bits, such as with the quotes I’ve posted above about the prophecy, but that’s about it. No one is concerned about the prophecy because the movie isn’t concerned with it. The prophecy and even its origin is not explored any further or delved into any deeper than what it is at face value to the audience. And you know, it works.

While I could see an argument how the prophecy in the Star Wars prequels is kind of like a deus ex machina at the BEGINNING of the movie, it still is not the primary focus of the prequel films, and as such, Star Wars as a whole.

Whoopty doo!! What does it all mean, Basil?!

If the Star Wars prequels did anything right, it was how it handled prophecies within a fantasy world. Midi-chlorians aside, the prequels put the prophecy on the back burner and focused on the characters and actions within the film – the prophecy only being mentioned to remind the viewer that there was a reason why Qui-Gon Jinn died.

But how can a writer get away with clichéd storytelling when they want to write about fantasy or prophecies in general?

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit and I think I have a decent answer thanks to the Star Wars prequels. While one can go through great pains to avoid cliché prophecies, I’ve considered that holding off to explain a prophecy may be best until the world is built around it first.

Promo poster for The Phantom Menace. Spoiler Alert: Anakin becomes Darth Vader. But we already knew that, didn't we? It was not because of some prophecy in the storytelling.
Promo poster for The Phantom Menace. Spoiler Alert: Anakin becomes Darth Vader. But we already knew that, didn’t we? It was not because of some prophecy in the storytelling.

Look at it this way: I feel the prophecy worked in the Star Wars prequels because we already had three established films with the OT. When the prophecy is first mentioned in the prequels, the audience is generally fine with it as they understand the world and what’s to come with the character the prophecy is alluding to.

While I’m not saying one should spoil the ending of their story at the beginning solely to let a prophecy flow nicely and not feel clichéd, as a writer or author, you can keep that tool in mind to craft something much more genuine and unique. It would be something where it requires a lot of planning, but as a result, one would have a more fulfilled fantasy world with a rich and diverse setting and a deeper understanding to why there is a prophecy and how it is believable, rather than adding in a prophecy solely to get a character from Point A to Point B.

Establishing a prophecy at the beginning of a story simply to let the character go through the motions of fulfilling it makes for a clichéd – and boring – story. However, to establish a prophecy within the world without overtly telling the audience about it is key to a good writer and good storytelling.

Hulk smash prophecies

Here’s another case: I’ve recently re-read Greg Pak’s run on The Incredible Hulk with the story Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. Long story short, the Hulk is sent to another planet called Sakarr and is enslaved to fight in a gladiatorial arena. After a few victories, the peasants of the planet begin to see how strong he is and how he could be Sakarrson – the one to free the people of Sakaar. At the same time, the ruler of the planet and host to the gladiator arena, the Red King, has already been considered to be the Sakarrson by the people of Sakarr.

So the Hulk – and the reader – is forced into a story and onto a planet where a prophecy was already established before any of them got there. The Hulk is learning of the prophecy along with the reader. It feels natural because the prophecy has already been fulfilled – in this case by the Red King.

PSA: Surf boards are not adequate shields.
PSA: Surf boards are not adequate shields.

While the prophecy is established early on within the story like that in The Matrix or Lord of the Rings, it comes along as a natural occurrence because it is not forced upon the reader by an obvious means.

Writing Fantasy is hard

When it comes to writing about prophecies, it certainly requires some major thinking and reworking of a story in order to avoid the cliché and come up with something that is engaging for audiences.

However, I feel like it should be said again: cliché storytelling is not bad at all. It’s quite common and works a lot of the times such as with the examples of The Fifth Element and Lord of the Rings. What stings is that within fantasy realm, the cliché can be overused. As the term cliché implies, it’s a failure of originality. Once one sees enough prophecy clichés, it becomes a bit tiresome.

When a prophecy does not fall under a cliché, there is excitement and zest that comes with the story that can be felt by the reader – and more importantly – the writer.

Admittedly, I’m critical about these sorts of things. I partly blame watching nearly every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but also the fact that I’m an author myself really strikes a nerve.

Once upon a time I wrote something without using clichés. The Distomos is not one of them.
Once upon a time I wrote something without using clichés. The Distomos is not one of them.

While my book, The Distomos, avoids using prophecies like the plague, it is still a challenge to create a world that is unique and engaging for the reader to enjoy. On one hand, it’s part of the job as being a writer. On the other, it’s part of the challenge I want to give myself when creating something for the masses. I did not want to create another clone of what other people have read or seen before. I wanted to create something different and cool for readers.

But I know even I fell into some clichés while writing my story. Sometimes they are unavoidable. But like The Fifth Element or Lord of the Rings, it’s important to have something engaging for the audiences. Not only will they enjoy the story more, but it may also help them not notice the little missteps or care to critique them (See: me regarding The Fifth Element).

But am I on the right track with these ideas? Am I being too critical on The Matrix and not enough on Star Wars? What are your thoughts on clichés in fantasy? Forgiveable or dangerous? Sound off below and let me know what you think!

If not, grab a cup a tea and start writing!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Author Interview – The Brock Press

The University that I went to did an interview with me about my book! It’s now published in their newspaper, The Brock Press! You can see it here! And yes, it even somehow made the front page!

A love for sci-fi leads to Brock grad’s self-published novel
By Celia Carr

After being falsely accused of plagiarism in high school for a strikingly creative and well-written short story, Derek Smith realized that perhaps he had a knack for writing after all. Now, after a lot of dedication, the Brock University graduate has published his own full-length novel, The Distomos.

The Distomos is a sci-fi novel set in the distant future in a world where mankind has taken to the stars and the church reigns as the ultimate form of government. Peace and prosperity are kept through Templars, a kind of policemen appointed by the church. Trouble arises when the Distomos, the secret weapon and power source of the church falls into the hands of the enemy. With very little time before interstellar war begins, the church hires two ex-templars, Kieren Rhet and Normandie Jade, to retrieve it. The Distomos is a story of friendship, courage and faith being tested when all seems hopeless.

The word “Distomos” itself is Hebrew for double-edged sword but the story incorporates a number of different religions which complete the all-encompassing governing church in Smith’s novel.

“It was unintentionally more of a religious story, but there’s more than one religion involved and I sort of play on both sides of the debate,” said Smith. “A lot of it was almost subconscious just because I’ve been so exposed to it. I grew up in St. Catharines and apparently Niagara has the highest amount of churches in an area than anywhere else in Canada. Even just going down Glenridge Avenue, there’s at least five or six churches. Religion is very prevalent around here so it sort of just made its way into my writing.”

Smith knew from a young age that he wanted to be a writer, stating he was always writing Star Wars fan-fiction before he even knew what fan-fiction was. This creative spark eventually lead him to pursue an English degree at Brock in hopes that it would help him with his potential future career in writing. He graduated from Brock in 2009 with a degree in English and professional writing.

“I always had ideas but I never knew what to do with them,” said Smith. “It was in my third year of university that I took a creative writing journalism course, and I started writing in that class. It was mostly just a fictional skeleton of a story but just being in that class sparked a lot of creativity.”
After a lengthy process of writing, copious amounts of tea and learning the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing, The Distomos was officially published on Feb. 21.

Smith works full-time from March until August, so the majority of his writing took place from September until December. Sometimes he would be writing for as many as 16 hours per day, taking short breaks in between. He mentioned that he purposely bought a laptop that couldn’t handle an internet browser to avoid distractions while working on his novel.

“It was honestly just a matter of sitting down and actually writing it,” said Smith. “So that’s what I did. I just sat down and wrote.”

Smith described how many rules there are for self-publishing including things as simple as finding fonts to use on the cover that aren’t copyrighted. Aside from already writing an entire novel, sorting out the rules and legalities was a project of its own, but Smith said he enjoyed the otherwise tedious work. The Distomos also became a very “Brock” oriented project as it was peer-edited by other Brock English graduates. The front cover was illustrated by another Brock graduate, Matthew Therrien, who is now a professional illustrator based-out of Toronto.

Smith is now in the process of getting his novel into bookstores and currently runs a blog on how to self-publish.

To learn more about Derek and The Distomos, visit Smith’s blog at Uncannyderek.com. Paperback copies of The Distomos are currently available to order through Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and Lulu.com. E-book versions are available in the iTunes store and on Lulu.com.

When you’re out and about, you can pick up a copy of the paper today!

Distomos Front Page

While you’re at it, you can also follow me on Twitter.

For more information about the book or where to purchase it:
Paperback copies available through Amazon.ca
Paperback copies available through Amazon.com
Paperback copies available through Barnes & Noble.com
Paperback copies available through Lulu.com.

Ebook copies:
iTunes Store
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

—–

Until next time, Keep on Space Truckin’!

The Distomos – Still in the Top of the Month!

A surprise to me, The Distomos is still in the top-selling list on Lulu.com!

Top Selling Book

Once again, I cannot thank you all enough for making this such a successful venture. As my first self-published novel, it’s quite humbling to know that there are people interested in helping out “the little guy” and making dreams come true.

I certainly have learned a lot from making this happen. Not only has it been a great experience, but also a ton of fun to do! Writing is something I love to do. With the positive experience I’ve had with making this novel, you can guarantee there will be more stories coming your way!

To keep updated with the excitement, you can follow me on Twitter.

For more information about the book or where to purchase it:
Paperback copies available through Amazon.ca
Paperback copies available through Amazon.com
Paperback copies available through Barnes & Noble.com
Paperback copies available through Lulu.com.

Ebook copies:
iTunes Store
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

—–

Until next time, Keep on Space Truckin’!

The Distomos Ranked #1 Book of the Month!

I found out The Distomos has made #1 on the Top 100 Sales in ALL BOOKS and SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY this MONTH on Lulu!

Distomos Ranked First

This has completely taken me by surprise! I have to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a copy and have supported me through this journey!

It’s been a wild ride so far! I’ve been driving all across the city, hand-delivering books and stirring up excitement along the way. I had not anticipated how much labour I would be doing when selling. Of course the snow hasn’t helped. . .

I digress. I can tell you that I have already gone through a good chunk of my inventory and am ready to continue pushing the book into deeper channels! When I get a chance to next week, I’ll be hopping into local stores with my ISBN number to get the book out there further!

The whole self-publishing journey has been a great experience so far. I cannot express how happy I am with how it has gone. Now I cannot stop thinking about how I will plan my next novel.

As for this first week with The Distomos – it’s been a blast. I have been given so much love and support; it’s definitely overwhelming with “the feels.”

With that, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and more importantly, spread the word around about the book!

For more information about the book or how to purchase it, see below:

Paperback copies available through Amazon.ca
Paperback copies available through Amazon.com
Paperback copies available through Barnes & Noble.com
Paperback copies available through Lulu.com.
Limited edition signed copies are available through me. For more information, please contact me at uncannyderek(at)hotmail.com with the subject line: The Distomos.

Ebook copies:
iTunes Store
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

—–

Until next time, Keep on Space Truckin’!

NotDeadNoWriMo

I’ll admit that I’m struggling to make these titles still work.

Anyway, Happy New Year! It’s been a bit, I know. As with the holidays, things become needlessly hectic and out of control. I unfortunately got zero editing done in the month of December. It felt as if it was the busiest month of 2013 for me – next to February (when I moved).

As of last week though, I got back on track. I’ve edited about an eighth* of my story and am still plugging along. I definitely plan on having it completely finished with edits by the end of February. From there I’ll be passing the story off to a few English Literature friends of mine to do a once-over.

From there I’ll be making the necessary changes to either send it to a professional editor, or head right to publishing!

Now whether I’m going to self-publish or go through a publisher has yet to be seen. I also am debating whether I should self-fund or Kickstart the novel. For one thing, Kickstarter definitely offers awesome publicity.

On the other hand, I have no idea what I’m doing.

We’ll see what happens next! I’ll keep you posted!

*I am awful with fractions.

EditNoWriMo

“EditNoWriMo?” Why do I keep coming up with this garbage?

Today was the first day I sat down and began to re-read my story from the beginning. I’m pleased to say, while my writing did not change, I did add a lot more detail early on in the novel.

When I originally started thinking and writing. . .

. . . I continued to describe things – how people looked, the environments, and what-not. I found I was focusing too much on the “image” of things and not the actual story. So not even a sixth (maybe an eighth? I was never good with fractions) into the book, I started leaving out those details in order to get the plot done. It turned out great for me because hey – I finished writing my novel!

Now I am going back to add in the little details I skipped over before. It’s really interesting because it’s like going through a novel you have read in the past, then adding your own flair to it.

But it’s also a bit strange going back to the beginning. Obviously I know how it all ends, but you know, it’s hard to explain. The fact that I can see the book from it’s conception? Is this how parents feel looking at baby photos? I sure hope they don’t always think of their child’s conception when they look at them. . .

I digress.

When I tell people I still have to edit my novel, I am continually asked: “How long will that take?” Since I have began the edits today, and keeping in mind I’m adding new things as I go along, it took me about an hour to get through two pages. And I also added another six hundred words! Hooray!

So yes, I’m rocking it so far!

In sum: I cannot answer the question because I still have my work cut out for me. And damn, is it ever fun!

Until next time, folks!