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Writing

What is this “Conviction” thing?

Conviction is a fan fiction novella set in the Star Wars universe. In the tradition of the “Big Idea” and “Five Things I Learned” posts on John Scalzi and Chuck Wendig’s respective blogs, I figured I would write a short piece about it here.

First off, Conviction is about a droid designated R0-N1, who is reactivated after years of being shut off. He wakes confused, uncertain of his own history and not understanding his current circumstances. Once he gets some clarity on that, he has to decide what his real place in the galaxy is. It takes place between the events of Episode III and IV, more specifically between the events of “The Bad Batch” and “Rebels,” if you want to be more specific.

Oh, and R0-N1 has a posse.

Since this is fan fiction, I should note that there are a couple things you will not find in it. One is sex— this isn’t fanfic in the vein of Kirk and Spock getting friendly in the transporter room. My aim was to write something that would fit comfortably alongside any other Star Wars story, and not push beyond. I also wanted to avoid using any existing characters, so while there are clone troopers, they are of my own invention. A character or two from the films do get mentioned, but all the main players are new.

Beyond remaining faithful to the overall tone of Star Wars, the story should also fit comfortably within existing canon. Of course, that could change at any time. In particular, I’ve been watching “The Bad Batch” with great interest, because like Conviction, it touches on the transition from clone troopers to stormtroopers. My version of that transition is gradual, and there are still clones around some years into the Empire, so we’ll see if that remains possible within canon, or if my little fanfic turns into an “Infinities” story overnight. Given R0-N1’s history, it’s also possible that the new “High Republic” material coming out could impact it, though that’s less likely.

Of course, the likelihood of Conviction being conventionally published is slimmer than the chance of a heatwave on Hoth, so I’ve been sitting on it for close to a year, trying to decide what to do with it. I thought about tossing it up on something like AO3, but a quick glance at other postings revealed the kinds of material I hinted at above, and while I have no problem with that, I didn’t want my own story alongside it for the same reason Trans Wizard Harriet Porber And The Bad Boy Parasaurolophus shouldn’t be shelved next to “Prisoner of Azkaban”. God bless Chuck Tingle, but you don’t want to get those mixed up. The obvious thing has always been to post it on my own site, but I didn’t want to run the risk of a nastygram from Disney’s lawyers. Then I saw the first episode of Bucketheads, which somehow manages to be “not for commercial use” and have a Patreon account, at which point I figured the hell with it. I’m not asking for money, let’s toss it on the web site.

BUT— just uploading a PDF would be boring, and wouldn’t give the story much of a chance to find an audience (he says as if he’s going to promote it). Instead, I’m serializing it. As of this writing, the first chapter is up, and the rest are scheduled to be published on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. There are eighteen chapters in all, ranging from 500-3,000 words each. I’ll add chapter links to the index page and individual chapters as we go, and the whole thing should be up before the July 4 holiday. Maybe once the whole thing is up I can upload a PDF if anyone is interested.

One last thing. Because this is Star Wars, it is of course filled with action, hopefully has some humor, and if I’ve done a decent job, should be a fun read. That’s the minimum you should expect from any tale in this universe. Beyond what the story is about, there’s also what the story is about, and I hope it also succeeds in giving the reader something to think about. Namely, can a droid have a sense of morality? And what do you do when you realize your mission is no longer what it was? And finally, anyone interested in sharing this with Dave Filoni? 🙃