We’ve talked a lot about Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare’s upcoming MMORPG, including talking about its tie-ins in novel and comic book form.
Today on the official site of the game, senior writer Alexander Freed, who has also written two arcs of the SWTOR comic for Dark Horse, has an extensive post about writing tie-ins, writing licenses, and just writing in general. Some of his writing rules definitely reach outside of just game comics, especially this one:
In addition to having connections to the game, a The Old Republic tie-in also needs to stand on its own. Not every reader is going to be intimately familiar with the game’s background and characters (especially before the game has come out!). For that matter, some may only have a broad familiarity with the Star Wars movies–perhaps they’ve only ever seen the original trilogy and don’t know Jar Jar Binks from Mara Jade.
So how do you write for an audience of casual fans along with the hardcore? You assume no foreknowledge on the part of the reader and you introduce everything he or she needs to know–and you make sure that you have characters and situations that resonate regardless of how they interact with the game.
Does a reader of The Lost Suns need to know that Theron Shan’s mother is a Jedi? Absolutely, and seeing Satele Shan in action during her youth (as we do in both the “Return” cinematic and The Lost Suns issue one) helps establish Theron’s identity and the setting as a whole.
Does a reader of Blood of the Empire need to know that Exal Kressh is the latest child of a Sith bloodline going back to Ludo Kressh (a character established in Tales of the Jedi comic series)? Absolutely not! Knowledgeable fans will spot the reference and infer its impact on Exal’s character, but it’s an extra–not an integral part of the plot.
There is one exception to the rule, however, and that is to always assume that your audience is smart. Give readers a strong story with characters they care about, and they’ll figure out what matters. There is no need to spoon-feed people. Simply make sure everything they need is there and they will put it all together.
Tons more from Freed at the link here as part of SWTOR.com’s weekly Friday updates. And just in case you don’t feel like exploring once you click over, here’s the awesome new Smuggler class progression video for you, too, right after the jump.