I’m not entirely sure how it happened, especially as I’ve been held hostage this week, or as my children call it, celebrating winter break, but the hubby and I actually managed to sneak out long enough to watch Rogue One.
Yeah, I am as stunned as you.
And it was awesome. But I’m not here to divulge spoilers. Nor am I here to write a tribute to Carrie Fisher, as deserved as that might be. No I want to talk about what Rogue One can teach us about story telling and life in general.
Work toward an ending
The premise of Rogue One was simple. It exists to answer the question as to how the rebels got the plans to the Death Star in the first place, a catalyst event that sets off all the events of the next three movies in the original franchise. The ending of their story was clear, the beginning – not so much, forcing the screenwriters to work backwards. And it was a effective technique. It worked so well, I found myself surprised as well as satisfied by the ending, even though I knew full well what it would be before I purchased my ticket.
This same concept can be applied to planning any goal, not just writing.
I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. To me, they are far too easy to make and therefore far too easy to break. So I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions. Instead I set one to three wildly optimistic End of Year Goals.
Then I work backwards, setting smaller monthly and weekly goals for myself, all in support of the larger ones. So that at year’s end I am not disappointed by how many resolutions I have broken, but instead motivated by how much more I have accomplished.
It is okay not to have an answer for everything
There are certain questions Rogue One doesn’t answer, such as what was the rift between factions the Rebel Alliance wants to mend so desperately or who keeps awarding the Imperial console button contracts to the most lost cost industrial switch manufacturer the galaxy has ever seen when they obviously utilize high-end contracts for sleek exterior ship design. There could be spin-off on spin-offs of stories if the writers choose to answer everything, but in this case I think it is a better experience to let the viewer’s or reader’s imaginations fill in the blanks. A few loose ends can keep a story interesting.
Likewise, even with my goals, I’ve accepted there are certain areas of my life, both personally and professionally, I don’t have mapped out, at least not for this year. That’s okay. A little bit of unknown now just means I have choices to explore later, or goals still out there to achieve.
Rebellions are built on hope
This is a line used a few times in the movie, a somewhat tongue in cheek reference to the title of the next movie in line in the series, A New Hope. But it is also true. In order for any well written story to progress, a character must first believe that change is possible. They have to believe deep in their core that they can evade a vastly superior military force, complete a foolhardy mission, or otherwise avenge a loved one. Otherwise what is the point of leaving home in the first place.
The past year will not go down as a personal favorite of mine for a number of reasons. But that is no reason enough for me to believe the coming year will be more of the same. I will instead continue to focus on what I can change, whether that change be big or small, rather than what is out of my control. I may not achieve all my big goals this year, but no matter the outcome, I will be closer tomorrow than I am today for trying. Because I am one with the force, the force is with me.
May you all have an equally happy and force-full New Year