Written By: Mike Kern
Republic Trooper hosts Fan Fiction Mondays every week and recently we had the opportunity to sit down with a few other prominent Fan Fiction writers in the SWTOR community. We asked them to share their thoughts on writing and what brought them to a Time Long Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
Republic Trooper: How did you get into writing? What was the earliest thing you can remember writing?
Dimbo the Trooper: I entered a writing contest from Mos Eisley Radio that involved writing a back story for your main character in SWTOR. After I posted mine I got several emails and comments asking when the next episode was. My initial response was ‘um never?’ It really kind of took off from there. I started to think about Dimbo adventuring through the Star Wars galaxy and it came so easily [that] I had to write it down.
The earliest thing I remember writing I really can’t recall. My high school English paper on King Henry the VIII maybe, but I’m sure it was bad!.
RT: What about The Old Republic motivated you to start up Dimbo the Trooper?
Dimbo: I’ve been asked this question in the past and since I was under a certain NDA it was hard to answer, but I decided to start writing DtT after being in beta, and trying out each class I fell in love with the Trooper. I knew that was who Dimbo would be in SWTOR.
RT: You’ve been writing Dimbo for some time now, what keeps you writing?
Dimbo: I still feel like I have story to tell. One of my characters Zotta, is based off my real life best friend, a guy I went through the Navy with. We served together and stood at one another’s side in our weddings. Now we both have families and live far apart, but when I write and Zotta and Dimbo adventure together, it’s like Phil and Jeff are spending time together.
RT: Can you explain your writing process? How do you go from the conception of your idea to the final print on your blog?
Dimbo: The important thing for me is that I actually write, meaning that I sit down with a pen and some blank paper and I tell my story and don’t stare at a computer screen and worry about details (initially). I have an idea where I want to go or I make an outline and write the story. Afterward I type it onto my computer and then go back and add detail, colors, scenery, fight scenes, etc. (I hate editing, though! Why can’t you guys just read the stories the way I have them in my head?)
RT: What other work has influenced your writing?
Dimbo: Mandalorian Girl, Natasha, has really influenced me and really helped me to get started. She is a close friend and someone I can turn to if I need help in writing or real life.
Strangely enough, my service in the US Navy has influenced my writing. I’m proud of my service and I wanted to bring that into my writing. Dimbo serves the Republic faithfully but he also believes in a code. If you break the code well…
I also enjoy reading books any kind really, mostly Star Wars, Sci-fi and/or mystery (‘who done it’ books)
RT: What do you find challenging about writing your story the way you do (via blog and general internet consumption)?
Dimbo: I get emails and comments and re-tweets saying how much people enjoy my stories, my writing, and the characters I have created. I would like more views/hits, not because I desire numbers, but because I want people to know about my story give it a read and if they like it, to stick with it. If it’s not for them and they move on at least they gave it a shot. I’m writing this for the SWTOR community as well as Star Wars fans just as much as I’m writing it for me.
RT: Has anything surprised you about writing in this way? (The attention you receive is one, we’re sure, but what else?)
Dimbo: I sure was surprised when TOR Syndicate asked me to do a live reading on their podcast! I’m surprised at how easy the story I’m trying to tell forms in my head and then comes out on paper. Now that’s not to say I don’t stare at a white page sometimes, wondering where to do next, but all day long I’m thinking, jotting down ideas and growing my story before I settle in to put it to paper. When I write and I’m in the Star Wars galaxy, I’m smiling and I’m happy.
RT: How has working on Dimbo the Trooper influenced the way you write? Has it changed how you view writing in any way?
Dimbo: It’s because of Dimbo the Trooper that I write. I enjoy characters people can relate to. I get invested in [the] characters and their stories, especially the side- and back-stories. They are my favorite.
RT: Do you see yourself pursing writing in any of your future endeavors?
Dimbo: Hey if someone emailed/called me and said we want you to write a book for us or write for our video game I’d be all about it, but for now it’s just a hobby and something I enjoy very very much.
RT: Has the exposure you received on Dimbo the Trooper given you any new opportunities that you hadn’t expected?
Dimbo: I’m just honored to be a part of the community, and having people like Bootleg media, SWATH radio, The Cantina Cast, Corellian Run Radio, Keyboard Heroes and even Nothing Gaming promote my stuff is opportunities enough. Having the fansite dedicated to Troopers email me and ask me for an interview is a fantastic honor (I’m not sucking up either, I mean you guys already asked me so I must be in good or you guys are starving for content).
Editor’s comment: It’s definitely the former, sir!
RT: What would you say to someone who has an interest in writing fan fiction?
Dimbo: Don’t get hung up on the details. I know people who have asked me for help writing fight scenes because they are sometimes hard to write, and my response was: don’t write them, move on and finish the story arc. Then with your mind clear and the ending not weighting heavily on your mind, you’ll be ready to fight it out in your story and on paper.
Also, Wookiepedia is your friend.
RT: How long do you plan on continuing Dimbo the Trooper? Does their story have a definitive end in mind or are you discovering their journey along with the rest of us?
Dimbo: Dimbo the Trooper has no definitive ending. I know where I want to go and how to get there, but I let a lot of things fall into place. Dimbo has a lot of missions ahead of him and more companions to meet along the way, so I hope everyone enjoys the ride.
RT: Since this is Republic Trooper, we have to ask, what do you like best about the Trooper class?
Dimbo: I really enjoyed the Trooper story. I felt like just because I was ordered to bring back this chemical that could have been used as a WMD (weapon of mass destruction), that didn’t mean I had to. I was the one with boots on the ground and it was up to me to make the choices on the battlefield that I felt were best for the Republic. I also like the armor, I always feel like a solider and looking like something out of the movies which was/is very important to me. But I am playing my agent at the moment, operative heal spec and I absolutely love it. I find it interesting that I’m drawn to both military classes but I can’t help it.
RT: Do you have any words for our readers? Have any special project you’d like to plug?
Dimbo: Please go read my Trooper fan fiction at http://dimbotrooper.wordpress.com and let me know what you think. Post a comment or send me an email at dimbotrooper[@]gmail[dot]com. I’d love to hear from you or answer any questions you might have.
I do a podcast/Vidcast with Keyboard heroes www.keyboardheroes.ca as well.
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Tags: Bioware, Bootleg media, community, Corellian Run Radio, Dimbo the Trooper, EA, Electronic Arts, fan fiction, Galactic Republic, Keyboard Heroes, LucasArts, Mandalorian Girl, Mike Kern, Mos Eisley Radio, Nothing Gaming, Republic Trooper, Star Wars, Star Wars: The Old Republic, SWATH radio, SWTOR, The Cantina Cast, TOR, TOR Syndicate, Trooper, Wookiepedia, Zotta