The Visionary

The other day, I glanced over at Lazy Buns (her actual name, yes; and no, I didn’t come up with it), still in bathrobe and curler mode, and realized I had the same attitude about the world building I had not yet completed for a middle grade science fiction novel I’m writing. There was so much work yet to do, but I was feeling lazy.

“Join meeeeeeee,” Lazy Buns hissed in her best Darth Vader imitation, a voice incongruent with her small stature.

To snap out of the trance I’d fallen into, I turned to some behind-the-scenes DVD documentaries. I’ve mentioned before that I love documentaries on the creative process. I’m particularly fascinated by authors and filmmakers who envision possibilities not previously foreseen, even in the face of criticism. We think of them as visionaries.

The other day, I watched one of the documentaries on the Attack of the Clones DVD. I’ll pause here to give anyone who hates this film the opportunity to judge me for having it (or if you love it, to praise my good taste). . . . Are we done? Moving on . . . in the documentary, George Lucas talked about the challenge of working in a new medium called digital technology. According to this Red Shark News article:

George Walton Lucas, Jr., entrepreneurial filmmaker, creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones and industrial empire builder, drop-kicked Hollywood into the digital age with the release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones—the first major Hollywood blockbuster to be shot 100% digitally.

Keep in mind this film came about in the early part of this century. We take digital filmmaking for granted nowadays. But Lucas took a lot of criticism for going the digital route. After all, digital was nontraditional. But nontraditional thinking is the mark of a visionary.

Lucas pushed his staff beyond where they thought they could go to achieve the vision he saw in his head. This was par for the course for Star Wars, a franchise that sailed in uncharted waters when it first debuted.

The Star Wars franchise is very controversial these days. Fans are divided over the current crop of movies, now owned by Disney. And let’s face it, even when Lucas had control of the company, fans complained then too. But few people debate the fact that George Lucas is a visionary writer-director. You can see that if you take just a cursory look at the world he created.

For years I have also been inspired by book authors  like Ursula Le Guin, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, Frank Herbert, Charles Yallowitz, and others whose expansive worlds I’ve visited again and again. They remind me that world building takes time and effort—two words that are contrary to my current lazy bones attitude.



So I have an attitude to shake off. Here I go—back to researching galaxies, designing star systems and the terrain of planets.

Sigh. I need cake.

What fantasy or science fiction worlds do you love to visit? If you aren’t into either, who is someone you consider to be a visionary?

George Lucas photo found somewhere in the internet. Dune cover from Goodreads, since I can’t seem to locate anything I own of this series. Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie poster from Cake from Other photos by L. Marie. Pop Hair Pets are a product of MGA Entertainment.

29 thoughts on “The Visionary

  1. Thanks for the shout out. You could always eat cake while world-building. I’ve been reading a lot of manga, which has some great examples of world-building. ‘One Piece’ and ‘Fairy Tail’ come tom mind. Others take place in Japan with the same locations, but they introduce unique views on the world. All of them do it gradually as well. Every story introduces a new set piece, so it’s liking you travel along through a fog that lifts once you hit a new area.

    • You’re welcome! 😀 I need to get back to manga reading. It gets frustrating though when the library doesn’t carry some of them. I recall my search for Fullmetal Alchemist issues years ago. Even the Half-price bookstore didn’t have all of them.

      I will have my cake and world build! 😄

  2. Well, I won’t judge you for owing Attack of the Clones if you don’t judge me for never having seen a Star Wars movie. I know, I know…trust me, I’ve heard it before. 🙂 I’m with Charles…you can world build and eat your cake too, L. Marie. Enjoy!

  3. How about a selection of bakery cupcakes instead of a one-flavor cake? These are also easier to pop into your mouth while diligently scribbling away at your desk!
    L. Marie, I know once you get back into world building, you’ll wonder why you ever left it!

    And as for someone I view as being a visionary…in my field there are several, but I’ll limit my mentions here.
    Segovia- he envisioned the (classical) guitar performed up on the concert stage at a time when it was relegated to less-than-sing-around-the-campfire status.
    John Cage- stretched the limits of what was considered ‘true’ art music, paving the way for much of what is ‘allowed’ today.
    The Beatles…well, everyone knows they busted through so many conventions producing an evolving body of work that’s still considered ‘ground breaking’.

    • All great choices, Laura! A few weeks ago, my church hired a Beatles cover band for an event. You read that right. So many great songs!

      I think a cupcake is a good solution! I need to find a good cupcake somewhere. There is a cupcake shop in the next town. I might have to venture over!

  4. Have you seen the biopic, Tolkien? We watched it this week ~ a good glimpse into the making of Middle Earth from the war-torn battlefields of WWI.

    I loved watching the first Star Wars movie, way back in 1977 (or thereabouts). But I would not have wanted to read about those worlds and creatures . . . I wanted to see them already brought to life on the big screen. Same with the Wizard of Oz.

    In short, I don’t want to construct worlds (or fight scenes) in my mind while reading. I want that done for me on screen. Call me lazy. 😛

    • I haven’t seen it yet, though I’d like to.
      I know what you mean, Nancy. You want to delve into a fully realized world. You don’t have to see the man behind the curtain. 😀

  5. I’m not a fan of Star Wars, preferring to Trek my Star! I find the Star Wars movies to be all the same, I discern no difference among them or the characters or any of it. Star Trek I see people and principles and a created world. I don’t read any of the authors you mention above, preferring mysteries that are grounded in the Earth. I’m really much too pragmatic, aren’t I?

    • Pragmatic is good, Ally! 😀 I grew up watching Star Trek, so I appreciate that series as well. I used to read Star Trek novels when I was a kid. I don’t see the series as much nowadays, because I refused to get the streaming service.

      I also love a good mystery. I’m very fond of classic British mysteries like those written by Agatha Christie. They’re like popcorn to me!

  6. I’m not as into fantasy as you are, but one TV show I loved was Highlander….mostly for, ahem, well umm, the Highlander himself. 😉 I am a fan of Star Trek, but I’m not a Trekkie. I really like the new ones with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.

    As far as visionary, I’m more into relationship stories in that arena. My favorite TV show comedies stem from real life family and relationship issues that might’ve been serious if they didn’t make us laugh at them. Carl Reiner and Phil Rosenthal are the creators/visionaries of my two favorite shows. I’ve imagined myself interviewing them and asking them questions about specific episodes and how they came up with certain scenes.

    BTW, I understand the lazy days of not getting to writing. I don’t write fantasy, but world building has got to be the hardest!

    • Lori, I remember Highlander–there can only be one highlander! Good fun! My older brother got me interested in that.

      Ah, TV has had some great visionaries. What’s great about TV is that you have so many episodes, thus enabling the cast and the writers to gel. Some of the finest moments in entertainment have occurred on the small screen.

      I hope you’ll get an opportunity someday to interview the visionaries who mean so much to you. 😃

  7. Your posts are always packed with whimsy and COLOR. 🙂

    Truly, I don’t know enough about the Stars: Wars or Trek to reply, but I found the comments enlightening, L. Marie. (I’ll vote for cupcakes too!)

  8. I’m not a huge science fiction fan, though I do appreciate character-driven books that explore philosophical issues. One of my favorites is Corinne Duyvis’s YA novel ON THE EDGE OF GONE, a post-apocalyptic story set on and in the ruined areas surrounding a generation ship meant to sustain a fortunate few. Her protagonist, who is autistic, comes upon this ship by accident, where she has to prove her worth and that of her drug-addicted mother in order to be allowed to stay.

    And visionaries who have inspired me: I’m going to choose Václav Havel, the Czech playwright and human rights activist who affirmed the role of hope and the imagination in overcoming the propaganda of a totalitarian system.

    • Great choice, Lyn! I’m not familiar with Corinne Duyvis. Will look that book up.

      Since you like philosophical discussions, you might like Ursula’s The Left Hand of Darkness.

  9. I’m not a big fantasy fan as you know, but I’ll add Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom to your list of worlds. His Mars may not be credible but it’s a lot of fun. Also Bradbury’s Mars in The Martian Chronicles is equally unbelievable but I did find some of the stories visionary. Now, let me help you by eating the cake for you, so you can get back to work… 😀

    • I knew I could count on you to help me with that cake, FF! Thank you for that. 😀 Yes That world is a good one to visit. I read A Princess of Mars many years ago. Great fun! And Ray Bradbury is a gem!

  10. I love this post, even though I’m not much of a Star Wars fan, though I loved and appreciated the first movies when they came out – so exciting and novel for the time. Someone else mentioned Carl Reiner, and I’ll second that, as well as Rob Reiner. Now, it is 4:45 am and I am in quietly in search of a piece of cake. 🙂

    • Thank you, Penny! 😄
      When I think of Rob Reiner, I think of Princess Bride and also All in the Family.
      I found a piece of cake (chocolate) and gratefully consumed it. Hope you found some cake too.

  11. Your blogs, Linda, always teach me something about filmography and especially about science fiction movies. And about the use of the Digital launched by George Lucas..
    I notice those famous movies had birth in America and in Japan . . This goes with evolution of sciences and techniques in those countries .
    Love ❤

    • I am glad you learn from my blogs, Michel. I learn from yours too. (You have a wonderful family and garden.)
      Yes, technology innovations helped to birth these films. 😀 But someone had to be a pioneer and start the movement.
      Love to you and Janine. 😀

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