How Marcia Lucas (and smart editing) Saved Star Wars



The editing process is widely despised among fiction writers, but it’s where the magic happens, as the saying goes. It’s where an unwieldy, plodding tale is molded into the author’s intended form.

In the last year, I’ve come across “How Star Wars was saved in the edit,” a fantastic and succinct film editing documentary. It explains revision so effectively that it should be required viewing at every creative writing course.

That’s correct: creative writing. Although film editing is involved, the techniques described are applicable to fiction revisions.

To make it more vivid, I’m not referring to the Star Wars narrative. There are few morsels remaining in the 40-year history of Star Wars copies and homages that can be claimed as one’s own because the formula behind it has been so widely emulated and overused in recent years. George Lucas’ little sci-fi film has received plenty of narratological analysis, as have his comparisons to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. All of this is well-trodden territory that isn’t what I’m talking about here.