Aug 29, 2017

Author Interview with Tomas Pueyo – The Star Wars Rings


When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?

I have this strong memory of my childhood, playing with my sisters, watching TV or doing anything else, and seeing my father sitting sitting on his chair, writing. He was a TV commercials director, but he was a film-maker on the side.

I remember watching movies with him, grabbing an ice cream afterwards, and breaking the movies down, analyzing the story and figuring out the holes. We had long dinner table conversations about what makes stories great, what makes characters feel alive.

In college, this pushed me to the Cinema school at Stanford. I took storytelling and scriptwriting classes, and since then, I’ve been writing stories and scripts on the side.

What inspired you to write “The Star Wars Rings”?

Last April, Star Wars launched the trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. As a fan, I was excited to watch it. But as the scenes paraded in front of my eyes, my scriptwriting knowledge kicked in and I realized everything was predictable, just by understanding the structure of previous movies.

I looked around, and nobody said anything about that despite the immense media attention, so I decided to write a blog post myself. My friends loved it, and since nobody had written a book about it, I wondered, why not me?

Who is your literary hero?

What George R. R. Martin has built with Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire is remarkable. As a TV show scriptwriter, he pitched his idea plenty of times, but nobody wanted to pick it up because it was too complex, with too many characters. So he decided to write the books. He left his jobs and dedicated all his time to ASOIAF.

He followed the blueprint of J.R.R. Tolkien (even his initials are close!) by creating an alternative world rooted in our world, but he did a couple of very interesting additions. First, he based his stories in reality, which makes his books feel alive. Second, he has created a complexity of storytelling unheard of before him. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of characters in his books. How do you keep so many characters and storylines alive (or dead!), while keeping them interesting and coherent? The amount of work required and the underlying work must be titanic.

Describe the world of your book in six words. 

Star Wars. Hidden Story Structure. Predict.

Can you share a secret/teaser about your book that would make the readers dive in?

It’s mind-boggling to realize that movies and stories must follow very strict patterns, putting frameworks around what can and can’t happen. And yet, these same stories end up spawning some of the most unbelievable worlds. To cite a few examples, the Bible, Beowulf, Harry Potter or Star Wars are four examples that follow similar patterns, and yet look at the impact they’ve had across centuries and millions of people.

What’s even crazier is that these patterns can then help you predict what happens in the next installments. For example, for Star Wars VIII – The Last Jedi, we can predict there’s an invasion of a Rebellion base by the First Order, that Luke and Rey will enter in a disagreement and part ways, or that Rey or Kylo Ren might lose a limb.

The book describes all about these hidden patterns and why they enable us to predict things like that!

Do you have a favorite section in this book?

One of my favorite parts is when I dissect past movies and the patterns start emerging. It’s incredible: you watch these movies, and you realize they follow unbridled creativity. But then you sit to break them down, and they fit the patterns like a glove. I love understanding these patterns underlying everything in life.

What part was the hardest to write?

The predictions section requires a very delicate balance. It’s easy to let yourself be carried away and over-predict. Part of the job of a storyteller is to know when to abide by the rules and when to break them. I don’t know which parts of the story patterns the creators of Star Wars will break in the next movie, so I need to remain cautious when making my predictions. There’s a very fine line between predictions that are too safe to matter, and predictions that are too daring to be likely.

Do you have any other books in the works?

I’m in a pretty unique situation. In fact, I was half way through another book before I started this one. I decided to fast-track this one because I realized the other one would take much more work. With such effort, the stakes were much higher, and I didn’t want to self-publish my first book without any experience publishing.

The other book is also about understanding hidden patterns. This time, about work, how automation will change dramatically what it looks like, how that will create civil unrest at a global scale, and what we can do about it. People can sign up here for my mailing list, to learn more about it as I write it.

Thank you for the interview! Where can our readers find your book?

It’s been a pleasure to chat with you, Serenity! The book is available on Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.
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