Profile: Gestahlt (SWTOR forums roleplayer)

No this is NOT the person

For this week’s piece I am interviewing another regular at the TOR forums. Just about anyone who follows any of the Star Wars: The Old Republic Website forums at all has likely seen a post by this writer. Love this writer’s work or hate it, you have to respect the skill and sheer writing ability that is shown. Give it up for Gestahlt!

E:  Hello ­ Gestahlt, I have a few questions for you today, if you don’t mind.

G:  Mind?  I’m absolutely honored to be even be considered for an interview.  The pleasure’s all mine, really.

E:  In very general terms, what are you in real life?

G:  Perpetually bored?  No.  I’m a full-time student finishing out a degree in English, as well as the committed boyfriend of a woman I’ve been in love with for just about three years now.  When I’m not writing I’m usually with her, and if I’m not with either – well, that’s where that whole student thing comes in.  I’m an amateur health nut and love to work out whenever I can.  It keeps me relieve stress and on top of that, think out stories while I exercise.

E:  How long have you been doing RP and fanfiction in online forums?

G:I’ve been writing in general since I was about 8, which is to say I started putting together terrible ideas ever since I was a kid.  When I turned 13 we were given America Online 3.0 (Oh god, I just dated myself, I think?) and from there, it was almost an instant gravitation toward roleplay. I’ve since used AOL, WoW, Age of Conan, Star Wars Galaxies (briefly), and Final Fantasy XI as means of roleplay.

But, at the end of the day, it’s writing my own story that really gets me into the creative mindset.

E:   What got you started in this?

G: Reading, without a doubt.  I’m a military brat (Chair Force, represent!) and we moved around a lot.  To compensate I started reading more than I would have otherwise and fell in love not only with the written word, but the world that it could create.

In many ways, it has become a sandbox without boundaries.  My friend, Terminalpleasure, has often compared roleplay to kids playing “make believe”, and I think he’s on the right track.  I actually never played DnD or anything of the like; Bioware was my first time testing out a D20 system, yet it was their story telling that further encouraged me to try out my hand at roleplaying.

E:  What do you think is the most rewarding thing about writing fanfiction?

G: It’s two-fold.  The first is the sense of completion that you get when your protagonist works out something that you’ve been trying to have them solve for awhile.  It’s as much a journey for me, I believe, as it is for my readers.

The second part is the readers themselves.  If someone can read a piece of writing I did and glean some entertainment from it, then I know I’ve done a good job.   I recently put in my sig that if a person has a story in their head they should just write it.  No matter if you think it’s bad or good, get it out.  When we create we encourage others to create and when there is a creative community then we’ve established something that’s lasting.

Let’s put it this way.  I played WoW for about six years.  After the first three, it became boring.  But the ability to roleplay with other creative people made it a wonderful thing.  I hope that in time TOR gets that same feeling (if not one more focused on the creativity) and enables us to look back six years in the future and say “Man, I wasn’t ever bored for a day with that one.”

E:  What do you think could be improved in general about the fanfictions we see on the forums?

G: I think that people should have a little more confidence in what they do.  Yes, a lot of the stuff is new but it’s well worth trying your hand at.   We have a lot of good writers, I have seen, with excellent ideas but they all become somewhat insular.  TP tried to combat this with his Circle of Reviewers thread, but the problem with that was if you didn’t start a story early on, it’d be hard to catch up.

I think it’d be nice if the moderators gave thread creators a bit more control over their threads, so we could weed out the posts that are just problematic as well.  But, I suppose that is only really a problem if you write a story in which Revan loves Alek!

E:  What on Earth made you write about an alternative lifestyle Revan?

G: Well, the fact is we don’t know a lot about Revan.  Bioware’s been working to fill in gaps, but I feel like we’re trapped in some archetypical Heisenberg’s Principle: the more we learn, the less we know.  I can understand that Revan was a charismatic Jedi that made sacrifices and ended up falling, but what does that mean about the MAN himself?  Well, there’s the disconnect.

I wanted to make Revan more of a person.  I’m not saying that having him fall in love with Alek makes him more “interesting” than if he was entirely straight, but by the same token we didn’t see Revan always around a woman, did we?  No, he was with Alek and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with two people finding love in one another.  From that alone, I knew there’d be a problem… but I didn’t care.

To be completely honest, I like Revan.  I dislike his fanatics, though.  The people that go on and on about how Revan could defeat Sidious, Mace Windu, and Bane at one time just irritate me.  Not because I think Revan is weak, but because they don’t even like Revan.  They like the concept of some all-powerful jackanapes that can run up and destroy everyone without feeling or effort.  That’s boring; if that was who Revan was, KOTOR would have been a very flat game.

I’ve had my story referred to before as the “Gay Revan” story.  Shocking?  Not really.  In the start of the story he is in love with Alek – to be honest, I think he even loved Alek after he struck Malak down on the Star Forge, but the story itself was much more about what happened between those events.  I was allowed to explore the Exile and show her in three important stages: Broken, Mending, and Completed.    I was able to elaborate on the Bastila and Revan Dynamic – on the Revan and Arren Kae relationship.  There’s just so much out there that we could know, and I wanted to put attention to those important details.

So in the end, do I think I made Revan “gay” just so he’d be “gay”?  No.  I think I made Revan a person, just so that we could have something to like more than a mask and a red lightsaber.  I’m quite certain my vision of Revan and that of Mr. Karpyshyn does not match up all that much, but I can live with that.  What I was most concerned with was giving answers where only questions were before, and in the end maybe helping other people really think about who Revan was and what he was capable of.

TOR should answer a lot of things.  I wouldn’t be shocked if 99% of what I said is refuted by what is revealed, but that 1% will mean a lot to me.  I’m eager to see just how far off the mark I was.

E: What do you think is your best piece of writing?

G: It’s up in the air.  I have two pieces of writing for my own personal stories that have competing places in my heart.  The first is the story of a young girl who grows up in a horrible situation and rises above it.

The second is the story of an alpha-male, take-no-prisoners, itinerant swordsman on a quest to rescue his bastard daughter from the hands of a megalomaniacal despot… so that he can kill her.  An amazing tagline, isn’t it?


In conclusion… Ladies and gentlemen, feel free to check out the really cool writing of Gestahlt on You won’t be disappointed. Surprised, sure. Possibly shocked – but not disappointed.

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