The past few years brought the rise of trilogies and long series; with that came a new level of fandom that I never expected for readers and writers alike. Since these writers (example JK Rowling, Charlaine Harris and George R.R. Martin) are part of this social media / instant gratification age they’ve succumbed to all the issues that our “celebrities” face simply because they are well known and their books are spread throughout the globe.
I was catching up on my random book culture news today and I came across an article on HuffPo and subsequently the Guardian (UK) that brought up the ire that these authors are facing due to fans being unhappy with decisions they made for characters in the books they wrote.
It’s almost ridiculous to me. The article about Charlaine Harris was talking about the Sookie Stackhouse Series that was picked up by HBO for development; she was telling the paper that she received death threats, letters promising violence and an array of negativity as a person and author because the idea was that the series didn’t end the way that some in the fandom would have wanted it to end. The final book showed the heroine; Miss Sookie Stackhouse choosing between three love interests that persisted throughout the book series: Eric, Bill and Sam. Article
This Month, Anne Rice is speaking out against the Amazon Review system that allows readers (whether they have purchased the books through Amazon or not) to spew vitriol and hate aimed at the authors for no other reason than they didn’t agree with decisions that were made in the book, characters passing etc. She signed a petition that has been signed by various authors asking for a revamping of the system. Article
George R.R. Martin, renowned author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, was recently criticized for admitting that he hasn’t really started working on the next and final book in the series.
When did the readers start to dictate the outcome of the story? I’m not sure; but I’m glad that there are writers standing up to this kind of insane forcefulness from readers, who in some cases would not even know about the books in question unless the were converted to a T.V. show. This idea that books are now debased as just another form of entertainment in a world where our every day, accepted entertainment is gaudy, emotional and physically damaging portrayals of relationships and development of person-hood is really disheartening.
I hope more authors step forward and own the stories that they are trying to tell. I can’t deny that with a wider audience you do get more feedback and those can most certainly influence change or make you think about your story in a different way but it should by no means feel like your hand is being forced by a writer to satisfy anyone that isn’t writing the story.