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.
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I’d say writers owe us a satisfying ending, by which I mean an ending that makes sense in terms of plot progression and the characters’, er, character. Ideally, the ending will be happy enough but even a grim ending can be satisfying if it ‘makes sense.’
I agree with that to some degree. I believe it’s the writer’s intent to endear us to the characters and the world they have created for them and they should be ultimately able to complete the vision they started within the rules and world that they created. That isn’t always possible for a multitude of reasons but it would be a great ideal. The issue is that the writer’s vision should be paramount to the input of the reader. Writing has become more of a product to be rapidly consumed than a celebrated artform that promotes expression and growth for the writer. The reader, is a huge part of the process; yes but as a reader we shouldn’t feel entitled to our imagining of what we read ending in a way that will make us, happy.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! I appreciate it.
Not at all! You have started an interesting dicussion. Kudos!
* grim endings can be satisfying. It all depends on the story / character and context. I agree whole heartedly!
No. I have read the books of of George R. Martin. Few people had good endings in his stories. I believe readers want reality and truth. Even if it a bad ending.
As have I. He really does weave an amazing tale. I would want him to not change a thing about the way be writes.
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. 🙂
You are welcome and I agree.