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View Full Version : A message to anyone who tells authors to hurry up.



LOG
07-22-2013, 08:28 PM
From wootstock 5.0
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqcqapoFy-w)
:P


ETA: Full song. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7lp3RhzfgI)

mirandashell
07-22-2013, 08:30 PM
That video does not exist.

LOG
07-22-2013, 08:33 PM
Changed my mind on it, so I altered the title and OP.

Try the link now.

Bookewyrme
07-23-2013, 06:41 AM
Hehehe, I'm not a Martin fan but that's a cute video. :D

Little Anonymous Me
07-23-2013, 07:45 AM
I really hope he makes his own rebuttal music video. I have no clue what it would say (fans, read slow, slow like a slug?), but I can hope. :tongue

ULTRAGOTHA
07-23-2013, 07:52 AM
It'll say "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch."

With purdy music.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 08:45 AM
I didn't read any of the GoT novels until last year, but if I had been waiting as long as my friends did, I would have been in a murderous rage when each of the last two books game out. At a certain point, it's your job to get your fiction out to your readers. If you promise them a series, you need to put an ending on it before they die or forget they were ever reading it.

It's a funny bit, but G.R.R. Martin should have hurried the hell up then, and he should have finished the last book by now.

onesecondglance
07-23-2013, 10:49 AM
The entitlement in that video - humorous or not - annoys me. He'll finish the damn series when he wants to.

Terie
07-23-2013, 10:54 AM
I didn't read any of the GoT novels until last year, but if I had been waiting as long as my friends did, I would have been in a murderous rage when each of the last two books game out. At a certain point, it's your job to get your fiction out to your readers. If you promise them a series, you need to put an ending on it before they die or forget they were ever reading it.

It's a funny bit, but G.R.R. Martin should have hurried the hell up then, and he should have finished the last book by now.

When was the last time you tried to hurry up and write well? Did it get published? Have you ever been under the kind of pressure that Martin writes under? Have you walked a mile (or even a few steps) in his shoes?

Cuz you know what?

George R.R. Martin is not your bitch. (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html)

RemusShepherd
07-23-2013, 07:46 PM
I think G.R.R. Martin *has* an obligation to his fans to continue the series, and to continue it with the same excellence as it started. That means he needs to live at whatever pace and in whatever manner he lived when he began the series. If that means having fun with friends, eating well, and/or doing schticks on-stage then I'm all for it.


Authors are machines that convert life experience into prose. They need the experiences as input or their output will be subpar. George needs to continue living to the fullest, or he would not be the same writer. It's a shame that fans don't understand that.

Marian Perera
07-23-2013, 07:49 PM
Saw this one on LiveJournal:


Each time you ask when the next book is coming out, George R. R. Martin kills a Stark.

Please, think of the Starks.

Filigree
07-23-2013, 08:24 PM
Long as he keeps his grabby mitts off Tony, I don't care.

(Sorry, sorry, I had to go there. I really had no choice. You should hear the room-mate cackling behind me.)

Cyia
07-23-2013, 08:31 PM
Long as he keeps his grabby mitts off Tony, I don't care.

(Sorry, sorry, I had to go there. I really had no choice. You should hear the room-mate cackling behind me.)


Now you know why the Stark family spent all that time and money making weapons and metal suits - self-reservation. :D

Maggie Maxwell
07-23-2013, 08:35 PM
Now you know why the Stark family spent all that time and money making weapons and metal suits - self-reservation. :D

"I am the mother of dragons!"
"And I am Iron Man. Your move, sweetheart."

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 08:35 PM
This is where I differ from some of you. When you set out with a series, you make a sort of contract with the reader that they'll buy your books and you'll write more. Putting out two books in 11 (ELEVEN!) years is just taking advantage of people. "Oh, thanks for your money, now I don't really have to try any more and I'm just going to publish a filler book every half decade."

My problem with the last two books isn't that they took so long to write, it's that they were painful to read. Apparently he just wrote so much he had to split it up, but a real professional would have started something I like to call "the editing process" where they would have actually done something that takes into account their previous work. They were sprawling, redundant, and boring. (my opinion obviously)

It's all well and good for Gaiman to say that this is entitlement, but guys like NeilHimself or GRR Martin rely on fans spending money so they can keep doing what they're doing. GRR Martin is spitting on that relationship by not continuing to do what he supposedly likes doing. If he can't do it, then there comes a point where he needs to fess up and just say "Look, Bran and Sam save everyone, okay?"

So much writing advice out there is sit your butt down and do it. Write every day. Don't wait around for inspiration, but suddenly the pros who've built their reputations on readers who have invested in them (both with money and time) get a free pass from hard work?

Writing books isn't magic. It might be damn hard, and not everything is going to be brilliant, but it's a job like any other. If you invest in a project on kickstarter, it blows away it's funding goals by a factor of ten, and the widget is never produced, you're going to be upset, right? Readers invested in a storyline, and it's G.R.R. Martin's obligation to see it through in something less than six years per book.

Now obviously that's my opinion, but it happens to be the right one so nya nya nya :wag:

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 08:46 PM
So much writing advice out there is sit your butt down and do it. Write every day. Don't wait around for inspiration, but suddenly the pros who've built their reputations on readers who have invested in them (both with money and time) get a free pass from hard work?



With all due respect -- and recognizing that most of your post is opinion, however grating it might be -- you have no fucking idea how hard Martin (or any writer) is working.

JoBird
07-23-2013, 08:54 PM
Martin is free to write as fast or slow as he likes.

And his fans are free to be as patient or impatient as they like.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 08:58 PM
And his fans are free to be as patient or impatient as they like.

BOOM! That's it right there.

Fans can't tell authors to hurry up, but authors can tell fans to STFU? Nuh uh.

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 09:04 PM
BOOM! That's it right there.

Fans can't tell authors to hurry up, but authors can tell fans to STFU? Nuh uh.

This is clearly causing you a lot of inner turmoil.

So why not just walk away? There are a lot of other books to be read, a lot of other series - why not just say, 'Well, Martin has clearly given up, so I'm going to as well. Time to read something else.'?

It would be easier on your heart.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 09:17 PM
With all due respect -- and recognizing that most of your post is opinion, however grating it might be -- you have no fucking idea how hard Martin (or any writer) is working.

Yes, and neither do you. Until he publishes a next book, we're both right.

Phaeal
07-23-2013, 09:20 PM
If Iron Man went to Westeros, he'd get that damn throne filled in a week or so. Especially if he brought Wolverine and Storm with him. And, what the heck, throw in a Hulk. He and Tyrion could hang out together.

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 09:23 PM
Yes, and neither do you. Until he publishes a next book, we're both right.

Where have I asserted anything to that effect?

It's not a matter of how hard he is working, or not. Period.
It's not a matter of whether he finishes the series, or not. Period.

It's a matter of an irritating, entitled subset of readers who think that just because they're bought 4 or 5 books they have a right to stand over a writer with a whip, forcing him into his chair.

Guess what? The $10 someone spends on a paperback, or $30 on a hardcover, entitles them to exactly ONE thing: that book.

If someone pays down their money and gets home to find the book is blank, they've got legit cause to return to the bookstore and either swap it out for one not misprinted or get their money back.

It doesn't entitle them to the next book in the series. It doesn't entitle them to have the writer produce to their preferred time frame.

They paid for the book, they got the book. That was the deal.

Anything else is bullshit, entitled bleating.

(And understand, I share some of the frustration. Would I prefer there were more Martin novels? Sure. Would I like there to be a new Hold Steady record every month? Absolutely. But that's not how the world works.)

Lady Chipmunk
07-23-2013, 09:23 PM
It'll say "George R. R. Martin is not your bitch."

With purdy music.

Since Neil Gaiman is obviously on Martin's side can they get Amanda Palmer to do the vocals? Please?

As for the writing time issue--yeah, it has taken him some time to get the latter books out. I don't know why. Could be there were family or health issues, could be he was stuck, could be he just didn't want to work on it.

But, because I don't know, I am not going to start making statements about what he might have been doing in that time. It's presumptuous, and at this point, accomplishes nothing.

His obligation as a writer is to write. It would be nice of him to finish the series, and I imagine he's under contract to do so. And if he is, the person holding that contract is the only one that has a say in how Martin does it. But, he doesn't really owe the readers anything.

As a reader I pay for a book. I read that book. If it's in a series and I liked it I will pay for the next book. I have had series I like go unfinished for one reason or another. It's annoying. However, there are always more books. I will never be able to read them all. So, if I have to wait for something I want to read in a series I fill the time reading something else.

If that book I am waiting for never happens, well, that sucks. But, I read the books I paid for, and I enjoyed them. No one promised me that I'd even get that much out of it, so in the end, I came out ahead.

These are, of course, just my views on the matter.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 09:25 PM
This is clearly causing you a lot of inner turmoil.

So why not just walk away? There are a lot of other books to be read, a lot of other series - why not just say, 'Well, Martin has clearly given up, so I'm going to as well. Time to read something else.'?

It would be easier on your heart.

Please don't mistake debate for inner turmoil. I also don't really care about Martin's next book, as the last two soured me quite thoroughly. I will wait for one of my longtime Martin fan friends to read it and tell me if it's just another filler book.

The issue here is successful authors telling fans not to be entitled while enjoying their own sense of entitlement that they deserve to create stories and have them consumed. Writers owe EVERYTHING to their loyal readers. With no readers, there would be no writers. It's not a stretch to say that six years between series books is too long for most readers.

Somewhere there's a shift between "Read My Book! Read My Book! Please, Read My Book!" to "Ah, just leave me alone." I think that's an embarrassment to the profession. Every author works for their loyal fans. It's not a direct relationship where every whim needs to be catered for, but to say that GRR Martin owes nothing to his legion of readers is insulting.

KateJJ
07-23-2013, 09:28 PM
Trying desperately to find a not-tasteless way to make a joke about looking forward to seeing how Brandon Sanderson finishes out the series....

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 09:30 PM
Please don't mistake debate for inner turmoil. I also don't really care about Martin's next book, as the last two soured me quite thoroughly. I will wait for one of my longtime Martin fan friends to read it and tell me if it's just another filler book.

The issue here is successful authors telling fans not to be entitled while enjoying their own sense of entitlement that they deserve to create stories and have them consumed. Writers owe EVERYTHING to their loyal readers. With no readers, there would be no writers. It's not a stretch to say that six years between series books is too long for most readers.

Somewhere there's a shift between "Read My Book! Read My Book! Please, Read My Book!" to "Ah, just leave me alone." I think that's an embarrassment to the profession. Every author works for their loyal fans. It's not a direct relationship where every whim needs to be catered for, but to say that GRR Martin owes nothing to his legion of readers is insulting.

It seems you might be incapable of distinguishing between "I would like X" and "You owe me X", or to recognize why the latter is so offensive.

That's fine. That's your right.

But there's also not much point in talking about it further.

Maggie Maxwell
07-23-2013, 09:31 PM
Please don't mistake debate for inner turmoil. I also don't really care about Martin's next book, as the last two soured me quite thoroughly. I will wait for one of my longtime Martin fan friends to read it and tell me if it's just another filler book.

The issue here is successful authors telling fans not to be entitled while enjoying their own sense of entitlement that they deserve to create stories and have them consumed. Writers owe EVERYTHING to their loyal readers. With no readers, there would be no writers. It's not a stretch to say that six years between series books is too long for most readers.

Somewhere there's a shift between "Read My Book! Read My Book! Please, Read My Book!" to "Ah, just leave me alone." I think that's an embarrassment to the profession. Every author works for their loyal fans. It's not a direct relationship where every whim needs to be catered for, but to say that GRR Martin owes nothing to his legion of readers is insulting.

I think you have things backwards. If there were no writers, there would be no readers. If writers only wrote for the readers, they'd never start, because no one ever starts with readers. I write for me, and if other people enjoy it enough that someone wants to buy my book, excellent.

You do not need readers to be a writer, but you sure as heck need writers to be a reader.

jjdebenedictis
07-23-2013, 09:32 PM
At a certain point, it's your job to get your fiction out to your readers. If you promise them a series, you need to put an ending on it before they die or forget they were ever reading it.A writer is self-employed. It's only their "job" to put out fiction if they fucking well feel like it.

When you buy a book, you only buy the book that's in your hand. Money paid for a product received does NOT constitute a contract for future products.

The writer has a duty to himself to keep his repeat customers happy. Not to you--only to himself.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 09:34 PM
It's a matter of an irritating, entitled subset of readers who think that just because they're bought 4 or 5 books they have a right to stand over a writer with a whip, forcing him into his chair.

That's an extremist response. No one is asking for a book every year, but having to wait 5 and 6 years is pretty ridiculous.

A series like A Song of Ice and Fce is essentially one giant story cut into consumable bites. There is a promise of an overall conclusion and none of the books are written as stand alone titles. It's the equivalent of making your readers pay for each chapter of a single book and then just delaying and possibly not finishing that book.

A reader invests in an author's ability to continue writing a series like ASoFaI. That investment is made with the hope that the series will actually play out to a conclusion. While Martin never made any promises, there's a sort of gentleman's agreement that we'll keep buying books, and he'll keep writing them. We're holding up our end, and he's dawdling and stalling not.

My only point in all of this is that readers are allowed to grumble after a while. No one is lighting torches one week after a series title is released, but five or six years down the line and people start to get concerned that their investment is going to stop paying dividends.

Edit: Please note that I was wrong to use the phrase 'dawdling and stalling' and I retract it.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 09:36 PM
It seems you might be incapable of distinguishing between "I would like X" and "You owe me X", or to recognize why the latter is so offensive.


That's something you're putting on me based on your bias towards anyone who says anything contrary to your opinion.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 09:39 PM
A writer is self-employed. It's only their "job" to put out fiction if they fucking well feel like it.

Sitting around watching your money grow is not the job. Writing is the job. When you stop writing, you're not self-employed, you're unemployed.

The writer entitlement in here is making my eyes water. I think I'll go for a walk.

JoBird
07-23-2013, 09:45 PM
Where have I asserted anything to that effect?

It's not a matter of how hard he is working, or not. Period.
It's not a matter of whether he finishes the series, or not. Period.

It's a matter of an irritating, entitled subset of readers who think that just because they're bought 4 or 5 books they have a right to stand over a writer with a whip, forcing him into his chair.

Guess what? The $10 someone spends on a paperback, or $30 on a hardcover, entitles them to exactly ONE thing: that book.

If someone pays down their money and gets home to find the book is blank, they've got legit cause to return to the bookstore and either swap it out for one not misprinted or get their money back.

It doesn't entitle them to the next book in the series. It doesn't entitle them to have the writer produce to their preferred time frame.

They paid for the book, they got the book. That was the deal.

Anything else is bullshit, entitled bleating.

(And understand, I share some of the frustration. Would I prefer there were more Martin novels? Sure. Would I like there to be a new Hold Steady record every month? Absolutely. But that's not how the world works.)

Playing devil's advocate here for the sake of discussion. Just a few random thoughts as I'm typing. All just my initial opinion as I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about this issue.

To be fair, what entitles you to complain about AlixLydon's lack of patience? I'm guessing you didn't spend a single dollar for the right, much less ten or twenty or thirty dollars. But you still have the right to complain.

Martin is in the public spotlight. One of the problems he has to deal with is that people want to read what he has yet to write. I call this: problems I'd like to have.

Yes, Martin is clearly free to write or not, as he likes. That's why there's not a law dictating that Martin (or Rothfuss or whoever) write.

Yes, fans are clearly free to complain if the books are being written slowly. Fans are free to think their favorite writers are lazy. Frankly, I think some of these authors are a little bit lazy. I don't know, but I suspect as much. I personally don't care if they're lazy or not; it's none of my business. But I completely get that other folks might be legitimately annoyed.

For all you know one of the fans asking for the book to be written faster is on his or her death bed, with one last wish--to know how the series ends. For all you know, someone is waiting for the last books to come out to leave them on a grave site for a loved one who passed away wanting to know how it all ended.

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 09:47 PM
That's something you're putting on me based on your bias towards anyone who says anything contrary to your opinion.

It may seem like that.
You may be correct.

Or I may be responding to groundless, entitled speculations, dressed up as facts.

Such as:


We're holding up our end, and he's dawdling and stalling.

You don't know this to be true - you're characterizing (and disrespecting) a writer simply by speculation.

"dawdling and stalling" isn't neutral, and it's not grounded in any sort of fact.

In truth, it's countered by actual information (you know, facts), about how involved Martin is with the TV series, how he's working ahead so there's a structure there for that, that sort of thing.

He's just not doing the work you (rhetorical you) want him to be doing.

Well, guess what? He doesn't have to.


Sitting around watching your money grow is not the job. Writing is the job. When you stop writing, you're not self-employed, you're unemployed.

Again, you don't know this to be true, you're just speculating and engaging in character assassination to support an already dubious point.

So, yeah - I might have a "bias towards anyone who says anything contrary to your opinion", or I might have a bias against entitlement, falsehoods, and disrespect, two examples of which are above.

I'm pretty much fine either way.

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 09:51 PM
Playing devil's advocate here for the sake of discussion. Just a few random thoughts as I'm typing. All just my initial opinion as I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about this issue.

To be fair, what entitles you to complain about AlixLydon's lack of patience? I'm guessing you didn't spend a single dollar for the right, much less ten or twenty or thirty dollars. But you still have the right to complain.

Martin is in the public spotlight. One of the problems he has to deal with is that people want to read what he has yet to write. I call this: problems I'd like to have.

Yes, Martin is clearly free to write or not, as he likes. That's why there's not a law dictating that Martin (or Rothfuss or whoever) write.

Yes, fans are clearly free to complain if the books are being written slowly. Fans are free to think their favorite writers are lazy. Frankly, I think some of these authors are a little bit lazy. I don't know, but I suspect as much. I personally don't care if they're lazy or not; it's none of my business. But I completely get that other folks might be legitimately annoyed.

For all you know one of the fans asking for the book to be written faster is on his or her death bed, with one last wish--to know how the series ends. For all you know, someone is waiting for the last books to come out to leave them on a grave site for a loved one who passed away wanting to know how it all ended.

I've never said he or anyone didn't have the right to complain.

As I have said - repeatedly - what I object to is the entitlement, the difference between "I would like X" and "I am owed X".

And if the distinction isn't clear to someone, well, maybe that bears looking at.

Lady Chipmunk
07-23-2013, 10:00 PM
I agree that readers can be annoyed about whatever they would like. I also agree that writers are not entitled to readers. If these fans are so annoyed and if the wait is too long that they walk away from the series then that is a consequence of the writer's having taken so long.

Neither side owes the other anything.

I can say that personally I am a slow writer. It takes me some time to get things right. I would hope that a better final product is worth waiting, but if not, then people won't read my books. Which will suck, but them's the breaks.

I doubt knowing there were people waiting would not make me able to write faster. In fact, the pressure would probably make it take longer. Because this is my personal process, I feel for Martin.

To me, and this is only my interpretation, the examples of people on deathbeds and such is a little disingenuous. I could decide not to go for a walk and so not be there to safe a kid from traffic. Martin is one man. He is not responsible for the fates and lives of his readers. He can't possibly know everyone's situation and account for it, and it's not really fair to expect him to do so.

Besides, to play the other side of the fence, Martin could be suffering some debilitating condition that makes it hard to write. I'm not saying he is, but in the inverse of the examples above, would readers then owe him patience even if they have no idea about the situation?

I'd obviously say no.

But, yes, public scrutiny is a price Martin pays for success and popularity. And, yes, people will complain if he doesn't write as fast as they like. *People will complain if he does plots they don't like too, or if a character dies they didn't want to, or any other number of things. Some of them will also stop reading. And that is their prerogative.

But, in the end, it isn't, and shouldn't necessarily, make Martin write faster. He may choose to if he thinks waiting too long will lose readers, or not. Either way the choice is his to make. Writers are compensated by readership. Better numbers get better future deals, etc. So, if he does lose readers then he pays a consequence in his earnings.

At the end of the day the writer writes and faces the consequences of that work and the reader reads and chooses to keep going or not. Any complaining on either side is fine, but it should not be expected to change that basic relationship.

*Note, this applies to all writers. No matter what we do we cannot please every person. It's part of the job. Best to accept it going in.

JoBird
07-23-2013, 10:06 PM
I've never said he or anyone didn't have the right to complain.

As I have said - repeatedly - what I object to is the entitlement, the difference between "I would like X" and "I am owed X".

And if the distinction isn't clear to someone, well, maybe that bears looking at.

Fair enough, and an excellent point.

I'd suggest that we are, however, conflating legality and morality. In other words, this topic is actually subjective to someone's world view. Or so it seems to me.

Is a fan free to lose respect for an author if an author doesn't meet an obligation? Sure, in my opinion. Is a fan free to express that disappointment or annoyance? Sure, in my opinion.

I don't think anyone's argued that Martin is legally required to produce another book. That's an issue between him and his publisher and any contracts they've drawn up together.

However, when a person tells you they'll do x and then doesn't do x in a reasonably timely manner, it's fair to say, "hey, you're not meeting your obligation here. And that's annoying."

Did Martin make an obligation to his fans to write more books? Absolutely. He said he was going to write more books.

In fairness, Martin didn't say he was going to write them in a day, but I think reasonable expectation held that he was going to write them sometime sooner than many folks feel he is.

Which turns this into a discussion as to whether or not Martin is a good person for taking a long time to meet his obligation. And that's subjective dependent upon your world view. Some folks, mostly authors, are quick to forgive Martin this, as they understand Martin's position and feel he needs time. Some folks aren't so willing to forgive. Which is fair, in my opinion.

If your neighbor told you he was going to do something for you and then didn't do it for a few years, you might start questioning how reliable your neighbor is. That doesn't necessarily make you entitled. That doesn't mean you think your neighbor should be arrested for not meeting a legal obligation. That just means you might be annoyed with your neighbor and feel the need to express that annoyance.

I guess I just don't see the issue.

By the way, for what it's worth, I'm fine with Martin taking however long he needs. I'm also fine with someone expressing annoyance at how long he's taking, especially given that Martin is a public figure.

Lady Chipmunk
07-23-2013, 10:12 PM
For me, as I said, I have no problem with people complaining. And, "Hey, I'm annoyed this is taking so long." is both understandable and harmless in the greater sense.

I think the issue is that some people have taken it beyond "I'm annoyed." and gone straight to "You lazy jerk, where is my book?" and even further to "I don't have my book yet so you are a lazy, money-grubbing fraud that is fleecing me."

When people start making personal attacks on an author or anyone else because they are not getting what they want, whatever that might be, then a line has been crossed.

JoBird
07-23-2013, 10:18 PM
For me, as I said, I have no problem with people complaining. And, "Hey, I'm annoyed this is taking so long." is both understandable and harmless in the greater sense.

I think the issue is that some people have taken it beyond "I'm annoyed." and gone straight to "You lazy jerk, where is my book?" and even further to "I don't have my book yet so you are a lazy, money-grubbing fraud that is fleecing me."

When people start making personal attacks on an author or anyone else because they are not getting what they want, whatever that might be, then a line has been crossed.

I agree with a lot of what you've said, in this post and the one you have above.

Personally, I'm always on the side of being polite. I try very hard to be polite even when I vehemently disagree with someone.

Still, I understand that everyone slips. Sometimes life gets hard, little things happen, and we all lose patience with each other at some point. So I try to be quick to forgive slights when they happen.

My example of the deathbed wasn't meant to suggest that such should change the relationship between the reader and writer. It was only meant to provide hypothetical context that might help one side understand another.

Maggie Maxwell
07-23-2013, 10:25 PM
For me, as I said, I have no problem with people complaining. And, "Hey, I'm annoyed this is taking so long." is both understandable and harmless in the greater sense.

I think the issue is that some people have taken it beyond "I'm annoyed." and gone straight to "You lazy jerk, where is my book?" and even further to "I don't have my book yet so you are a lazy, money-grubbing fraud that is fleecing me."

When people start making personal attacks on an author or anyone else because they are not getting what they want, whatever that might be, then a line has been crossed.

Everything you've said has basically explained my position better than I possibly could. :) People can feel however they like, both authors and readers alike. Readers can be frustrated after waiting years for a sequel, and writers can burn out and just not feel like writing that sequel. Things can happen in the lives on both sides. They can have expectations, but no one DESERVES anything, and no one should go flinging insults because they aren't getting what they think they deserve from the other side.

Filigree
07-23-2013, 10:26 PM
Outside of Kickstarter funding projects, there is no legal contract between readers and authors. There are expectations, on either side. Online interactions and media success have created an artificial familiarity between writers and readers. Yeah, there have always been 'rabid fans'. But I've noticed the rising intensity of those interactions over the last ten years.

I break a little when a writer dies before they can finish out a series - or find a publisher willing to do so. Several of my favorite authors have had to slow production on sequels because of illness, finance, market conditions, or family issues. I don't blame them. I'm contracted, myself, for a piece that should have been done months ago - but Real Life smacked me around and made that impossible.

I'm neutral about Martin, because I may be one of the last people in America who hasn't read the books and won't follow the TV series. But I don't blame him for whatever factors have made his progress slower than both he and his publisher undoubtedly wanted.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 10:40 PM
I think it's worth my saying that I never cared one way or another about GRR Martin's writing habits or time between publications. I still don't, really.

My ire in this thread stems only from the attitudes that anyone who has built (or plans to build) a successful career (Gaiman, I'm looking in your direction) on the continued financial support of their readership and fan base should never tell those same fans that supported them in the early times to STFU because they dare express an eagerness to consume more of the awesome thing the creator has put out.

I'm not talking about the small subset of people who rage and froth at the mouth because a year has gone by with no sequel, and merely standing up for the throngs who have sat patiently waiting until they finally dared raised their hand and squeaked out a "um, do you have any idea when the next book might come out?" only to be thrashed by fanboys (and girls!) and apologists.

It's my opinion that a professional writer is nothing without their readers, and that some authors would do well to acknowledge that now and again.


I think you have things backwards. If there were no writers, there would be no readers.
It's a symbiotic relationship, but only one side can't pay rent and feed their family if that relationship disappears. Readers will play more video games or ride bikes or something. Writers will have to go find a job. The stakes are bigger for one side than the other, and writers would be better off showing a bit of humility in accepting that they need readers to keep doing what they do.

Please don't misinterpret that as writing for readers. Readers and saleability should never be the primary focus of your work, but it would be ridiculous to want to make a living off writing without having a reader as a reasonable concern when crafting a readable story.

If that's not the case, then why are any of us here on this forum trying to improve our work? Why ask for beta readers and critique if the work is only for you?

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 10:45 PM
My ire in this thread stems only from the attitudes that anyone who has built (or plans to build) a successful career (Gaiman, I'm looking in your direction)

What has Gaiman done - or failed to do - to raise your ire?

swvaughn
07-23-2013, 10:45 PM
Even though I have never read Game of Thrones or watched the show (gasp!), I feel bad for Martin. Because I bet he feels terrible that he's not writing faster -- and he probably isn't writing faster because he wants to do it right -- and all these fans complaining is only making him feel worse.

I don't think he's out there flaunting the fact that he's not releasing a new book. He's not rubbing it in people's faces... "Ha, you already paid me, suckers, now I'm just gonna flog off and spend your money. No new books for you."

I'm sure he's just as disappointed as the fans that the writing isn't going faster.

I'm writing the last book in a series I started 13 (!!!!) years ago, and this last book is killing me because I want it to be the right story and it's taking forever. I've only got like a handful of notes and such, maybe 20 or so, over the past year or two (ACK!) asking WHERE'S THE LAST ONE?! (and one person who asked about it in an Amazon review for another book in the series).

These folks aren't acting pushy or entitled about it. I love them, I love that they're interested enough to want more, and I feel terrible that I don't have it ready yet.

I can't imagine having thousands or millions of people breathing down my neck waiting for the next book. I'm feeling the pressure, and I'm nobody!

So I'm on Martin's and Gaiman's side here. :)

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 10:49 PM
What has Gaiman done - or failed to do - to raise your ire?

Gaiman started the George R.R. Martin is not your bitch meme. His blog entry is measured and presents mostly reasonable arguments for why people shouldn't question book delays, but I disagree with his premise that writers don't work for readers. My ire was raised by the entitled tone he used to phrase the 'not your bitch' statement.

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 10:53 PM
Gaiman started the George R.R. Martin is not your bitch meme. His blog entry is measured and presents mostly reasonable arguments for why people shouldn't question book delays, but I disagree with his premise that writers don't work for readers. My ire was raised by the entitled tone he used to phrase the 'not your bitch' statement.

So, George RR Martin is your bitch?

Lady Chipmunk
07-23-2013, 11:00 PM
I agree with a lot of what you've said, in this post and the one you have above.

Personally, I'm always on the side of being polite. I try very hard to be polite even when I vehemently disagree with someone.

Still, I understand that everyone slips. Sometimes life gets hard, little things happen, and we all lose patience with each other at some point. So I try to be quick to forgive slights when they happen.

My example of the deathbed wasn't meant to suggest that such should change the relationship between the reader and writer. It was only meant to provide hypothetical context that might help one side understand another.

I try to be polite but I am, to put it mildly, a little short-tempered at times. So, being one of those people who slips way too often (I'm working on it!) I am very appreciative of people like you that are forgiving.

slhuang
07-23-2013, 11:12 PM
So, George RR Martin is your bitch?

I can't speak for AlixLydon, but as much of a point as Gaiman did have, what bothered me about what he said was an implication (I felt) that anyone hankering for the next book was an entitled, snooty fan who didn't care about the author. It seemed calculated to make fans feel bad about themselves for wanting the next book in the series, and I thought that was poor form. (As much as I also thought it was witty and on point. My feelings, they are complicated.)

I'm not sure what my feelings are about any implied (personal, not legal) contract between an author of a series and his/her readers, but I do think it's something people can and should be able to have a conversation about without calling one side entitled fans who think an author is their bitch or calling the other side lazy bums who just want to wallow in bathtubs of money and laugh at their readers. I take issue with fans who do the latter, but I also am not fond of it when authors take the former attitude.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 11:14 PM
So, George RR Martin is your bitch?

Why are you trying to draw me into an argument?

I've been saying that there's a middle ground between the two extremes, and you keep trying to drag me into your false dichotomy.

Terie
07-23-2013, 11:20 PM
Why are you trying to draw me into an argument?

I've been saying that there's a middle ground between the two extremes, and you keep trying to drag me into your false dichotomy.


We're holding up our end, and he's dawdling and stalling.


Sitting around watching your money grow is not the job. Writing is the job. When you stop writing, you're not self-employed, you're unemployed.

So, what? You're saying that accusing a writer who is publishing several books a year as well as working to some degree on a TV series of dawdling, stalling, sitting around watching his money grow, and being unemployed is, what, taking the middle ground?

Or maybe the truth is that you don't have a fucking clue how Martin lives and works.

AlixLydon
07-23-2013, 11:28 PM
So, what? You're saying that accusing a writer who is publishing several books a year as well as working to some degree on a TV series of dawdling, stalling, sitting around watching his money grow, and being unemployed is, what, taking the middle ground?

Or maybe the truth is that you don't have a fucking clue how Martin lives and works.

Calm down now. That quote about unemployment was directed at another user and you've taken it out of context.

In recent interviews, he's stated (as quoted in an earlier post) that he's working on everything but the next ASoIaF book. I personally interpret that as dawdling and stalling. I was wrong to phrase it that way.

You're picking one sentence out of all my posts, and using that to nullify everything else I've said here. I admit that I shouldn't have phrased it that way, no please consider every other thing I've said as part of a whole argument.

Edit: I'm looking at the point between 2000 and 2011, where the author was not working on a tv show, and where he was clearly not producing 'several books a year'. This is the point at which most readers developed their frustration with GRR Martin's long lag between new ASoIaF titles.

JoBird
07-23-2013, 11:33 PM
So, what? You're saying that accusing a writer who is publishing several books a year as well as working to some degree on a TV series of dawdling, stalling, sitting around watching his money grow, and being unemployed is, what, taking the middle ground?

Or maybe the truth is that you don't have a fucking clue how Martin lives and works.

Several books a year?

Terie
07-23-2013, 11:49 PM
Several books a year?

His Wild Card books. The anthologies he's editing. And more. I don't keep track of them closely because I'm not a GRRM reader, although I read his blog regularly because he posts about many interesting topics.

I daresay a lot of this stuff was contracted long before he knew that he'd hit a block on ASOIF. Once ASOIF fell behind due to scope creep, what was he supposed to do? Cancel the contracts for work he expected to be doing after ASOIF was done?

Martin is an extremely busy writer who agonises over the delays in ASOIF. He's not sitting around on his ass doing nothing but refreshing his bank balance display.

willietheshakes
07-23-2013, 11:50 PM
I can't speak for AlixLydon, but as much of a point as Gaiman did have, what bothered me about what he said was an implication (I felt) that anyone hankering for the next book was an entitled, snooty fan who didn't care about the author. It seemed calculated to make fans feel bad about themselves for wanting the next book in the series, and I thought that was poor form. (As much as I also thought it was witty and on point. My feelings, they are complicated.)


I understand your feelings, but it ignores the context in which that blog was written.

He wasn't writing about fans who were "hankering" for the next book; the comment was directed at the subset of fans who were demanding the next book, accusing him of slacking off (for daring to go to a football game!), who were calling him a fat fuck and wondering -- loudly -- whether he would survive long enough to finish the series, basically saying that because of his weight he was a ticking time bomb and any time he wasn't spending writing ASOIaF was selfish, and he was going to die, and didn't he realize that he OWED HIS READERS THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

They weren't wondering when the next book was coming: they were a fortuitous car accident and a sledgehammer away from becoming Annie Wilkes.

That's the difference I keep coming back to: desire versus entitlement.

It's not semantics, it's a real thing.

John Scalzi wrote about it at the time, too. (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/02/23/pissy-fans/) It was a huge deal at the time, and the number at Wootstock just dredged it all up again...

heza
07-24-2013, 12:04 AM
In recent interviews, he's stated (as quoted in an earlier post) that he's working on everything but the next ASoIaF book. I personally interpret that as dawdling and stalling. I was wrong to phrase it that way.

Eh... if writing's the job, then I'd think he owes it to himself to work on the project that's going to give him the best ROI.

When I was self employed and had the opportunity to work on either a job that paid $35/hr or one that paid $40/hr, I took the $40/hr job, even if the $35/hr job was for a client with whom I'd previously worked.

You take the work that's going to pay you more or that's more personally fulfilling or that's going to lead to more stable work or better career opportunities. But you don't give up the work you want so you can work for a client who thinks you owe it to them just because they've paid you for work in the past.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 12:05 AM
John Scalzi wrote about it at the time, too. (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/02/23/pissy-fans/) It was a huge deal at the time, and the number at Wootstock just dredged it all up again...

I appreciate the backstory. I've tried to research some of this issue, but a lot of what I have to go on are the general frustrations of those friends who have been reading Martin since the beginning and have generally lost patience with the delays. Added to that was my own disappointment after struggling through two books that I felt were sprawling and repetitive disasters. I was playing the critic, and I hate reading what critics have to say! It was unfair of me to speculate as to what GRR Martin (does anyone else grrrrr that out like an animal when they type it?) was or was not doing between 2000 and 2011.

I better understand where Gaiman was coming from, and I can see that this is largely an issue of two extremes clashing. I generally have a lot of respect for Gaiman and his work, and he seems to me like a guy who really cares about this readers and wants to do right by them.

What bothers me still is some of the response here that indicates a hardline "I don't owe you shit" attitude towards current or future readership. I'm not talking about the big guys here, but some of the people responding to this thread. I prize humility rather highly, and it bothers me a lot to see people who should feel damned privileged to be working in or towards such a fantastic career as writing not be able to recognize the role a fan base plays in success.

My family is also prone to wild ranty and impassioned debates, so I apologize if I've unintentionally pushed anyone's buttons. Forums are an unforgiving medium for heated discussion, and I often get carried away when dashing off quick responses between pretending to do real work.

willietheshakes
07-24-2013, 12:10 AM
I appreciate the backstory. I've tried to research some of this issue, but a lot of what I have to go on are the general frustrations of those friends who have been reading Martin since the beginning and have generally lost patience with the delays. Added to that was my own disappointment after struggling through two books that I felt were sprawling and repetitive disasters. I was playing the critic, and I hate reading what critics have to say! It was unfair of me to speculate as to what GRR Martin (does anyone else grrrrr that out like an animal when they type it?) was or was not doing between 2000 and 2011.

I better understand where Gaiman was coming from, and I can see that this is largely an issue of two extremes clashing. I generally have a lot of respect for Gaiman and his work, and he seems to me like a guy who really cares about this readers and wants to do right by them.

What bothers me still is some of the response here that indicates a hardline "I don't owe you shit" attitude towards current or future readership. I'm not talking about the big guys here, but some of the people responding to this thread. I prize humility rather highly, and it bothers me a lot to see people who should feel damned privileged to be working in or towards such a fantastic career as writing not be able to recognize the role a fan base plays in success.

My family is also prone to wild ranty and impassioned debates, so I apologize if I've unintentionally pushed anyone's buttons. Forums are an unforgiving medium for heated discussion, and I often get carried away when dashing off quick responses between pretending to do real work.

I really appreciate this response - thank you.
And my apologies as well.

As for the 'hardline "I don't owe you shit" attitude' you've seen exhibited here, I think it's part and parcel of what you describe here - it's people pushing back when being pushed. IE, if someone says "When is the new X coming out?" it's easy to answer "Well, not yet, it's a bit delayed." When 1000 people say, with some variation, "Where's the book you owe me, you fat, degenerating fuck?", the response is pretty much going to be "Fuck you, I don't OWE you anything."

bearilou
07-24-2013, 12:13 AM
Eh... if writing's the job, then I'd think he owes it to himself to work on the project that's going to give him the best ROI.

When I was self employed and had the opportunity to work on either a job that paid $35/hr or one that paid $40/hr, I took the $40/hr job, even if the $35/hr job was for a client with whom I'd previously worked.

You take the work that's going to pay you more or that's more personally fulfilling or that's going to lead to more stable work or better career opportunities. But you don't give up the work you want so you can work for a client who thinks you owe it to them just because they've paid you for work in the past.

ahyup. And until GoT hit HBO, just how 'popular' was the GoT ASoFaI series at that time? Was he getting a better ROI with his other creative endeavors? (I don't know as I'm not a GRRM fan and thus don't keep up with all of the intimate details of his personal life.)

All I can say, as one who is sitting on the sidelines while his fans hiss and spit in his direction about not writing fast enough, is that until they travel a mile in his shoes, maybe they should leave speculation about his motives on why it's taking so long to write. And maybe think about how well they would perform under such intense pressure. I wonder if they'd keep it together as well as they seem to be expecting him to.

But, eh, this is the internet. Who's actually going to do that? It's easier to assign motivations to what they perceive his behavior to be and to expect a level of performance that suits them.

eta:

As for the 'hardline "I don't owe you shit" attitude' you've seen exhibited here, I think it's part and parcel of what you describe here - it's people pushing back when being pushed. IE, if someone says "When is the new X coming out?" it's easy to answer "Well, not yet, it's a bit delayed." When 1000 people say, with some variation, "Where's the book you owe me, you fat, degenerating fuck?", the response is pretty much going to be "Fuck you, I don't OWE you anything."

Yeah, pretty much this.

jjdebenedictis
07-24-2013, 12:18 AM
I've never said he or anyone didn't have the right to complain.

As I have said - repeatedly - what I object to is the entitlement, the difference between "I would like X" and "I am owed X".WillieTheShakes, you're doing such a good job of expressing my opinions without getting as ragey as I would. :)
Writing is the job. When you stop writing, you're not self-employed, you're unemployed.And how do you know he's not writing?

All you know is that he hasn't published this one particular book.

He may be writing it, and thus "employed". He may be writing something else entirely, and thus "employed". He may be editing an anthology instead of writing, but he's still "employed", because he works for himself, i.e. he was never hired to write ASoIF. It's something he chose to do. And he can choose to do something else if he wants to.

You have zero knowledge of how this man spends his time or how hard he works on his various projects. Slandering his work ethic is therefore both presumptuous and unfair.

heza
07-24-2013, 12:20 AM
What bothers me still is some of the response here that indicates a hardline "I don't owe you shit" attitude towards current or future readership. I'm not talking about the big guys here, but some of the people responding to this thread. I prize humility rather highly, and it bothers me a lot to see people who should feel damned privileged to be working in or towards such a fantastic career as writing not be able to recognize the role a fan base plays in success.

I don't think it's necessarily that writers here don't appreciate a fan base or understand the necessity of such in a successful career, I just think many perhaps don't see their success as simply getting by on fans' good graces.

Writing is a profession. We produce a product; others pay for and consume that product. If we produce shoddy craftsmanship, fewer people will buy our product. It's in our best interests to not mangle up our own PR, but aside from all of that, we sell a book; they buy a book. If they like the book, they buy another and they tell people about it.

It's not unlike when you buy anything else. Someone produces it, you buy it. If you like it, you buy it again or something else from that company... But why do we not feel like it's a breach of social contract if, like, Whirlpool discontinues a certain refrigerator model in favor of a model they think will make more money or that's less expensive to produce? When a production company makes a movie and it doesn't do as well as they'd like, why don't we raise a stink about how they owe us, as consumers, a second and third film? (Of course, maybe some people do, but I can think of lots of movies that were left open for sequels and didn't go anywhere.)

I think a lot of people believe that writers work really hard and are no more privileged to have their success than anyone who is successful in any other field. Therefore, no, writers don't owe readers any more than a plumber owes the people whose sink he fixes--i.e., services or product paid for. The happier you make them, the more likely they are to pay you for stuff again and the more likely they are to spread your good name, but you're not obligated to go above and beyond.. it'd just be better for your image and business if you did.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 12:21 AM
WillieTheShakes, you're doing such a good job of expressing my opinions without getting as ragey as I would. :) And how do you know he's not writing?

All you know is that he hasn't published this one particular book.

He may be writing it, and thus "employed". He may be writing something else entirely, and thus "employed". He may be editing an anthology instead of writing, but he's still "employed", because he works for himself, i.e. he was never hired to write ASoIF. It's something he chose to do. And he can choose to do something else if he wants to.

You have zero knowledge of how this man spends his time or how hard he works on his various projects. Slandering his work ethic is therefore both presumptuous and unfair.

That wasn't a response to GRR Martin, it was a response to your logic in the original statement you made.

Please try to keep up with the conversation and read back to my retractions and apologies.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 12:32 AM
But why do we not feel like it's a breach of social contract if, like, Whirlpool discontinues a certain refrigerator model in favor of a model they think will make more money or that's less expensive to produce? When a production company makes a movie and it doesn't do as well as they'd like, why don't we raise a stink about how they owe us, as consumers, a second and third film? (Of course, maybe some people do, but I can think of lots of movies that were left open for sequels and didn't go anywhere.)

I really agree with your points in the rest of this post, but I think you're off base with this example. Rabid Apple fans are LIVID when major changes are made to their OS. Adobe just announced a major change in its future product licensing model and the response was users threatening to abandon ship in droves. XBox One announced several irritating new 'features' and many gamers I know are thinking about switching to the PS4 when it comes out.

Hell, change the color and design of this forum and you'll see several rageful posts spring up commenting on the end of the AW forums and how this place sucks now because the background color of the page is different!

Like it or not, a successful author becomes a brand. Success means brand loyalty, and that's a tenuous thing to maintain. Fans are going to degenerate into demanding jerky assholes, but that's part of the job you signed up for when you put your book out there and hoped more than your mom and dad would read it.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I had no idea how big this particular GRR Martin thing exploded back in 2009, and now I see why the backlash against the complainers got so heated. With enough backstory, I now agree with Gaiman's 'not your bitch' statement, even if I don't agree with the more general idea that writers are in absolutely no way beholden to their readership.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 12:34 AM
His Wild Card books. The anthologies he's editing. And more. I don't keep track of them closely because I'm not a GRRM reader, although I read his blog regularly because he posts about many interesting topics.

I daresay a lot of this stuff was contracted long before he knew that he'd hit a block on ASOIF. Once ASOIF fell behind due to scope creep, what was he supposed to do? Cancel the contracts for work he expected to be doing after ASOIF was done?

Martin is an extremely busy writer who agonises over the delays in ASOIF. He's not sitting around on his ass doing nothing but refreshing his bank balance display.

I was just hoping you knew about some books I didn't.

Wild Cards had two in '08, one in '09, and one in '11. Martin isn't writing them, but as I understand it he co-owns the series. I could be wrong regarding potential complexities of ownership. Still though, isn't the series published by Tor? Is Martin actually editing those or is the actual editing handled by Tor now?

Tor contracted three Wild Card books, to my understanding, some time after the publication of A Feast For Crows.

Around that same time (2007) HBO purchased the television rights for ASoIaF. The television series, of course, didn't blow up until it was aired in 2011, but movies and t.v. deals are generally known to spark interest, so the increase in demand wasn't exactly unexpected. Interestingly enough, this is the same year Tor agreed to do two more books in the Wild Cards series.

Regarding ASoIaF, book 4 came out in '05, and book 5 came out in '11. Between them he had a novel (Hunter's Run) in '07 and a novella in '10.

Overall, considering Martin's history and total word count, I'd say he's fairly prolific. I don't know that I'd agree he's publishing several books a year, but I believe he more than likely stays busy. That said, is he busy doing what most folks probably want him to be doing? Shrug. I don't know. It is what it is, I suppose.

bearilou
07-24-2013, 12:38 AM
Like it or not, a successful author becomes a brand. Success means brand loyalty, and that's a tenuous thing to maintain. Fans are going to degenerate into demanding jerky assholes, but that's part of the job you signed up for when you put your book out there and hoped more than your mom and dad would read it.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I had no idea how big this particular GRR Martin thing exploded back in 2009, and now I see why the backlash against the complainers got so heated. With enough backstory, I now agree with Gaiman's 'not your bitch' statement, even if I don't agree with the more general idea that writers are in absolutely no way beholden to their readership.

I think it's a delicate balancing act. Sure, the author should be aware and sensitive that fans hold certain expectations, but I think I disagree that I signed up for being expected to tolerate and to just generally accept their jerky behavior. Do fans degenerate to the lowest common denominator when they feel their enjoyment and entertainment is being threatened? Of course they do, we see examples of it all the time.

Do I, as a provider of entertainment, have to tolerate that behavior? No, no I don't. Expect it, okay. But I don't and shouldn't have to tolerate it. Or to bow to that behavior and reward it in any way, shape or form.

eleutheria
07-24-2013, 12:42 AM
Authors do not owe readers more work, but neither does the reader owe it to the author to read/buy their work. Don't like their methods, don't read them, I say. If an author is extremely slow with putting out new works, has a tendency to end on cliffhangers, or has editing problems (or the lack of editing at all - I'm thinking of Mercedes Lackey here), then I will stop reading them. That's exactly what I did with the Wheel of Time series. Like in that case, I might read it when it's done and not before, so I don't waste my time with something the author never completes (for whatever reason). And since stopping reading the Wheel of Time series all together, I have less interest in it now, even though it's done.

I would think consistency would be a good thing for both the author and the readers, honestly. But it's a free country, people can do as they please, and unless under contract, the author is the ruler of their works, not the reader.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
07-24-2013, 12:44 AM
It takes an amazing determination and passion to work on a single project for one, let alone two decades. Hat off to anyone who has walked that walk.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 12:47 AM
Do I, as a provider of entertainment, have to tolerate that behavior? No, no I don't. Expect it, okay. But I don't and shouldn't have to tolerate it. Or to bow to that behavior and reward it in any way, shape or form.

Oh no. No one should ever have to sink that low. I merely suggest that it's unrealistic to think that one can be a public figure and not have to deal with this, even if dealing with it means ignoring it.

ULTRAGOTHA
07-24-2013, 12:50 AM
I think fans that believe that because they bought books one through five the author owes them book six in some kind of time frame, and then bitch about it to the author/in public/on their blogs/on his blog ought to smack themselves upside the head for acting like idiots take a step back and think that attitude through. Itís self-sabotaging.

If an author doesnít enjoy writing any more, heís not going to write. Full stop. If he doesnít enjoy the project heís working on, heíll stop that project and maybe go on to something else. If youíre lucky.

Did you(generic) read the bit in Neilís blog entry about him utterly losing interest in a project and dropping it dead? For the first and only time in his life? Granted it was on the heels of the profoundly affecting event of his fatherís unexpected death; but things like that happen. If it happens to GRRM, oh, well. At least his fans got exactly what they paid for--entertaining books. And maybe HBO will come up with an enjoyable ending to the series.

I think writers are beholden to their readers only for writing the best story they can inside the covers of this book in my hands now. Not for any future books. Iíve been let down by writers whoís current book is far worse than their last book, alas. But even then, I donít think thatís a breach of some kind of moral contract just because Iím disappointed (and irritated, I grant you).

If (generic)youíre pissed off at Martin or Gaiman or Scalzi for reminding fans that Authors are people who write for their own internal reasons, then by all means, stop reading their stuff. Theyíre not out there thinking theyíre entitled to your money just because they wrote the next book, despite what some in this thread have said.

Want the writer to keep going on your favorite project? Help make it more fun. Donít bite the hand that types. Smashing up a guitar at W00tstock probably made it more fun. If so, huzzahs to Paul and Storm and Neil!

The only contract here is between Martin and his publisher. He hasnít got a contract, even a moral one, with you or me.







(or the lack of editing at all - I'm thinking of Mercedes Lackey here)

Or Heaven's Bowl. Or Blackout/All Clear. Or, I've heard, some of the later Stephen King. Or.... Yeah, that's a problem. I'll be checking the next books out of the library before deciding if I'll buy them.

bearilou
07-24-2013, 12:52 AM
Oh no. No one should ever have to sink that low. I merely suggest that it's unrealistic to think that one can be a public figure and not have to deal with this, even if dealing with it means ignoring it.

Which I believe he was doing. Or trying to do. Even in the face of some of those fans behaving rather poorly on his livejournal and in the comments.

And still, someone saw fit to complain to Neil Gaiman about it and here we are, full circle. :ROFL:

Maggie Maxwell
07-24-2013, 12:54 AM
Oh no. No one should ever have to sink that low. I merely suggest that it's unrealistic to think that one can be a public figure and not have to deal with this, even if dealing with it means ignoring it.

Oh yeah, I don't think anyone would say it's a realistic thought. People in the public light get judged worse than any of us can imagine, no matter what they do or how good they are at what they do. It shouldn't be that way, but it is, and there's really nothing anyone can do about it.

Kitty27
07-24-2013, 01:01 AM
Y'all,please remember to respect your fellow writer.

This thread got a bit pressed,so I am just giving a reminder.

I like the Annie Wilkes comparison!

If a fanbase has some knowledge of how their favorite author works,I say they should simmer down. Anyone familiar with GRRM knows he goes at a distinct pace. Wishing harm on the man and indicating he could die because he hasn't finished a book is loony behavior.

That said,if you are a reader and you like for an author to keep a consistent pace-particularly with a fave series- then you need to keep it moving and not become pressed as all hell if an author writes at a different pace than you prefer. Demanding that a writer speed up their creative process to accomodate reader's need creates a vicious cycle,imo. The writer wants to please these fans,but we all know that the quality that brought fans to the work in the first place can begin to suffer. I won't say any names,but I've seen this happen with some of my favorite authors. The bigger they became,the more the books went downhill.

I think enormous success can cause some writers to "lock" up,especially with deadlines and the like. That's the other side of fame. All this attention,money, and sales also come with new demands. Fans want that book,publishers want that book and your creativity says "To hell with you all! I shan't be bothered today!"

I'd rather a writer take their time and craft a great book,than force themselves to work at a pace they can't maintain.

bearilou
07-24-2013, 01:02 AM
Authors do not owe readers more work, but neither does the reader owe it to the author to read/buy their work. Don't like their methods, don't read them, I say. If an author is extremely slow with putting out new works, has a tendency to end on cliffhangers, or has editing problems (or the lack of editing at all - I'm thinking of Mercedes Lackey here), then I will stop reading them. That's exactly what I did with the Wheel of Time series. Like in that case, I might read it when it's done and not before, so I don't waste my time with something the author never completes (for whatever reason). And since stopping reading the Wheel of Time series all together, I have less interest in it now, even though it's done.

See, and I think that's a reasonable reaction. If the reader feels they can no longer be supportive in any manner or have the patience to wait the author out, they can and should drop reading the series. It's disappointing to have to leave a series you were enjoying but the author's inability to pump out books for you in a manner you seem to think is appropriate may very well necessitate that. I suppose it's not much better when the author is a prolific as their fans think they should be and end up churning out subrate books and the fans drop them because of that too.

Its when the reader attempts what amounts to emotional blackmail: "If you don't finish the book/series, I'm dropping it."

To which the author is perfectly within their own rights in saying "Okay".

Why would a reader feel it necessary to try to blackmail the author with that? It's not going to make the author write any faster if there's an issue with getting it written to begin with.

Kind of like an internet flounce. If you're going to leave, then leave. But to announce it, then keep coming and re-announcing it and this-time-I-really-mean-it-I'm-leaving... Christ, just go already.


I would think consistency would be a good thing for both the author and the readers, honestly. But it's a free country, people can do as they please, and unless under contract, the author is the ruler of their works, not the reader.

While I wouldn't disagree, I wonder how many people can truly keep up with this expected level of 'consistency' on a regular basis or if they even truly understand how difficult it can be, especially with the pressure on.

I would certainly expect fellow authors to know, understand, and appreciate this, that's for sure.


Oh yeah, I don't think anyone would say it's a realistic thought. People in the public light get judged worse than any of us can imagine, no matter what they do or how good they are at what they do. It shouldn't be that way, but it is, and there's really nothing anyone can do about it.

Well, I do think there's something that can be done about it, and that's when we see that sort of behavior happening, to try to step in and assert some degree of sanity back into it. Which...yeah, on the internet, expect to be set upon by the rabid fans. Sympathy, empathy for the struggle the author might be going through could go a long way.

jjdebenedictis
07-24-2013, 01:10 AM
That wasn't a response to GRR Martin, it was a response to your logic in the original statement you made. Yeah, I got that. I was pointing out the faulty logic of your reply. To quote you, "Please try to keep up with the conversation".

GRRM is not "unemployed" just because you don't see a new book from him on the shelves.

heza
07-24-2013, 01:12 AM
I really agree with your points in the rest of this post, but I think you're off base with this example. Rabid Apple fans are LIVID when major changes are made to their OS. Adobe just announced a major change in its future product licensing model and the response was users threatening to abandon ship in droves. XBox One announced several irritating new 'features' and many gamers I know are thinking about switching to the PS4 when it comes out.

I'm not sure if you were disagreeing with my statement the Whirlpool consumers don't get livid or that changes in other consumer products don't parallel an author's choice to continue with a series. Because the way I see it, XBox One changes tick consumers off. Martin putting of SoIaF for something else ticks consumers off. Both sets of consumers are angry and make such anger publicly known. Both producers, if they want to pacify their consumer base, will listen to their consumers and correct bad business decisions...

However, we don't assume that Apple or Sony or whoever is sitting at the board table saying, "Guys, look, when we produced this product and people bought it, we entered a social contract. I know R&D on new releases is killing our budget and we're not getting the same return on it as we would with this new product line we all decided we should develop, but we're just morally obligated, now."

I mean, yeah, people get mad when things change and when products don't get supported indefinitely, but we do at some point chalk it up to a business decision (for good or bad), but we don't really make it nearly as personal (in both the way we perceive it affecting us and in the way we respond to the producer) as we do when an individual producer doesn't do exactly what we want.

If Apple decided it made better business sense to shift focus from the iPhone to some brand new thing and never put out the iPhone X, would we expect people to call the CEO a fat, lazy fuck rolling in the billions he made off loyal Apple consumers? Or would we just acknowledge a business decision, however we might dislike it, was made?


Like it or not, a successful author becomes a brand. Success means brand loyalty, and that's a tenuous thing to maintain. Fans are going to degenerate into demanding jerky assholes, but that's part of the job you signed up for when you put your book out there and hoped more than your mom and dad would read it.

I think implied this in my post, or I tried to. It helps your business if your reputation is good and your customers respect your work and want to experience it again. If you're a douche to your customers, they might not buy from you again, no matter how good you are at the job. This is also a business decision--it still doesn't mean the producer owes the consumer more than what they paid for it.

YMMV.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 01:15 AM
The only contract here is between Martin and his publisher. He hasnít got a contract, even a moral one, with you or me.

I will argue against this attitude with my dying breath. A person needs to walk through this life with integrity and the best of intentions, and way you're phrasing this makes it seem that authors should be able to walk away from any project with no explanation owed. (Please correct me if I'm being extremist in my interpretation.)

[For absolute clarity here, none of the following is about any particular author.]

There's something slightly less than an outright promise that's made when an author embarks on a finite series. That something suggests that they plan to one day resolve at least some of the myriad questions they've raised. Life happens, and if an author just can't continue for whatever reason, then a certain amount of personal integrity and humility should come into play. At this point, an author needs to either say "Hey look, this isn't going so well, but it's coming" or, "Shucks, I really just can't do this so here's a blog post trying to answer some of the questions. I really do apologize."

Yes, an author has every right to not deliver on this not-promise, but in my eyes it makes them something less than human if they don't at least rally enough grit to attempt to acknowledge their legion of (polite) fans waiting for resolution.

I'm not talking about anyone specific here, more of an ideal that I strive for. You're (generic) free to feel you owe your readers nothing and that your relationship gets put into cryostasis after each publication, but I'm also free to think that makes you (generic) a Bad Person.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 01:15 AM
ULTRAGOTHA, for the most part, I agree with much of what you wrote above. The below comments are the ones I'm not sure I agree with.




If an author doesnít enjoy writing any more, heís not going to write. Full stop.

This is, of course, fallacious. Some writers may stop. But not all will. I think it's a little unfair to suggest than fans expressing their opinions are self-sabotaging.

I accept that an author can continue working on a project or not dependent on his or her own whim (and contractual obligation), but that's no reason to insist that everyone bury their opinions about it deep down for fear of annoying a public figure.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm all for people being polite, but being polite is a choice, not a mandate.


If (generic)youíre pissed off at Martin or Gaiman or Scalzi for reminding fans that Authors are people who write for their own internal reasons, then by all means, stop reading their stuff. Theyíre not out there thinking theyíre entitled to your money just because they wrote the next book, despite what some in this thread have said.

I have trouble understanding this position. Being irritated doesn't mean you should stop reading a particular author. You can gain enjoyment out of reading an author, and still be annoyed with an author. Several authors have political opinions that annoy me, but I still enjoy their books.

I think expressing irritation is a fair thing to do. In no way does that irritation have to mean it's best to stop reading an author whose work you enjoy. IMO.


The only contract here is between Martin and his publisher. He hasnít got a contract, even a moral one, with you or me.

I'm not sure what this means. He hasn't got a moral contract with the reader? What is a moral contract? I don't know what that is.

I do think authors who say they're going to write something have morally obligated themselves to write whatever it is they say they're going to write. I think failing to deliver on a promise is generally a bad thing and reflects poorly upon an individual's character.

What is morality if not a reflection of good and bad behavior? To me, breaking a promise, or a moral obligation is an example of bad behavior.

In fairness, Martin didn't say exactly when he'd write the next book. Still, the longer it takes someone to carry through on a promise, the more that promise comes into question. I think that's normal and understandable.

heza
07-24-2013, 01:18 AM
Its when the reader attempts what amounts to emotional blackmail: "If you don't finish the book/series, I'm dropping it."

To which the author is perfectly within their own rights in saying "Okay".

Why would a reader feel it necessary to try to blackmail the author with that? It's not going to make the author write any faster if there's an issue with getting it written to begin with.


While I can see how this would feel like emotional blackmail, it's also just a part of "customer service" that comes with producing anything for consumption. I'm not saying that writers need to setup a hotline to take reader complaints, but like, if I don't like the way my electric company operates, I do call them and tell them, "if you don't A, I'm going with another provider." If they don't do what I expect, then I walk... or it was an empty threat and I'm too lazy to change companies, after all.

But still, that's the way consumerism works. People are free to tell a producer they'll take their business elsewhere. Producers are free to say that doesn't affect their business decisions. But the producer (writer) shouldn't be obligated to feel blackmailed. But they also shouldn't expect to get business from people who aren't satisfied.

I'm not really arguing with you, just talking out loud.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 01:33 AM
See, and I think that's a reasonable reaction. If the reader feels they can no longer be supportive in any manner or have the patience to wait the author out, they can and should drop reading the series.

It's up to the reader whether or not they drop the series. Just like it's up to the reader whether or not they complain.


Its when the reader attempts what amounts to emotional blackmail: "If you don't finish the book/series, I'm dropping it."

To which the author is perfectly within their own rights in saying "Okay".

Why would a reader feel it necessary to try to blackmail the author with that? It's not going to make the author write any faster if there's an issue with getting it written to begin with.

I disagree. The above may sometimes be true, but I think it's unfair to suggest all complaints are frivolous attempts at emotional blackmail.

Also, I think it's narrow to suggest that all slow writing is slow because of the creative process, or some obstacle that can't be corrected. I'd suggest that some slow writing actually does happen because some authors spend a lot of time avoiding writing, perhaps surfing the internet.

Finally, consider a business, any business. Say a restaraunt. The restauraunt is doing something you don't agree with. Do you quietly stop spending your money at that restaraunt or do you announce your intention to do so in the hopes that it will correct what it's doing?

bearilou
07-24-2013, 01:33 AM
I'm not really arguing with you, just talking out loud.

Nono, it's fine. I get it. :)

But I feel like your comparison sort of falls short considering we're talking about creative endeavors on a deadline and service providers. Which was where Neil Gaiman's point comes in.

Being creative is not something you can turn on and off at a whim. Sometimes, things happen that sucks every bit of our creative energy and we have nothing left to give. Sure we talk all the time about not waiting for the muse to strike and to just sit down and do the work. Writing is a business and a job and it should be treated with the same seriousness, but do we also not provide comfort to those writers who are, for whatever personal reasons, completely mentally and emotionally tapped out?

Can't say that's the same as having your lights flicker on and off because of bad weather.

Then again, the analogy falls apart further for me personally considering I live at the end of the power line and there is no other electric provider that I can threaten to move to if the electric company can't perform up to my expectations. So the threat is doubly useless. What can I do, threaten not to pay my bill until I get personal customer satisfaction done as I think it should be done, even if the power company really is doing the best they can in windy/rainy conditions and trying to restore power?

And just because I'm sitting in the dark because there is no power, it's erroneous of me to assume that the power company is doing nothing to restore power, especially when I'm not privy to the information that 5,000 other customers are also sitting without power and they're doing the best they can to restore power.

Which is where I think JoBird has a point.

If you have promised a deliverable, which a writer presumably has in starting a series, and it looks like you're not going to meet your deadline, I have to wonder if it would be good 'customer service' to drop a line to the readers who have been so patient and let them know 'hey, there's a delay and I promise I'm doing the best I can'.

I know the electric company does that for us. We get a series of automated phone calls that updates us for when we can expect service to be restored. So, while I can't change electric companies, they are still aware they owe some level of customer service.


Finally, consider a business, any business. Say a restaraunt. The restauraunt is doing something you don't agree with. Do you quietly stop spending your money at that restaraunt or do you announce your intention to do so in the hopes that it will correct what it's doing?

Depends, really. I mean, sure I can write angry letters to a restaurant and tell them I'm no longer eating there if they support something I don't agree with. Maybe I will, if I felt it would do some good.

But if I get the feeling that it won't, I simply vote with my feet. Or money. Or both! I mean, I don't owe them loyalty just because I love their food.

Maggie Maxwell
07-24-2013, 01:39 AM
Well, I do think there's something that can be done about it, and that's when we see that sort of behavior happening, to try to step in and assert some degree of sanity back into it. Which...yeah, on the internet, expect to be set upon by the rabid fans. Sympathy, empathy for the struggle the author might be going through could go a long way.

Yeah, I said that while I was in a rush and realized the foolishness of it while I was on the road. If we just accept that "it is how it is", then there aren't going to be any changes made. I think it is a different situation than similar ones in times past due to the internet and the physical separation from the other debaters (rabid fans from the level-headed from the trolls who like to push buttons and every other group you might find) means we have a slightly different battleground to tread, so to speak. But I shouldn't have said there was nothing we could do.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 01:41 AM
Which is where I think JoBird has a point.

This is all I ever wanted to hear. It only took 1,574 posts. Now I can quit happy.

bearilou
07-24-2013, 01:42 AM
This is all I ever wanted to hear. Now I can quit happy.

Which I read as quilt happy and that made me happy!

onesecondglance
07-24-2013, 01:44 AM
If you have promised a deliverable, which a writer presumably has in starting a series, and it looks like you're not going to meet your deadline, I have to wonder if it would be good 'customer service' to drop a line to the readers who have been so patient and let them know 'hey, there's a delay and I promise I'm doing the best I can'.

I don't think "starting a series" constitutes a deliverable. In fact, I'm struggling to see how it constitutes anything other than "I wrote a good book and I might continue the story because I like it".

And I'm pretty sure GRRM used to give fairly frequent updates on progress until the bullshit from the "you OWE me" crowd put an end to that.

bearilou
07-24-2013, 01:47 AM
And I'm pretty sure GRRM used to give fairly frequent updates on progress until the bullshit from the "you OWE me" crowd put an end to that.

True. I was trying to keep it vague, like those I was responding to.

But true. He was on the receiving end of a lot of heated anger and vehemence. As I stated, I'm not a fan, I don't read his books but the level of sheer nastiness he had leveled at him reached outside his specific fandom into Fandom at large. Those of us who'd never heard of him heard about what he was being subjected to.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 01:55 AM
I don't think "starting a series" constitutes a deliverable. In fact, I'm struggling to see how it constitutes anything other than "I wrote a good book and I might continue the story because I like it".

There's a difference between a collection of standalone books that share one world and common characters, and a series that ends each book without resolution and is utterly incomplete without the rest of the trilogy or septilogy, or whatever.

If you write half a book and tell people to stay tuned for part two, most sane people would say that you'd not be delivering if you never put out part two.

Phaeal
07-24-2013, 02:13 AM
Or as Christopher Derrick wrote:


In these matters [such as the great GRRM debate], some people feel strongly; and it may be desirable to clear the air by asserting, with some emphasis, the wholly gratuitous character of all activities connected with the novel. In particular, let there be no talk of 'duty.' No kind of duty comes into the picture at any point. It is not morally incumbent upon anybody to write a novel, or to write one kind of novel rather than another; no publisher has a duty to accept any particular book for publication; and nobody is to be praised or blamed for reading or for not reading, for loving or for hating, any novel at all. It's up to them.

That kind of addresses the great authors vs. reviewers debate, too, doesn't it?

Captcha
07-24-2013, 02:39 AM
Martin is an extremely busy writer who agonises over the delays in ASOIF. He's not sitting around on his ass doing nothing but refreshing his bank balance display.

Well, if one side of the argument is jumped on for asserting that Martin is lazy without any evidence to back it up, I don't think we can just accept that he's "an extremely busy writer who agonises over" anything, not unless you have inside knowledge on that.

I think the general agreement has been that we have no idea what Martin's up to. Maybe he's agonizing, maybe he's sitting by the pool. We don't know. Right?

ULTRAGOTHA
07-24-2013, 03:24 AM
If you write half a book and tell people to stay tuned for part two, most sane people would say that you'd not be delivering if you never put out part two.

I agree. But I can only think of two books recently that would fall into this category. Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis that was one book published in two volumes, and The Human Division by John Scalzi which was published online in 13 weekly "episodes". In both those cases, the entire story was complete before the first part was published.

A Song of Ice and Fire is not a "seven part book". If it's finished, it will be seven individual books.


(Fun fact. Connie Willis, six years late on Blackout/All Clear, coincidentally has the same editor as GRRM. Or at least she did as of the Worldcon in Denver. Poor editor!)




This is, of course, fallacious. Some writers may stop. But not all will. I think it's a little unfair to suggest than fans expressing their opinions are self-sabotaging.

I didn't say fans expressing their opinions are self-sabotaging. I said:


I think fans that believe that because they bought books one through five the author owes them book six in some kind of time frame, and then bitch about it to the author/in public/on their blogs/on his blog....

There are a lot of qualifiers there.



I accept that an author can continue working on a project or not dependent on his or her own whim (and contractual obligation), but that's no reason to insist that everyone bury their opinions about it deep down for fear of annoying a public figure.

Again, not what I said.

I've been to several of Connie Willis's and Rosemary Kirstein's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Steerswoman) Kaffeklatches and I have said to them in person and on Kirstein's blog how much I was hoping to read their next book soon. I've even posted on blogs and boards here and there that I wish it would happen sooner.

What I didn't do was bitch about how they'd promised another book, and because I've read and enjoyed their past books, they owed me future books. And why were they off doing something else instead of writing the book they owed me.




I do think authors who say they're going to write something have morally obligated themselves to write whatever it is they say they're going to write. I think failing to deliver on a promise is generally a bad thing and reflects poorly upon an individual's character.

If Martin doesn't finish ASOIAF there will be a lot of understandably disappointed fans. No doubt many will be really upset and think less of him. This does not mean he has a moral obligation to finish the series.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 04:02 AM
I didn't say fans expressing their opinions are self-sabotaging.

I followed what you said. I just disagree is all. I see zero reason why a fan can't or shouldn't express him or herself to an author.

Authors aren't mind readers. I actually prefer feedback, both good and bad.

I think it's unfair to equate a fan expressing him or herself (to the author or otherwise; on a blog or a forum or in person or wherever) with self-sabotage.

Whether or not I'd consider someone's expression to be "bitching" or not is somewhat subjective. I suspect we may have a different definition of that word.


Again, not what I said.

I was under the impression that you were saying a fan telling a writer what the fan thinks (or "bitching" as you put it) could make the writer not enjoy writing. Thus the writer would stop writing.

I disagree with that. Writers need a thick skin, especially famous writers. People say stuff. Sometimes mean stuff. If mean stuff is going to make a writer stop writing, well, I don't know what to tell you. It's just part of the world we live in.

So telling a fan to not "bitch" to an author is akin, in my opinion, to telling a fan to not express him or herself to an author. Which is an awful lot like telling someone to bury their opinions down deep because delicate writers can't be bothered to hear it. Personally, I believe individuals should make up their own minds about what they're saying.

Which is more rude?

1. Someone telling their favorite author how they feel, even if those feelings are negative?
2. Or someone telling another person what they should and shouldn't say, where they should say it, and how they should say it?


I've been to several of Connie Willis's and Rosemary Kirstein's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Steerswoman) Kaffeklatches and I have said to them in person and on Kirstein's blog how much I was hoping to read their next book soon. I've even posted on blogs and boards here and there that I wish it would happen sooner.

What I didn't do was bitch about how they'd promised another book, and because I've read and enjoyed their past books, they owed me future books. And why were they off doing something else instead of writing the book they owed me.

Awesome. That sounds like a really good choice of personal behavior for you considering your opinion on social graces.

I'm just not sure what that has to do with anyone else.



If Martin doesn't finish ASOIAF there will be a lot of understandably disappointed fans. No doubt many will be rally upset and think less of him. This does not mean he has a moral obligation to finish the series.

Let's establish something. Martin has actually said he's going to finish the series. It's not an implied thing based on the books we've seen. He's actually stated it. I've heard him say it.

That said, if you say--of your own free will and volition--that you're going to do something, do you then have a moral obligation to do it? If no, why not?

Regardless of your particular answer, it comes down to a set of values. If carrying through with what you say is a core value to you, then I don't see how this isn't a moral obligation. However, if it's not a core value, then I can see how such doesn't rate high on a scale of importance. But the point is, to the fans who hold a particular set of values, Martin has indeed obligated himself morally. And they will judge accordingly.

Just my two cents.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-24-2013, 04:58 AM
A writer has a contract with a publisher. Just like a programmer has a contract with a software company. The only person they have an obligation to is the person with whom they have signed a contract.

When you buy a book, you are paying for a product. The product that you get for the money you paid, not something down the line that you will pay more money for later.

You are not subsidizing this writer's incredible good forture to be make a living as a writer. Being a writer is hard stuff. Even for GRRM, it's not all about sitting around on a pile of money people donated to support you.


Most writers (not GRRM, perhaps) are not living the life of luxury.

Now, if a writer crowd-sourced a novel, then the readers might have some sort of claim on their productivity. But as far as the traditional book-selling methods, nope.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 05:09 AM
A writer has a contract with a publisher. Just like a programmer has a contract with a software company. The only person they have an obligation to is the person with whom they have signed a contract.

When you buy a book, you are paying for a product. The product that you get for the money you paid, not something down the line that you will pay more money for later.

You are not subsidizing this writer's incredible good forture to be make a living as a writer. Being a writer is hard stuff. Even for GRRM, it's not all about sitting around on a pile of money people donated to support you.


Most writers (not GRRM, perhaps) are not living the life of luxury.

Now, if a writer crowd-sourced a novel, then the readers might have some sort of claim on their productivity. But as far as the traditional book-selling methods, nope.

I don't think anyone is arguing that writers have a legal obligation to fans.

bearilou
07-24-2013, 05:12 AM
I disagree with that. Writers need a thick skin, especially famous writers. People say stuff. Sometimes mean stuff. If mean stuff is going to make a writer stop writing, well, I don't know what to tell you. It's just part of the world we live in.

Just because it's the world we live in doesn't make it right. Doesn't mean we all should agree it's appropriate behavior. I realize we're talking about the internet, though.


So telling a fan to not "bitch" to an author is akin, in my opinion, to telling a fan to not express him or herself to an author. Which is an awful lot like telling someone to bury their opinions down deep because delicate writers can't be bothered to hear it. Personally, I believe individuals should make up their own minds about what they're saying.

And when others, other fans, perhaps the author themselves, feel like 'what they're saying' crosses the line in good taste...I'm sorry, who's right again?

And why are we even making it an issue that using good manners and trying to understand there may be extenuating circumstances are are preventing some 'promise' being fulfilled in this 'timely manner'.


Which is more rude?

1. Someone telling their favorite author how they feel, even if those feelings are negative?
2. Or someone telling another person what they should and shouldn't say, where they should say it, and how they should say it?

I'd say what is more rude is to start being verbally abusive on the author's blog/journal because they aren't working at the speed you seem to think they should and then start casting aspersions as to their intent, their work ethic, their personality and acting as if the worst thing in the world a person can possibly do is to not fulfill their promise at a speed which you feel they can do it.


That said, if you say--of your own free will and volition--that you're going to do something, do you then have a moral obligation to do it? If no, why not?

This is starting to make me uncomfortable, this line of reasoning.

You appear to be saying that when an author 'says' they're going to do something, they are now honor bound to complete it.

Which does not take into account that there may be extenuating circumstances that prevent them from meeting this 'obligation'. I will leave off any discussion about 'verbal contracts' from a legal perspective which, again it appears, you are saying the author's agreed to.


Regardless of your particular answer, it comes down to a set of values. If carrying through with what you say is a core value to you, then I don't see how this isn't a moral obligation. However, if it's not a core value, then I can see how such doesn't rate high on a scale of importance. But the point is, to the fans who hold a particular set of values, Martin has indeed obligated himself morally. And they will judge accordingly.

Just my two cents.

They are entitled to judge just like they want. Just because YOU think that GRRM is morally reprehensible because he broke a promise to have a book out at a specific time, doesn't mean others do.

Frankly, this entire conversation is starting to make me uncomfortable when we start treating 'promises' as legal and binding contracts for issues that aren't in a legal sense legal and binding: promises to fans to perform to standard, in an appropriate manner and in a predetermined and approved time.


I don't think anyone is arguing that writers have a legal obligation to fans.

No, but honestly, that's how it's starting to sound.

I'm out.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 05:28 AM
Just because it's the world we live in doesn't make it right. Doesn't mean we all should agree it's appropriate behavior. I realize we're talking about the internet, though.

It's one thing to think it's rude. I agree that it's rude. It's another to tell someone not to do it. In my opinion.



And when others, other fans, perhaps the author themselves, feel like 'what they're saying' crosses the line in good taste...I'm sorry, who's right again?

And why are we even making it an issue that using good manners and trying to understand there may be extenuating circumstances are are preventing some 'promise' being fulfilled in this 'timely manner'.

I'm having trouble parsing this.

If other fans think it's rude, they certainly have a right to say, "Hey, I think that's rude."

To me, the line is crossed when people say, "Thou shalt not be rude."



I'd say what is more rude is to start being verbally abusive on the author's blog/journal because they aren't working at the speed you seem to think they should and then start casting aspersions as to their intent, their work ethic, their personality and acting as if the worst thing in the world a person can possibly do is to not fulfill their promise at a speed which you feel they can do it.

To be clear, *I* don't expect any particular speed at all. I'm talking about people who do.

And it's fair that you think one is more rude than another. I put the question out without answering it myself. Personally, I think, as far as social graces go, both are very rude. Just my opinion.


This is starting to make me uncomfortable, this line of reasoning.

You appear to be saying that when an author 'says' they're going to do something, they are now honor bound to complete it.

Why is that uncomfortable? I guess I don't understand. I do think it's important for folks to carry through with promises. On a moral level, not a legal one.

If extenuating circumstances exist, that's fair. A person can only control what they can control. Barring accidents, floods, tornadoes and whatnot, I think it's reasonable to expect a person to carry through with what they say they're going to do.


Which does not take into account that there may be extenuating circumstances that prevent them from meeting this 'obligation'.

Fair point. Extenuating circumstances are something I think most reasonable people would take into consideration. I don't think most folks would be demanding a novel from someone who was just in a car accident, for example. I was speaking as if all else were relatively equal.


I will leave off any discussion about 'verbal contracts' from a legal perspective which, again it appears, you are saying the author's agreed to.

That's just putting words in my mouth. If I haven't been more than clear, let me: that's not what I've said.


They are entitled to judge just like they want. Just because YOU think that GRRM is morally reprehensible because he broke a promise to have a book out at a specific time, doesn't mean others do.

I've put forward no opinion on whether or not I find Martin morally reprehensible. For the record, I do not. Find him morally reprehensible, that is.

In fact, I think if you read other comments I've made, you'll notice I mentioned that I believe he's prolific, and likely busy.


Frankly, this entire conversation is starting to make me uncomfortable when we start treating 'promises' as legal and binding contracts for issues that aren't in a legal sense legal and binding: promises to fans to perform to standard, in an appropriate manner and in a predetermined and approved time.

Again, the legal and binding contract stuff is coming out of nowhere. I'm unaware of anyone making that argument. Certainly not me.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-24-2013, 05:35 AM
I don't think anyone is arguing that writers have a legal obligation to fans.



I think some people in this thread are treating it like they do, although I agree that most people in this thread aren't explicitly saying that.

But if we're going to talk about moral/ethical contracts with the reader, which people in this thread have discusses most explicitly, then an analogy to a legal contract is not unreasonable.


JoBird, the kind of bitching going on about GRRM is not about the author; it's about the book.



I also do not agree that you have a moral obligation to fulfill each and every "promise" that you make.

People make marriage vows all the time, something far more explicit and clearly-defined than saying you want to write--or even will write--more books in a series. And yet 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce--or whatever statistic you prefer. Yet no one goes around saying what lazy/horrible/morally bereft people they are(not that you called Martin any of those things, but others have)--unless they're the one getting dumped, I suppose. It's very clear to me that the vast majority of people making this moral obligation argument only do so when it directly affects them getting something they want. I'm not saying you personally are doing that. But it does suggest that maybe holding authors to this standard is a bit unfair.

If an author decides they don't enjoy writing a series anymore, I don't hold them to some unbreakable moral obligation to continue writing it anyway.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 05:53 AM
Liosse,

I think you make a fine and strong point.

Personally, I don't believe Martin has violated any promises he's made, so the issue is rather moot to me. I'm simply saying why I think some folks get angry over it.

Moral obligation is a phrase that comes with a definition. I grabbed this one for quick reference:

"Noun 1. moral obligation - an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong; "he did it out of a feeling of moral obligation"
duty, obligation, responsibility - the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force; "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D.Rockefeller Jr"

I've stated that I think it's a subjective issue. I don't think exploring it and discussing it is bad. If the moderators feel otherwise, I will, of course, refrain from continued commentary.

Moral obligation is about a person's consideration of right and wrong. A promise is a moral obligation, in my opinion, to someone who holds such to be a core value, as I mentioned in my above post.

It's in no way a legal obligation, to my knowledge. I'm not sure how the two can be conflated.

In my opinion, Martin is writing the sequels. In my opinion, Martin has every intention of finishing the series. Personally, I'm not upset with him. Personally, even if I were upset with him, I would not go tell him so on his blog. One, because I think it would be rude, and I try to not be rude. And two, because I don't think it would do any good.

That said, personally, I don't think it's my place to tell others to not say whatever they want to a person in the public spotlight. Personally, I think people have a right to be rude.

That said, I also think Martin has a right to delete their comments.

Just my opinion.

Amadan
07-24-2013, 06:05 AM
Butthurt GRRM fans are so funny. Anthony Powell took twenty-five years to finish A Dance to the Music of Time.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 06:11 AM
I don't think anyone is arguing that writers have a legal obligation to fans.
I think some people in this thread are treating it like they do, although I agree that most people in this thread aren't explicitly saying that.

Maybe you should go back and reread the thread instead of speculating at what people mean. The only people writing anything about legal contracts are those suggesting that authors don't owe readers anything.

The rest of us are trying to have a discussion about the fine line between all or nothing. I, for one, would appreciate it if people would stop trying to reduce it to a simplistic comparison between the contract an author has with their publisher. Not once has anyone suggested that this is a reasonable parallel with the issue at hand.

People break legal and social contracts and agreements all the time. Does that make it okay for me to do the same? That's absurd. Each person must live by their own code of ethics and morals, and some of us are a little tougher on ourselves when it comes to managing and meeting the expectations we put out there.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 06:21 AM
Butthurt GRRM fans are so funny. Anthony Powell took twenty-five years to finish A Dance to the Music of Time.

Not that it really matters, but Powell's longest gap between books in the series was 3 years. Martin's longest gap was 6.

Martin took 15 years to write his first five books in the series. Powell had published eight books in a 15 year period.

It's not quite the same thing. If Martin were to publish a new book in the series every three years, it would take him 36 years to publish 12 novels.

Amadan
07-24-2013, 06:36 AM
Not that it really matters, but Powell's longest gap between books in the series was 3 years. Martin's longest gap was 6.

Martin took 15 years to write his first five books in the series. Powell had published eight books in a 15 year period.

It's not quite the same thing. If Martin were to publish a new book in the series every three years, it would take him 36 years to publish 12 novels.


Okay, dude, if you want to get nitpicky, I'll point out that Anthony Powell's books were also a lot shorter. A Dance to the Music of Time was approximately 3000 pages altogether, in 12 books. The first five books of GoT total approximately 4000 pages.

So, GRRM still beats Anthony Powell in the speed writing contest. And GRRM's butthurt fans are still funny.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 06:43 AM
How did I know it was going to come down to that? I even started writing something about the page count and then deleted it. Whatevs.

I personally think Martin's last two books should have been one single book with a lot of the fat trimmed. That's another conversation though.

ULTRAGOTHA
07-24-2013, 06:51 AM
What, no love for us Rosemary Kirstein fans? Four books in 24 years, with three to go?
:e2violin:


;)



It's a good thing those four books are so good on the re-read! I am encouraged by word that it probably won't be so long between the next three.
:e2cheer:

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 07:05 AM
Holy hell that's a huge time frame!

Liosse de Velishaf
07-24-2013, 07:18 AM
Maybe you should go back and reread the thread instead of speculating at what people mean. The only people writing anything about legal contracts are those suggesting that authors don't owe readers anything.

No "speculation" required:


I didn't read any of the GoT novels until last year, but if I had been waiting as long as my friends did, I would have been in a murderous rage when each of the last two books game out. At a certain point, it's your job to get your fiction out to your readers. If you promise them a series, you need to put an ending on it before they die or forget they were ever reading it.

It's a funny bit, but G.R.R. Martin should have hurried the hell up then, and he should have finished the last book by now.

I don't see how you cannot realize that telling someone it's their job to do something is implying a legal contract. Because that is what a job is: you get paid for fulfilling obligations you entered into in writing. A writer's "job", in the case of the traditionally published as is Martin, it to get a complete manuscript meeting the agreed requirements turned in on deadline. End of story.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 07:41 AM
No "speculation" required:



I don't see how you cannot realize that telling someone it's their job to do something is implying a legal contract. Because that is what a job is: you get paid for fulfilling obligations you entered into in writing. A writer's "job", in the case of the traditionally published as is Martin, it to get a complete manuscript meeting the agreed requirements turned in on deadline. End of story.

I'm sorry, but that's just laughable. :ROFL:

onesecondglance
07-24-2013, 07:44 AM
If you write half a book and tell people to stay tuned for part two, most sane people would say that you'd not be delivering if you never put out part two.

Bullshit. There are plenty of unfinished stories out there in other media - TV, films, video games - hell, even concept albums - and "most sane people" don't go around blaming the creator(s) for not completing them.


People break legal and social contracts and agreements all the time. Does that make it okay for me to do the same? That's absurd. Each person must live by their own code of ethics and morals, and some of us are a little tougher on ourselves when it comes to managing and meeting the expectations we put out there.

You're back to your original line of argument that GRRM has somehow broken some rule by taking more than five seconds to write you the next book. There is no "social contract" here. He wrote a book, he said he was hoping to write another book. That's an aspiration, not a promise.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 07:57 AM
Bullshit. There are plenty of unfinished stories out there in other media - TV, films, video games - hell, even concept albums - and "most sane people" don't go around blaming the creator(s) for not completing them.

Bullshit. This isn't even remotely true. People do just this sort of thing all the time. The internet is riddled with it. Furthermore, you're comparing a project being shut down by a studio/producer/management to a creator just not finishing work. They're two different things.


GRRM has somehow broken some rule by taking more than five seconds to write you the next book. Really?

5 seconds?

REALLY?

5 seconds?

REALLY?

I have no choice but to conclude that you sir, are a halfwit.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 07:59 AM
Bullshit. There are plenty of unfinished stories out there in other media - TV, films, video games - hell, even concept albums - and "most sane people" don't go around blaming the creator(s) for not completing them.

Of course, there's a difference. Some things require a budget that may not exist. Some things require an audience that may not exist.

Television shows are often cancelled due to a lack of ratings. Films (like Mac and Me!, which ended with the bubble: "We'll be back!") sometimes don't get a chance for a sequel due to a lack of budget.

ASoIaF is different. There's no lack of audience interest or lack of budget stopping it from being written. As I mentioned many times, I'm confident Martin is writing it, and I have no issue with Martin's time frame, but I understand people who feel he's made a promise to complete the series.

And--because it oddly seems necessary--as a disclaimer: no, I don't think stated intentions to fans about writing future novels is actionable in court.


You're back to your original line of argument that GRRM has somehow broken some rule by taking more than five seconds to write you the next book.

Five seconds is an exaggeration. Personally, I'm fine with the time Martin is taking, as I've mentioned. But five seconds is an extreme exaggeration when compared to six years.

It feels like folks are talking past one another for some reason. I can't figure out why though.


There is no "social contract" here. He wrote a book, he said he was hoping to write another book. That's an aspiration, not a promise.

Is that what he said? I remember hearing it different.

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 08:08 AM
This thing has gone off the rails. I may have been the one to put the dynamite on the track, and I may have pushed the plunger, but I certainly did not lay a whole new section of track that took us several hundred miles down the line into Crazy Town.

frimble3
07-24-2013, 08:12 AM
OT, but the books GRRM has not yet written are kind of a 'Schrodinger's Book'. As long as he doesn't write otherwise, all ending are possible. John Snow for King, with Sam as loyal advisor. Happiness for Tyrion. Dragons eat everybody. You name it, sky's the limit. No matter what he actually writes, someone will hate it.
For myself, I read the first couple, and then found myself skipping majorly, only reading about the characters I was interested in. At this point, meh, I might go back, I might not. I'm feeling plenty fulfilled by following the read-along on Tor.

I wish there were more 'Number Ten Ox' stories by Barry Hughart. I wish John M. Ford had written a sequel to 'Dragon Waiting'. But wishing doesn't make it so.:Shrug:

AlixLydon
07-24-2013, 09:00 AM
Let the above Off Topic be the new On Topic!

I'm outta here and won't be responding to any more posts in this thread. It's been a slice!

Terie
07-24-2013, 09:44 AM
Well, if one side of the argument is jumped on for asserting that Martin is lazy without any evidence to back it up, I don't think we can just accept that he's "an extremely busy writer who agonises over" anything, not unless you have inside knowledge on that.

I think the general agreement has been that we have no idea what Martin's up to. Maybe he's agonizing, maybe he's sitting by the pool. We don't know. Right?

I submit his blog (http://grrm.livejournal.com/) as written evidence of his feelings about the long delays between books, and about other aspects of his writing life. There are many posts over quite a few years, and if you'd like to dig them out, you're welcome to do so.

I've also attended at least one signing (with a friend who is one of his readers reader) where he expressed his chagrin at the time-scales, and where he talked about his writing life. I cannot, of course, provide proof of what he said, since I wasn't recording or taking notes expecting to need to quote him later, especially about something on which he has himself been very public.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
07-24-2013, 09:49 AM
You know, this whole idea that the reader's enjoyment of Book 1 obligates the author to Book 2 seems a bit backwards to me.

Seems to me, the causality goes more in this direction:

1) Writer writes a book. That is the writer's effort.
3) Reader reads book, enjoys book. That enjoyment is the effort earned by the writer's effort.
4) End, or repeat, depending on whether writer writes a new book.

(There was a 2. originally, "Publisher publishes book," but it seemed to dilute the point, so I erased it.)

I can't speak to GRRM because I haven't read/watched anything of his since Beauty and the Beast. I have no intention of reading the series y'all are talking about nor watching the show.

But I do read Robin McKinley.

You want to see a metric shit ton of fannish entitlement explode on the interwebs? Go sidle up to some of McKinley's fans and mention Pegasus. Hooooo boy. How dare she end that novel on a cliffhanger and not even have the next novel written nor yet even know the ending! How dare she keep us hanging until 2014?! How dare she expend energy on other enjoyable things, like knitting and bell-ringing and dogs, or blogging about knitting and bell-ringing and dogs, or--seriously, how dare she!--writing serialized fiction! On her blog! When she could be writing Pegasus II instead! OMG ELEVENTY HOW DARE SHE!

I think you can tell from my tone what I think about that sort of entitlement. Hey, I want to know how the story continues, too, but ultimately she's the one's got to live her life in the most fulfilling way possible to her. She's the one who's got to decide which story to write next--and she's got no obligation to sit there banging her head against the blank page rather than filling it (er, the page, not her head) with another story that's more ready to leap fluidly out into the world.

She wrote the first book. I bought it and enjoyed it. That completes that transaction.

Now, I will happily buy and read the second book if/when it comes out, but my eagerness to do so is no obligation on her to write faster. It just provides her with an additional guaranteed sale when/if she finishes it and her publisher publishes it. And, y'know, if she writes something else in the meantime, I'll read that instead, because I love her writing (even if I sometimes wish I'd had a chance to mark it up with a red pen, hi there Sunshine and Dragonhaven!). That includes the next snippet she appends to her ongoing serialized novel on her blog, too. And if I were less patient? Oh well. One less guaranteed sale for her. But that's a far cry from OMG SHE BETRAYED ME SHE FAILED HER MORAL OBLIGATION TO ME SHE'S A TERRIBLE PERSON HOW DARE SHE, which attitude I have absolutely heard from some quarters.

I think anyone who begrudges an author the right to decide what to spend the hours and days and years of their life on is pretty selfish. If they get more out of life by dropping the series entirely and writing something else--or even dropping writing entirely and taking up watercolors or whatever--hey, it's their life. They don't owe me an explanation for how they live it.

Filigree
07-24-2013, 09:51 AM
I cannot find the source, but there's a quote that fits here: 'We are responsible for those we love, not those who love us.'

I wanted more Number Ten Ox, more Firefly, more Brisco County, Jr. More of Tanith Lee's 'Flat Earth' books, more of Diane Duane's 'Middle Kingdoms' books, and I really wish McKillip would finish off the love stories from her second 'Cygnet' book. If I'm lucky, I may get some of that. I'm beyond thrilled that Scott Lynch is back on track for 'Republic of Thieves'. Hearing a little more of his backstory, I am relieved that he's still around to write. Too many authors I love have died or vanished from the market. I'm still mourning Iain Banks!

But a year after getting my own debut novel published, I'm certainly not going to behave as if my favorite authors owe me anything. Because bad stuff happens, and plans get derailed. It's not worth a flounce, believe me.

I have tried and often failed to keep a clear head here on AW; I have the mod PMs to prove it. This may be worth another one, in solidarity with Nicole. There is another applicable quote here:

'Grow the f**k up.'

Terie
07-24-2013, 10:17 AM
I wanted more Number Ten Ox, more Firefly, more Brisco County, Jr. More of Tanith Lee's 'Flat Earth' books, more of Diane Duane's 'Middle Kingdoms' books, and I really wish McKillip would finish off the love stories from her second 'Cygnet' book. If I'm lucky, I may get some of that. I'm beyond thrilled that Scott Lynch is back on track for 'Republic of Thieves'. Hearing a little more of his backstory, I am relieved that he's still around to write. Too many authors I love have died or vanished from the market. I'm still mourning Iain Banks!

Melanie Rawn's Captal's Tower trilogy. It's an extremely complex story, and after book 2 was done, Rawn's mother died, affecting her dramatically and leaving her unable to write for a time, and eventually the series went into 'infinite hiatus' as someone called it. Even if she wanted to pick Captal's Tower up again (and it sounds like she doesn't), I think it would be nearly impossible to finish it because it's so complex (overly complex, IMO) that it would be very hard to find and tie up all the threads after such a long time.

Here's (http://www.amazon.com/forum/fantasy?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxRHP2KEWXI0H1&cdThread=TxI6R319OF3LY3) a thread on Amazon about it. Notice the mention of things getting 'unpleasant'.

Yes, readers have a right to be disappointed when a series doesn't come out as quickly as they'd like, or when later books don't come out at all. Yes, readers have a right to express disappointment. Yes, they have a right to stop buying the author's books. But rising to the level of 'unpleasant' (or worse)? No.

Filigree
07-24-2013, 10:59 AM
I skimmed the Rawn thread. Yes, people went there. Poor Melanie. Captal's Tower looked to be stunningly ambitious, and I liked the first book a lot more than her Sunrunners books. I hope she heals enough, eventually, to return to the series.

25 or so years later, people are still bitching at Meredith Ann Pierce for not doing anything else in her 'Darkangel' trilogy, even though it seemed set for a continuation.

Market conditions forced Jane Fancher to table her plans for new 'Ring' books until she can self-publish - I'll have to check out her blog and see if that happened. Note: she's trying (http://www.janefancher.com/htmfiles/bibliography/Rings/dance.htm#RingsofChange). Check out the link for a heartbreaking tutorial on why the Big 5 really shouldn't have as much control as they do, in spec fiction publishing.

So much can go wrong between an idea's genesis and its final crystallization. Every time I'm tempted to bitch out an author for taking too long, I try to remember John Goodman's character in 'Treme': a fictional Tulane professor who survived Hurricane Katrina and the later upheavals in New Orleans, only to (apparently) commit suicide when faced with writer's block and a contract deadline.

I never, ever want to be a factor in that response for any real-life writer.

onesecondglance
07-24-2013, 01:13 PM
I have no choice but to conclude that you sir, are a halfwit.

It's funny - the book I'm reading at the moment is called Halfhead by Stuart B Macbride. It's about surgically mutilated and lobotomised serial killers, set in a gritty near-future Glasgow. If you enjoy the darker, gorier, and more actiony parts of ASOIAF, you might like it.


You're comparing a project being shut down by a studio/producer/management to a creator just not finishing work. They're two different things.

I don't think it's all that different - see below.


Of course, there's a difference. Some things require a budget that may not exist. Some things require an audience that may not exist.

Television shows are often cancelled due to a lack of ratings. Films (like Mac and Me!, which ended with the bubble: "We'll be back!") sometimes don't get a chance for a sequel due to a lack of budget.

ASoIaF is different. There's no lack of audience interest or lack of budget stopping it from being written. As I mentioned many times, I'm confident Martin is writing it, and I have no issue with Martin's time frame, but I understand people who feel he's made a promise to complete the series.

External influences absolutely play their part. That's the point - there is more than just GRRM and a typewriter in this. You don't know who or what is involved and what might be "delaying" the series - and tbh, I don't think six years is a massive long time in the grand scheme of things - so all the imagining of this being solely and individually a "lack of effort" on the author's part is just that - imagination. So, no, I don't think they're different.

Projects get delayed, projects get cancelled. Sometimes that's what the creator wants, sometimes it's not. These things are seldom as simple as they might seem from the outside.

Terie
07-24-2013, 01:48 PM
Oh, and here's another twist I just thought of.

A friend who's also a bestselling author planned a trilogy of trilogies, although this wasn't widely publicised. That is, readers didn't know that a total of nine books was planned.

Reaction to the ending of the second trilogy was so virulent in some quarters that the author decided not to write the last trilogy. (Note: The ending to which so many objected wasn't a cliffhanger; on the contrary, it had a ring of finality to it.)

Amadan
07-24-2013, 02:31 PM
Bullshit. This isn't even remotely true. People do just this sort of thing all the time. The internet is riddled with it. Furthermore, you're comparing a project being shut down by a studio/producer/management to a creator just not finishing work. They're two different things.

Really?

5 seconds?

REALLY?

5 seconds?

REALLY?

I have no choice but to conclude that you sir, are a halfwit.


This thing has gone off the rails. I may have been the one to put the dynamite on the track, and I may have pushed the plunger, but I certainly did not lay a whole new section of track that took us several hundred miles down the line into Crazy Town.


Wow. Someone is really invested in this.

GRRM is not your bitch. End of.

MacAllister
07-24-2013, 05:53 PM
I have no choice but to conclude that you sir, are a halfwit.

Really? That seemed appropriate to you?

The name-calling gets you three days on the bench. Don't do that here. I don't care how provoked you're feeling.

Phaeal
07-24-2013, 06:35 PM
Anywho, now that some of the shouting has stopped. My own take as a writer is that if I'm fortunate enough to start a series that readers love, two things are going to keep me writing at a reasonable clip (which I define as a book every one-two years, though as a reader, I'm actually a lot more lenient):

1. The joy of sharing the story.
2. My bank account.

swvaughn
07-24-2013, 08:14 PM
Anywho, now that some of the shouting has stopped. My own take as a writer is that if I'm fortunate enough to start a series that readers love, two things are going to keep me writing at a reasonable clip (which I define as a book every one-two years, though as a reader, I'm actually a lot more lenient):

1. The joy of sharing the story.
2. My bank account.

...unless "the joy of sharing the story" becomes "the terror that readers will hate the direction you write the story and never read another book from you again"...

Which all the "do not ever read reviews of your work" advice in the world cannot dislodge. Especially when they send you emails.

Just sayin'. :)

disclaimer: I do not know, nor do I speak for, George R.R. Martin. This is just my opinion and my experiences, YMMV and all of that. :D

Filigree
07-24-2013, 09:16 PM
Yeah, since at least two of my projected and outlined books have a hero or heroine dying at the end. Story-wise it works, but my readers may not like it.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-24-2013, 10:27 PM
Yeah, since at least two of my projected and outlined books have a hero or heroine dying at the end. Story-wise it works, but my readers may not like it.


Right? People think GRRM is bad, I had a historicalish romancish book where all of the main characters and several of the secondary characters not only die, but get killed. Awkward. :evil

Liosse de Velishaf
07-24-2013, 10:32 PM
I skimmed the Rawn thread. Yes, people went there. Poor Melanie. Captal's Tower looked to be stunningly ambitious, and I liked the first book a lot more than her Sunrunners books. I hope she heals enough, eventually, to return to the series.

25 or so years later, people are still bitching at Meredith Ann Pierce for not doing anything else in her 'Darkangel' trilogy, even though it seemed set for a continuation.

Market conditions forced Jane Fancher to table her plans for new 'Ring' books until she can self-publish - I'll have to check out her blog and see if that happened. Note: she's trying (http://www.janefancher.com/htmfiles/bibliography/Rings/dance.htm#RingsofChange). Check out the link for a heartbreaking tutorial on why the Big 5 really shouldn't have as much control as they do, in spec fiction publishing.

So much can go wrong between an idea's genesis and its final crystallization. Every time I'm tempted to bitch out an author for taking too long, I try to remember John Goodman's character in 'Treme': a fictional Tulane professor who survived Hurricane Katrina and the later upheavals in New Orleans, only to (apparently) commit suicide when faced with writer's block and a contract deadline.

I never, ever want to be a factor in that response for any real-life writer.



I kind of just want to give Rawn a hug. The responses in that thread are literally sickening. 90% of the comments are catch-22ing her so that if even half her fans felt that way, she'll never get another book published again.


Even GRRMs "fans" never got that bad in public.

DreamWeaver
07-24-2013, 11:16 PM
Right? People think GRRM is bad, I had a historicalish romancish book where all of the main characters and several of the secondary characters not only die, but get killed. Awkward. :evilI still think the bloodbath at the end of almost any of Shakepeare's tragedies makes GRRM look like a piker. Hamlet, I'm looking at you...

And, more on topic: I'm still mourning the non-completion of Rosemary Edghill's Twelve Treasures dodecology, cancelled after three kick-ass parts due to publisher perceptions of underperforming sales. While I would love to pester her to finish via self-publishing, she's said she's moved on so I keep my mouth shut and my typing fingers away from the email keys.

jjdebenedictis
07-24-2013, 11:39 PM
Since we're mourning beloved series killed before their time, R.I.P. Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces books.

And to make it on-topic, if you read Mr. Connolly's blog post where he announced the series had been canceled, you have to wonder whether he'll ever write another book in that series, even given the option of self-publishing. First, because he's obviously heart-broken about what happened, and second--he can't make a living with that series.

Would anyone call him names for not writing anymore of those books, given the publisher pulled the plug? Because I can see an author with writer's block, a health crisis, or a financial crisis being just as agonized over their series stalling as a writer whose publisher declined to put out the next book.

I don't see why the author should get so much abuse for making a decision that their publisher might just as easily have made. Deciding not to write something--even though there is a proven market for it--is a valid choice.

JoBird
07-24-2013, 11:56 PM
I don't see why the author should get so much abuse for making a decision that their publisher might just as easily have made. Deciding not to write something--even though there is a proven market for it--is a valid choice.

People tend to be more forgiving of economic decisions because they understand entertainment needs an audience to be profitable. I'd say most folks intrinsically understand that. Equally, I'd say most folks understand tragedies like car accidents and tend to be forgiving.

Compare stopping a project because there's not enough of an audience to warrant a continuation (or because of a tragedy) with stopping a project because, you know, the creator is just tired of it.

It's not just about who pulls the plug on a project either. Consider Firefly. Fans of the show still post outrageously mean things about Fox because of the cancellation. And I'd argue that most of the fans posting those mean things *don't* believe the show was cancelled due to ratings. Many of them seem to believe some nefarious underlying reason was the cause of the show's demise.

You can argue all day long about what a creator legally owes an audience. It's pointless though. There's not a single angry fan trying to take Martin to court for writing slow. It's not about a legal obligation. To the fans, it's about, in my opinion, a sense of moral obligation. If someone fails to carry through with a series for any reason other than what the fans consider to be reasonable, then the fans are going to express their disappointment, often in rude, overly emotional ways.

Just like other fans may tell them to shut up in rude, overly emotional ways.

jjdebenedictis
07-25-2013, 12:13 AM
To the fans, it's about, in my opinion, a sense of moral obligation. If someone fails to carry through with a series for any reason other than what the fans consider to be reasonable, then the fans are going to express their disappointment, often in rude, overly emotional ways.Except GRRM is carrying through with the series, so the rude, overly-emotional fans are out of line.

I'm not sure you need to keep arguing that people are allowed to call each other out over bad behaviour, JoBird. We all know that. That's why this discussion is happening; people on two sides of an issue are calling out bad behaviour.

The question is at what point is the "bad" behaviour is actually just a reasonable assertion of one's right to self-determination or one's right to self-expression.

JoBird
07-25-2013, 12:18 AM
I'm not sure you need to keep arguing that people are allowed to call each other out over bad behaviour, JoBird.

I appreciate your advice regarding what I should argue. Thank you.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-25-2013, 12:26 AM
You can argue all day long about what a creator legally owes an audience. It's pointless though. There's not a single angry fan trying to take Martin to court for writing slow. It's not about a legal obligation. To the fans, it's about, in my opinion, a sense of moral obligation. If someone fails to carry through with a series for any reason other than what the fans consider to be reasonable, then the fans are going to express their disappointment, often in rude, overly emotional ways.

Just like other fans may tell them to shut up in rude, overly emotional ways.



Well, do the fans have the right to impose a moral obligation on the author? Because in almost every case of this I've seen, whether the author wanted to continue and was being prevented, or didn't want to continue for whatever reason, the authors have denied a moral obligation, whereas the fans have demanded they accept one.


And then, that issue aside, if the fans who are upset are justified in calling out or reproaching the author based on their opinion that a moral obligation exists, then why are the other fans not justified in disagreeing with them?

JoBird
07-25-2013, 12:39 AM
Well, do the fans have the right to impose a moral obligation on the author? Because in almost every case of this I've seen, whether the author wanted to continue and was being prevented, or didn't want to continue for whatever reason, the authors have denied a moral obligation, whereas the fans have demanded the accept one.


And the, that issue aside, if the fans who are upset are justified in calling out or reproaching the author based on their opinion that a moral obligation exists, then why are the other fans not justified in disagreeing with them?

Liosse, no, I don't think anyone can actually impose a moral obligation. I just think people can believe one exists. I absolutely believe it's up to the author to determine whether one exists or not for him or her personally.

And yes, fans on the other side of the fence have every right, in my opinion, to express themselves.

***

I recently got a message from someone suggesting that I was coming across as angry. I haven't noticed, but if someone's pointing it out it means I likely am coming across as angry. I apologize for that.

All I can say in my defense is that I recently stopped smoking cigarettes, very recently. It's entirely possible some of my cigarette gritting teeth craziness is slipping through into my posts. ETA: And my father's in the hospital with heart trouble. Which may be getting to me more than I've realized.

Filigree
07-25-2013, 12:41 AM
Connolly is one of the big reasons I stopped cold-turkey with unfounded fantasies about being a big-time author in SFF. He did everything Right: a solid series in a still-popular genre, a deft and enthusiastic agent, a book package that went to pre-empt if not auction, and a fair amount of publicity at release. And just when the overall plot was showing its teeth in a big 'Guess What?' grin - Del Rey cancelled the series because of slowing sales.

I'd already been leery of them for other authorial mistreatment, but they slid far down my list at that moment.

I've been terrified they'll do the same thing to Scott Lynch sometime, but I guess epic fantasy has a little more market leeway right now than urban fantasy.

bearilou
07-25-2013, 12:42 AM
This discussion brings to mind a question.

Are authors doing themselves a disservice by being so accessible to their fans?

I hate to keep beating on poor GRRM but...

I remember the backlash he got because on his livejournal he was also talking about other things besides writing. Like football (which is what I believe sparked the backlash, or brought it to its conflagratory head).

As authors, we're given conflicting signals. You need a blog, but don't bore the reader with personal information. Except, be personable, they like it when they see you're a regular person. Don't drone on about writing all the time, don't talk about hobbies other than writing....

Finally, they're told 'aw hon, just do what you feel best'.

Well, so when they talk about football or painting houses or crocheting or gardening or their grandchildren, then their posts and blogs are combed for proof PROOF I SAY that they aren't REALLY writing. That they're just fucking off and if they REALLY cared about their fans and their OBLIGATION, they'd be writing.

Or talking about that they're writing.

Or that if they're going to be writing on their blog, it had better be about them writing and writing what they promised they'd deliver!

Seems like an author just can't win.

Sure makes me wonder, sometimes, why it is that I want to do this to begin with. I mean, I want to write, I want to write a story. I want that story to entertain readers. I hope that when I write it, that's what it will do. I can hope that it will make me money.

But then all the other heaps of responsibility that get toppled on my head if I achieve even a hint of notoriety...suddenly, I'm no longer concentrating on my writing, I'm picking through the damn mine field of what it is that is expected of me (on all sides) and should I be worried about it? If I should, then what happens to my writing? I can hope that I'll stay prolific. I can hope I'll stay energized to write.

I'm not an automaton, though. I can't just turn a key and boof, insta!book. Even if I approach it as a job, I'm still subject to my life around me and it's daily dramas and travails and heaven forbid if something happen to take my energy from me.

If I were working in the work-a-day world, I might have vacation saved up. Or vacation time. Or sick leave. Or even be able to go on workman's comp (if it's a tragedy that befell me personally) or even unpaid leave time.

As a writer, being self-employed, I'm no longer given those luxuries.

That's a hell of a lot of pressure. And to compound that with a web presence just to appease fans and/or the publisher?

...huh.

eqb
07-25-2013, 12:48 AM
And just when the overall plot was showing its teeth in a big 'Guess What?' grin - Del Rey cancelled the series because of slowing sales.

It wasn't just "slowing sales," though. I believe he posted his sell-through numbers and they really were Not Good. (Which breaks my heart, because I too *love* that series.)

My series might get canceled, depending on how the third book does this year, but at least book #3 will give readers resolution for the main characters.

Filigree
07-25-2013, 12:54 AM
As both a reader and a writer, I have to reluctantly agree with you, Bearilou.

I've been reading SFF since the mid-seventies, and I was a stupid giddy fangirl in my teens. Thankfully that was long before the internet, when all I had access to were 'zines and conventions, and not many of those. I didn't even know about a major SF con in my area until I moved away after college.

Point is, I would have made a pest of myself. I would have shared too much, invested too much of my self-worth in another author's world, mistaken limelight for real accomplishment. I would have gotten hurt, and hurt other people.

I never lost my sense of wonder, but I did reach an understanding of the other side of fame. I learned quickly to separate authors from their work. A writer presented to me as a career building mentor came across as a petty dictator with a private army of sycophants. One person, whose prose I adore, seemed a mousy doormat in public. Another, whose books I loathe, turned out to be the funniest, most enchanting person in a con suite.

That's why I cringe when I see marketing people pushing authors into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog hops, other social media, and 24-hour reader accessibility. When they advocate no less than 2 hours a day of promotional efforts. Sure, it worked for Hugh Howey. But I haven't read him yet, possibly because of that relentless push.

Even though I might enjoy knowing more about an author, what really matters is their book.

ETA: I hear you, Eqb. I still point to that time period as a great bad example of authors and agents frantically flooding a genre. Connolly lost out - and there are other concurrently-signed urban fantasy authors still happily churning out derivative, publisher-supported crap.

Parametric
07-25-2013, 12:55 AM
Authors have the same obligation to their readers to finish a series that readers have to keep buying the books in a timely fashion, ie. none. I don't see why authors have to uphold the Sacred Law of the Series if readers can give up or wander off or wait until the series is complete before buying.

Filigree
07-25-2013, 01:03 AM
Like I did with 'Wheel of Time', which I'm still waiting on? And I'm not touching ASoIAF until the whole bloody thing is done. And probably then, I'll read both through a library.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-25-2013, 01:19 AM
This discussion brings to mind a question.

Are authors doing themselves a disservice by being so accessible to their fans?

I hate to keep beating on poor GRRM but...

I remember the backlash he got because on his livejournal he was also talking about other things besides writing. Like football (which is what I believe sparked the backlash, or brought it to its conflagratory head).

As authors, we're given conflicting signals. You need a blog, but don't bore the reader with personal information. Except, be personable, they like it when they see you're a regular person. Don't drone on about writing all the time, don't talk about hobbies other than writing....

Finally, they're told 'aw hon, just do what you feel best'.

Well, so when they talk about football or painting houses or crocheting or gardening or their grandchildren, then their posts and blogs are combed for proof PROOF I SAY that they aren't REALLY writing. That they're just fucking off and if they REALLY cared about their fans and their OBLIGATION, they'd be writing.

Or talking about that they're writing.

Or that if they're going to be writing on their blog, it had better be about them writing and writing what they promised they'd deliver!

Seems like an author just can't win.

Sure makes me wonder, sometimes, why it is that I want to do this to begin with. I mean, I want to write, I want to write a story. I want that story to entertain readers. I hope that when I write it, that's what it will do. I can hope that it will make me money.

But then all the other heaps of responsibility that get toppled on my head if I achieve even a hint of notoriety...suddenly, I'm no longer concentrating on my writing, I'm picking through the damn mine field of what it is that is expected of me (on all sides) and should I be worried about it? If I should, then what happens to my writing? I can hope that I'll stay prolific. I can hope I'll stay energized to write.

I'm not an automaton, though. I can't just turn a key and boof, insta!book. Even if I approach it as a job, I'm still subject to my life around me and it's daily dramas and travails and heaven forbid if something happen to take my energy from me.

If I were working in the work-a-day world, I might have vacation saved up. Or vacation time. Or sick leave. Or even be able to go on workman's comp (if it's a tragedy that befell me personally) or even unpaid leave time.

As a writer, being self-employed, I'm no longer given those luxuries.

That's a hell of a lot of pressure. And to compound that with a web presence just to appease fans and/or the publisher?

...huh.

It's hard to disagree with such an adorable little pig, especially when they're right.



I avoided the "public figure" issue up-thread, but since it seems we've mostly finished with moral obligations:

Writers are only public figures because we push them to be. A politician is a public figure by virtue of their job. They are their own brand. But an author is not a brand by default.

And I'd argue they shouldn't have to be. (Now, if by their own decision they so choose, that's fine.)

slhuang
07-25-2013, 01:24 AM
I'm curious. Do people think it would be a rude thing for an author to begin a series intending never to finish it? I can't think of many reasons an author would do this, other than trolling, which most authors wouldn't without a good reason, so this question is clearly very hypothetical (and might be considered too hypothetical to render good discussion). But I ask it because I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment that the author has not promised the readers the delivery of anything else. For instance, I'd be very reluctant to pick up the first book in a series if I didn't think the author was going to try, in good faith, to finish the series at some point in the future.

When a writer writes a Book 1, I assume that (barring complications) it will eventually be followed by a Book 2. I don't think that's an outrageous assumption to make. In fact, as the series continues, the promise of having questions answered and the plot resolved may have been part of the appeal in me continuing with the series in the first place. Though I don't think the author owes me the next book, I do think if an author just abandons a series for no external reason (and I can't actually think of an example of this happening, ever; I'm just talking philosophically), it's kind of a dick move.

So the sentiment that an author halfway through a popular series has no obligation to readers to continue is . . . befuddling to me. Maybe "obligation" is too strong a word, but, say, if J.K. Rowling had decided after Book Six that she was just sick of writing Harry Potter and had said she was never going to finish, wouldn't people frown at that decision? Personally, I know it's never a decision I, as a writer, could make (and again, I'm not talking about RL interferences or economic publishing realities; I'm talking about popular series and all else in the writer's life being equal).

Here's another "for instance:" I think Robert Jordan did a very good thing for his readers in arranging things so that his series would still be finished in the event of his death. Did he have an obligation to make sure the series got finished? No, but I thought it was a good thing that he did it.

(Just to be clear, I'm not talking about GRRM at all in this post, as he's clearly still writing ASOIAF and very invested in it! I'm responding to the sentiments of other posters that read (to me) as if once a reader has read the book that's been paid for it's ridiculous of the reader to expect more, even if the book is part of a series with a plot that has not concluded. And I don't think it's so terribly ridiculous to assume that the author will try to conclude it, is all.)

Just thinking out loud. I don't have strong feelings on this; I feel like I can see both sides. (I do have strong feelings about the rudeness sometimes expressed about this subject, of course . . . some of GRRM's fans were assholes to him, full stop.)

ETA: I think maybe the best words to articulate my feelings on the subject aren't so much "obligation" or "moral/implied/personal contract" on the part of the author, but more of . . . consideration. Politeness. Promising a series and then not following through I might consider being "inconsiderate" or "impolite" to one's readers, not so much breaching a contract or reneging on something owed.

LOTLOF
07-25-2013, 01:25 AM
When you come down to its core it is a business relationship. Unless the author is posting on a blog or some other medium where his words are available for free. The writer is a business owner providing a good or service (the story) and the readers are his customers.

What does the business owner owe the customer? That the product meet certain standards of quality and will provide any traits that have been advertised for said product.

The customer at no point has any right to decide what the next product should look like or how it should compare to what they have already purchased. The fact you have just bought a brand new sports car does not mean you get to decide what the next model will look like, what its price will be, or when it will be available.

It's the business owner and NOT the customer who decides what they will sell or when and how it will be produced.

What the customer DOES decide is what is a success and what is not.

In the real world if something is a huge money maker the normal response is to make more of it as quickly as possible. That does not mean the customer has the right to decide what will be made.

The Song of Ice and Fire belongs to George R R Martin, he is the creator and owner. He has every right to do with it as he pleases, except in a case where he is bound by contract. If he were to retire tomorrow and opt to leave the story incomplete that would be his right. (Depending on the terms he signed with HBO of course.)

Fans need to understand that paying their money to buy his books gives them ownership only of those individual copies. No matter how many millions of dollars they pour in and no matter their passion, the story itself belongs to the author, not them.

DeleyanLee
07-25-2013, 01:26 AM
This discussion brings to mind a question.

Are authors doing themselves a disservice by being so accessible to their fans?

Post snipped--but +1

I've wondered this for years.

Liosse de Velishaf
07-25-2013, 01:33 AM
I'm curious. Do people think it would be a rude thing for an author to begin a series intending never to finish it? I can't think of many reasons an author would do this, other than trolling, which most authors wouldn't without a good reason, so this question is clearly very hypothetical (and might be considered too hypothetical to render good discussion). But I ask it because I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment that the author has not promised the readers the delivery of anything else. For instance, I'd be very reluctant to pick up the first book in a series if I didn't think the author was going to try, in good faith, to finish the series at some point in the future.

When a writer writes a Book 1, I assume that (barring complications) it will eventually be followed by a Book 2. I don't think that's an outrageous assumption to make. In fact, as the series continues, the promise of having questions answered and the plot resolved may have been part of the appeal in me continuing with the series in the first place. Though I don't think the author owes me the next book, I do think if an author just abandons a series for no external reason (and I can't actually think of an example of this happening, ever; I'm just talking philosophically), it's kind of a dick move.

So the sentiment that an author halfway through a popular series has no obligation to readers to continue is . . . befuddling to me. Maybe "obligation" is too strong a word, but, say, if J.K. Rowling had decided after Book Six that she was just sick of writing Harry Potter and had said she was never going to finish, wouldn't people frown at that decision? Personally, I know it's never a decision I, as a writer, could make (and again, I'm not talking about RL interferences or economic publishing realities; I'm talking about popular series and all else in the writer's life being equal).

Here's another "for instance:" I think Robert Jordan did a very good thing for his readers in arranging things so that his series would still be finished in the event of his death. Did he have an obligation to make sure the series got finished? No, but I thought it was a good thing that he did it.

(Just to be clear, I'm not talking about GRRM at all in this post, as he's clearly still writing ASOIAF and very invested in it! I'm responding to the sentiments of other posters that read (to me) as if once a reader has read the book that's been paid for it's ridiculous of the reader to expect more, even if the book is part of a series with a plot that has not concluded. And I don't think it's so terribly ridiculous to assume that the author will try to conclude it, is all.)

Just thinking out loud. I don't have strong feelings on this; I feel like I can see both sides. (I do have strong feelings about the rudeness sometimes expressed about this subject, of course . . . some of GRRM's fans were assholes to him, full stop.)



If an author wrote the first book in a series knowing they were never going to write a second book, and keeping that knowledge a secret, I would consider them a bit of an ass.

But deciding, partway through a series that you wish to put it on hiatus or not not complete it in the near future, assuming you tell your readers that (reason not required) is not the same thing.

DeleyanLee
07-25-2013, 01:34 AM
I'm curious. Do people think it would be a rude thing for an author to begin a series intending never to finish it?

Here's the flip side--someone publishes a first book and the author never intended for it to be a series. It's the only book he has to tell in this world, the story is complete and there's nothing more to write. But readers buy it, read it, enjoy it and demand more books in the world. The publisher would love more books, will cajole and black mail (we'll give you $5K for any other book, but $40K for another of THIS book). But what if the author doesn't have one in him to write?

One of the challenges that I see in today's publishing world is this demand for series. On sites like this, we tell each other to "Write the first in a series like a standalone, just in case"--but with such a push for series (serieses? serii? ;)) , I don't think that's really a big problem if the author sells the book in the first place.

Is there some promise he's made the readers that there will be more, just because the book was published in this market?

Liosse de Velishaf
07-25-2013, 01:36 AM
Here's the flip side--someone publishes a first book and the author never intended for it to be a series. It's the only book he has to tell in this world, the story is complete and there's nothing more to write. But readers buy it, read it, enjoy it and demand more books in the world. The publisher would love more books, will cajole and black mail (we'll give you $5K for any other book, but $40K for another of THIS book). But what if the author doesn't have one in him to write?

One of the challenges that I see in today's publishing world is this demand for series. On sites like this, we tell each other to "Write the first in a series like a standalone, just in case"--but with such a push for series (serieses? serii? ;)) , I don't think that's really a big problem if the author sells the book in the first place.

Is there some promise he's made the readers that there will be more, just because the book was published in this market?


I really dislike this pressure for people to be series writers. As much as I enjoy continuing in a world I love, a good standalone novel is just wonderful, and I wish there were more of them.

bearilou
07-25-2013, 01:37 AM
Though I don't think the author owes me the next book, I do think if an author just abandons a series for no external reason (and I can't actually think of an example of this happening, ever; I'm just talking philosophically), it's kind of a dick move.

And I guess that's the thing.

Sure, if the author started a book series, I think it's reasonable to assume it will be finished. I think it's reasonable to expect that it will be finished. I think it's reasonable to be encouraging to the writer that 'hey, I've been reading this series, love it, and hope to see more of it soon'.

I don't think it's reasonable to demand it. I don't think it's reasonable to believe I'm owed it just because I'm a fan. And I don't think it's reasonable that the reader is entitled to be a rude dick about it if the author is taking longer than they originally planned or promised. They will, of course, that's the way the internet turns. But I'm sorry, I don't think a disappointed fan should have any expectations except to trust the writer will follow through and that barring the economic/physical reasons it wouldn't and not continue to put undue pressure on the author by being a raging asshole to him/her over it.


Here's the flip side--someone publishes a first book and the author never intended for it to be a series. It's the only book he has to tell in this world, the story is complete and there's nothing more to write. But readers buy it, read it, enjoy it and demand more books in the world. The publisher would love more books, will cajole and black mail (we'll give you $5K for any other book, but $40K for another of THIS book). But what if the author doesn't have one in him to write?

One of the challenges that I see in today's publishing world is this demand for series. On sites like this, we tell each other to "Write the first in a series like a standalone, just in case"--but with such a push for series (serieses? serii? ;)) , I don't think that's really a big problem if the author sells the book in the first place.

Is there some promise he's made the readers that there will be more, just because the book was published in this market?

I won't lie, this is what worries me with one WIP I have going. If there are more stories for the characters and in the world, at this time, I'm not seeing it or planning on it. The implicit pressure (which I realize is borrowing trouble at this point, I mean, it's not even finished or sold yet so...cart and horse here) is that I may have to dig around to find a way to expand it?

Is this where someone else is paying for the organ grinder so I can start to dance? My creativity shrivels at the thought that there will be this pressure on me to do something that I'm not ready for and may not be ready for with a particular book.

ULTRAGOTHA
07-25-2013, 02:11 AM
I really dislike this pressure for people to be series writers. As much as I enjoy continuing in a world I love, a good standalone novel is just wonderful, and I wish there were more of them.

This is one of the reasons I like Lois McMaster Bujold. You can read the Vorkosigan books in any order, really. They're all meant to be hmm, how to put this. Stand alone books in conversation with all the other books in the series. With the possible exception of Komarr and A Civil Campaign, each book is self-contained and does not require any of the other books to be read to enjoy it. She even writes them out of internal chronological order. Andre Norton did this, too.

If you really like singletons, try Ursula LeGuin, Patricia McKillip, Neil Gaiman, and Diana Wynne Jones. They each of them have some books that are part of a series but most of their books can be read independently of any other book. Also Neal Stephenson, I think. At least Anathem is a stand alone.

Amadan
07-25-2013, 03:12 AM
I'm curious. Do people think it would be a rude thing for an author to begin a series intending never to finish it? I can't think of many reasons an author would do this, other than trolling, which most authors wouldn't without a good reason, so this question is clearly very hypothetical (and might be considered too hypothetical to render good discussion). But I ask it because I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment that the author has not promised the readers the delivery of anything else. For instance, I'd be very reluctant to pick up the first book in a series if I didn't think the author was going to try, in good faith, to finish the series at some point in the future.


As you say, it's hard to imagine an author beginning a series with no intention of finishing it. But others have brought up some situations in which an author might start a series and then be unwilling/unable to continue it.

I think a good faith effort is implied when an author starts a series, but it doesn't amount to anything you could call a promise. I mean, yes, an author who deliberately trolled fans would be a pretty big asshole. And fans could be justifiably pissed off at an author who got bored and quit halfway through, and they'd be justified in not buying any more of that author's book. Just like GRRM fans are justified in not buying any more of his books if they're pissed off that he's not writing fast enough to suit them. But I think that's about as far as you can say the obligation goes. As a fan, are you entitled to be disappointed, frustrated, even upset? Yes. You're just not entitled to demand a response from the author.

Maybe extending the dating analogy used up-thread, if someone stands you up for a date, and gives you no explanation, or an unsatisfactory one, you're entitled to be unhappy and to decide that person is someone you don't want to see any more. You're not entitled to demand an explanation, or another date.

Erin Latimer
07-25-2013, 09:24 AM
It's easy to say "Author's are entitled to say, 'hey! I'm not your bitch!"

and readers are entitled to say, "Hey! Where's the next book!"

But I know, just from reading the facebook pages of popular authors, that the constant demands of "stop blogging about your son's fourth birthday and start writing that 3rd book for me!" would drive me nuts.

Reader entitlement exists, no doubt about it. I loved the Sookie Stackhouse books, and even if I wasn't happy with the ending (I was actually) I would never send her death threats, or show up on her front porch and demand WHY, or call and threaten to kill myself....

I write on a reading/writing website, and I know when fans are demanding the next book in a not-so-polite-way, it tends to have the opposite effect. I get intimidated and I don't want to write it anymore...

Phaeal
07-25-2013, 05:42 PM
This discussion brings to mind a question.

Are authors doing themselves a disservice by being so accessible to their fans?



Me, I prefer writers to be mysterious figures flitting through the shadows, in shades and trenchcoats, fedoras pulled low over their muse-fevered brows.

Sorry, folks. I want to read your books, not your blogs. But I was born way before the Age of TMI, so I realize I may be in the minority on this question.

What's undeniable is that an author who engages in public bad behavior now has to face a much wider audience on the cold morning after.

Filigree
07-25-2013, 07:23 PM
I try not to get intimidated by reader pressure, but I've not felt it yet from a professional standpoint. I do have a wallowing epic of a fan fic that I dropped 12 years ago, and fans who still pop up and ask if I'm ever finishing it. No one has insulted or threatened me over it.

As a reader, I side with Phaeal. I'm more interested in the story than the person presenting it.

swvaughn
07-25-2013, 07:52 PM
After six pages of passionate debate... I'm now wondering what LOG, the original poster of this thread who was only sharing a funny video, thinks about the conversational explosion that has ensued. :D

Liosse de Velishaf
07-25-2013, 07:55 PM
I've talked to writers on Twitter and their blogs, but it's not usually from a reader perspective. It's usually from a writer perspective. And many writer blogs I like, I don't read their books. Like I follow a romance writer blog or two, because the blog itself is funny or interesting. I have no intention of ever reading their book.


I don't consider myself a "fan" of very many authors. If they're interesting on their own, cool. If all I know is they wrote a book I liked, whatever.

bearilou
07-25-2013, 08:27 PM
I'm definitely a fan who loves to read all about my favorite authors. Yeah, there have been some that ended up being a disappointment to me, not living up to my expectations. That's my fault for my (possibly unrealistic) expectations, and not theirs for being who they are.

I live and let live.

But I enjoy the blog posts where they show off their latest kitchen creations and recipes, the garden they just planted, their opinions on the more neutral topics of sports, or movies, or books, or tv shows or video games. (I do draw the line at politics and religion because that's where my biggest disappointment usually ends up occurring).

Hobbies, interests, day-to-day living are fascinating to me so I embrace them.

But I've never felt any sense of anything but awe at how they have all these diverse interests and still write the wonderful works I enjoy from them. Nor do I take it upon myself to dictate the speed with which they write or the schedule they keep.

If there is anything I've learned in all my *mumblemumble* years on this earth is that making assumptions is dangerous. I don't know what they're doing when they're not 'on'. I don't know what they're doing at 3 am or midnight or 5 pm in the evening. I don't know what's on their mind, what is occupying their thoughts or their creative energy. A blog post, a series of blog posts doesn't mean that the thing they're focusing on is all that is commanding their attention and who the hell am I to even assume that I would begin to know?

DeleyanLee
07-25-2013, 08:35 PM
I was talking to a friend about this thread at lunch today. We've both heard about the whole "George isn't your bitch" thing and have discussions about it at various times. She said something that I thought was interesting.

If you want a George RR Martin book, then you have to wait for the George RR Martin process to create it. Whatever that process is, that's what you're really paying for. Sure, someone who can write a book in 3 months can write faster, but that writer isn't George RR Martin. They can't write his books. It's part of why writing is an art as well as a craft.

So if the George RR Martin process is write 1000 words in a day then spend four days golfing or staring at his navel or whatever, then that's the process that created what people love. With all the complicated twists and turns in characters, plots and the world itself, after all these words, I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of Martin's writing time isn't just trying to pull things together in his head before he makes a decision and sets something into words. It's gotta be a daunting task, y'know?

Most readers don't understand the whole process thing creative minds have to go through to produce the things they love. To me, the setting down of words is really the least hard part of the creative process--doing all the mental work firsthand takes times and is usually more exhausting than the typing part. Which is what my friend reminded me about today.

Phaeal
07-25-2013, 09:18 PM
Could be. My process is sitting down everyday and typing until the gibberish starts to make sense.

Some days are longer than others. ;)

Liosse de Velishaf
07-25-2013, 09:33 PM
I was talking to a friend about this thread at lunch today. We've both heard about the whole "George isn't your bitch" thing and have discussions about it at various times. She said something that I thought was interesting.

If you want a George RR Martin book, then you have to wait for the George RR Martin process to create it. Whatever that process is, that's what you're really paying for. Sure, someone who can write a book in 3 months can write faster, but that writer isn't George RR Martin. They can't write his books. It's part of why writing is an art as well as a craft.

So if the George RR Martin process is write 1000 words in a day then spend four days golfing or staring at his navel or whatever, then that's the process that created what people love. With all the complicated twists and turns in characters, plots and the world itself, after all these words, I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of Martin's writing time isn't just trying to pull things together in his head before he makes a decision and sets something into words. It's gotta be a daunting task, y'know?

Most readers don't understand the whole process thing creative minds have to go through to produce the things they love. To me, the setting down of words is really the least hard part of the creative process--doing all the mental work firsthand takes times and is usually more exhausting than the typing part. Which is what my friend reminded me about today.



Yeah, that's one of the arguments I always have with myself.


Mostly when I'm thinking about how an author wrote their first published novel over six years, or whatever, and then their publisher decides they need a new one the next year and is confused when the results are not the same. :rant:

Grrarrgh
07-25-2013, 11:28 PM
I have read the GRRM books. I have for years. And while there have always been grumblings about the length of time between books, as far as I could tell it really exploded between books 4 and 5. I think the reason is the author's note at the end of book 4.

For those of you who don't read the series, it's pretty well known that when GRRM was writing book 4, it became so massive he realized he was going to have to split it. Instead of just chopping it in half and moving on, he decided to split it by geography. So several characters left cliffhanging at the end of book 3 in 2000 weren't seen again until book 5 in 2011.

In the author's note at the end of book 4, George explains this and says "...all the rest of the characters you love or love to hate will be along next year (I devoutly hope)...." He also indicated a few times that it was almost all written at that point, he just had to wrap it up and do some editing. (I'm looking for some backup for that, but it may have to wait as I'm at work). Then it took 6 years to come out.

I'm not suggesting GRRM is my bitch or your bitch or anyone else's bitch. But I'm also not saying the fan base is completely wrong here. Does GRRM have an obligation to do nothing but sit in his chair an peck away at his keyboard or notebook 24/7? Of course not. But I certainly get why some of the fans were foaming at the mouth with eagerness (I'm being kind) by the time it finally came out.

I don't agree with the fans who freak out every time he shows his face in public and spends any time at all doing something other than writing. But maybe, maybe, he could do a slightly better job of managing expectations?? I have a feeling he's figured it out by now and we won't see any release dates until they're absolute, so maybe the GRRM-specific fervor will die down. Then fans can move on to being pissed off at someone else.

AlwaysJuly
07-26-2013, 05:38 AM
George R.R. Martin is indeed not my bitch, and he can follow his own merry process to his heart's content. I'm not apt to read any more of his books, though. Neither is my husband, who introduced me to them. Enough time has passed that so has my sense of investment in that world.

At least the people fussing about the timeliness of his work still care. I would think that's a positive thing for a writer.

bearilou
07-26-2013, 06:24 AM
At least the people fussing about the timeliness of his work still care. I would think that's a positive thing for a writer.

So abusive emails dogging him out should be considered a positive thing.

Okay.


Some of other reasons for the delay have nothing to do with the book itself. They're extra-literary, arising from other things in my life. I could sketch out some of them here, sure, but what good would it do? Those who are inclined to understand would send me messages of sympathy and support. Those are not so inclined would dismiss them as "excuses," or even "feeble excuses." A few will even go so far as to accuse me of lying.

That's the part that really bothers me. For the record, I have never lied about anything having to do with A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or the series as a whole. I have been wrong, yes. I have been wrong lots of time, especially when I've tried to predict how long it will take me to complete the book, or when it will be published. Being wrong is not the same as lying. Since the very beginning of this series, I have been guilty of being over-optimistic about how long it would take me to finish the next book, the next chapter, or the series as a whole. I cannot deny that. I have always been bad with deadlines... one reason why I did my best to avoid them for the first fifteen years of my career. That's an option I no longer have, however. Or at least will not have until A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is complete.

That's the main reason why I no longer want to give any completion dates. I am sick and tired of people jumping down my throat when I miss them.

This latest flood of emails has worn down my resolve, however. So in hopes of quieting it, once more I will step into the breach --

the entire post here (http://grrm.livejournal.com/74995.html)

Something that surprises me is that the majority of us here are writers. We know what it's like to batter our creativity against the keyboards every day. We have fought through our own (perhaps small) attempts at staying on track, on our own self-imposed deadlines. We've had to deal with life cropping up, or writing issues coming out of nowhere.

I'd have thought that writers would have sympathy for him or anyone in his position. We may not like it as fans, but if we're writing or engaging in our own creative endeavors, are we 'just fans'? :/

Filigree
07-26-2013, 06:45 AM
Until readers become writers, or gain similar experience, this kind of fan stalking/entitlement will keep happening.

Phaeal
07-26-2013, 05:23 PM
Another possible factor is that GRRM probably hasn't felt the whip of financial necessity for some time. (At least, I hope he hasn't, especially since the success of the TV series and the associated surge in book sales.)

I think it was Studs Terkel who said that his best motivation to write was his accountant calling up to say the till was getting empty.

:D

Amadan
07-26-2013, 06:36 PM
Until readers become writers, or gain similar experience, this kind of fan stalking/entitlement will keep happening.

I think you're optimistic in assuming that people will generalize from their own experience to someone else. Most don't.


Another possible factor is that GRRM probably hasn't felt the whip of financial necessity for some time. (At least, I hope he hasn't, especially since the success of the TV series and the associated surge in book sales.)

I think it was Studs Terkel who said that his best motivation to write was his accountant calling up to say the till was getting empty.

:D


Probably depends a lot on the writer. Stephen King never has to write another book again, but I don't think his pace has ever slowed.

Christabelle
07-26-2013, 07:50 PM
Probably depends a lot on the writer. Stephen King never has to write another book again, but I don't think his pace has ever slowed.

There was a massive wait between books in the Dark Tower series. He was still producing work, but there were years of waiting between books, especially Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. I didn't even read the series until 2000, and I was so frustrated with the waiting.

Never once did I harass Mr. King, though. :) I know it's a process.

LOTLOF
07-26-2013, 10:52 PM
If your mechanic can't take a look at your engine when it suits you, you can find another mechanic. If you can't make an appointment with your doctor you can find another doctor (depending on your insurance of course). If you don't like the service at a restaurant you can find a different one.

If you don't like waiting for the next book in the ASOIAF series you can read something else. What you can't do is have anyone else write you the next volume of the series.

Fans need to acknowledge that whatever their wants only one person can produce this specific product. And since he is not under any sort of financial pressure he is free to produce it in his own way and at his own pace.

Kitty27
07-28-2013, 02:29 AM
Bullshit. This isn't even remotely true. People do just this sort of thing all the time. The internet is riddled with it. Furthermore, you're comparing a project being shut down by a studio/producer/management to a creator just not finishing work. They're two different things.

Really?

5 seconds?

REALLY?

5 seconds?

REALLY?

I have no choice but to conclude that you sir, are a halfwit.

I am concluding that you aren't familiar with AW's rules or choosing to ignore them.

Insults and disses won't be tolerated in this forum. If you can't debate and post with fellow writers in a civil manner,I suggest you keep it moving.

To the rest of y'all,I apologize for being so late to respond to this post. Please forgive me.

ULTRAGOTHA
07-28-2013, 04:48 AM
That's OK Kitty27, MacAllister smacked hir wrist.

TEAM work!

RedWombat
07-28-2013, 10:10 AM
I try not to get intimidated by reader pressure, but I've not felt it yet from a professional standpoint. I do have a wallowing epic of a fan fic that I dropped 12 years ago, and fans who still pop up and ask if I'm ever finishing it. No one has insulted or threatened me over it.

I have some unfinished fan fic long dead under a pseudonym, and it gathers the nicest "Oh, I know it's been ages and this is dead but I'd love to see the rest!" notes. And they are all terribly polite. And a few even say "I'm sorry you're not writing fan fic, but I hope it's because you've got a wildly successful career as an author keeping you busy!"

Honestly, they're awesome about it. Maybe it's because there's no money involved? And when I've posted stuff on my blog that then went unfinished, people write to say "I love this, I hope you finish it!" and remember stuff from years and years ago and still care...but I don't get told that I have an obligation of any sort.

I think the money must be a factor.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
09-06-2013, 03:01 AM
25 or so years later, people are still bitching at Meredith Ann Pierce for not doing anything else in her 'Darkangel' trilogy, even though it seemed set for a continuation.

Sorry, late return to the thread (very!), but--

Based on what, exactly, are people kvetching for Pierce to continue Darkangel?! I mean, yes, if you squint right, you could see a basis for a new story based on Irrylath's sorta dopey declaration that he'll rescue Ariel the way she rescued him--and how there's this whole servitude theme running through the trilogy, starting with Ariel's literal status as slave as well as Irrylath's own period of ensorcelled thrall, and the way other relationships get compared to slavehood (the Thief Queen's accusation, "Oh no, she kept that for herself, didn't she?") until you wind up wondering at the end, is Aeriel's ultimate destiny duty, or is it yet another form of unjust servitude? but... no, there the story ENDS. The thematic exploration sets up an ambiguous, bitter-sweet ending, not the intro to a new trilogy! The whole point is the moral gray tones, not "oh no, a new princess-in-castle to rescue!"

(Also, where the crap are we going to get a forth stanza to the oft-repeated and much-mangled Rime of Prophecy? Wait, don't answer that. Fan fiction. Of course.)

I'm sorry to go on, but this has boggled me.

Meanwhile, isn't Pierce working on a brand new non-YA fantasy? WANT. This is one of those situations where I'm such a fangirlsquee, any dribbledrabble of new writing from one of my favorite authors would be fantastic. No matter what world she writes it in.



Something that surprises me is that the majority of us here are writers. We know what it's like to batter our creativity against the keyboards every day. We have fought through our own (perhaps small) attempts at staying on track, on our own self-imposed deadlines. We've had to deal with life cropping up, or writing issues coming out of nowhere.

I'd have thought that writers would have sympathy for him or anyone in his position. We may not like it as fans, but if we're writing or engaging in our own creative endeavors, are we 'just fans'? :/

The most angry--well, say "impassioned"--argument I heard in person that McKinley simply shouldn't have published Pegasus in the first place without having the sequel on tap and ready to punt out the hopper came from a fellow Colorado-based author, during a writerly event.

To her credit, I don't think she actually tried to communicate this point of view to McKinley herself. Still -- how would she feel having fans sounding off about her stuff the way she sounds off about McKinley? I just don't get it.

I think Amadan is right. Empathy seems like the natural remedy for things like this, but we're optimistic in others applying empathy to their perception of those they complain about. To flip it around, I guess I understand the impulse to be so wrapped up in one's own complaint that one can't see the situation from the complained-about's point of view.