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Birol
04-12-2007, 06:01 PM
Writer and illustrator, and apparently fans, have creative differences (http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2007-04-11T124851Z_01_L11460414_RTRUKOC_0_US-GERMANY-IMP.xml&src=nl_usoddlyenough) over the direction a character is to take.

swvaughn
04-12-2007, 06:07 PM
Oooh, that is tough. Who has the right to decide whether a character gets to evolve and change, and how much - when it's a long-running established thing like this?

Reminds me of a certain writer of vampire fiction who insulted millions (though some of them apparently didn't realize they were being insulted) by insisting that her character spoke to her and told her to ruin him the way she did.

I still mourn the loss of what one particular vampire could have been. Indeed, I weep. Much like he who was forced to weep every other freaking page, when he used to be so strong, so wonderfully rotten and arrogant and brat-like.

Another question your post brings to mind, Birol: should authors give weight to what their readers want to see from their characters if it goes against their "vision"?

maestrowork
04-12-2007, 06:09 PM
Usually when there are creative differences (they use that terms very liberally in the movie business), one or more of the parties involved would quit and go somewhere else. Usually such differences can't really be resolved. Now if all parties have financial and personal stakes in the project, it's really tough -- and sometimes the project just dies.

Birol
04-12-2007, 07:02 PM
Another question your post brings to mind, Birol: should authors give weight to what their readers want to see from their characters if it goes against their "vision"?

I know. Fans have their own ideas of how things should go. They can feel very passionately about the characters. Sometimes more passionately than the creator. But do they really know what is best for the character and the universe as a whole or are they too caught up in the moment? Should creators of fiction really give in to the whims of their fans, even if it keeps the fans happy?


Usually when there are creative differences (they use that terms very liberally in the movie business), one or more of the parties involved would quit and go somewhere else. Usually such differences can't really be resolved. Now if all parties have financial and personal stakes in the project, it's really tough -- and sometimes the project just dies.

With something as wide-spread and apparently as well-loved as this, it doesn't seem likely that the project will just die.

ChaosTitan
04-13-2007, 02:47 AM
Should creators of fiction really give in to the whims of their fans, even if it keeps the fans happy?


I don't believe that creators of fiction should give in to the demands or desires of their fans, but I do believe that if fans feel strongly about a particular thing, a compromise could be reached between fan and author.

I hope this is a good enough example to prove my point, but look at the Batman comics during the mid-1980's. After Dick Grayson (aka the original Robin) left the Batcave, took off his bright green shorts and became Nightwing, the writers of the Batman books brought in a new Robin. Jason Todd.

Fans hated him. I'm not sure why, but they did. And those hating fans were very vocal about their hatred, which left the writers with a dilemna. Keep a character, or toss him. So they set Jason up to be killed by the Joker, but (in a stroke of genius, if you ask me) let fans dial 1-900 numbers in order to vote if he lived or died. Eventually, he died. The book writers listened to their fans and a compromised was reached.

Granted, Jason Todd was not a long-loved character know in many countries, as is the linked example. But what if the writers over at DC decided it was time for Dick Grayson to settle down, marry, have a family, grow a beer gut, and give up crime fighting for good? I think some heads would explode out in fandom-land.

Authors of beloved iconic characters/books should keep their fans in mind when considering huge upheavels to the status quo, but are not bound to make any decision according to the whims of those same fans. Give and take.

FredCharles
04-13-2007, 03:06 AM
Writer and illustrator, and apparently fans, have creative differences (http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2007-04-11T124851Z_01_L11460414_RTRUKOC_0_US-GERMANY-IMP.xml&src=nl_usoddlyenough) over the direction a character is to take.

Looks like a great way to generate publicity, lol.

Julian Black
04-13-2007, 12:42 PM
Reminds me of a certain writer of vampire fiction who insulted millions...by insisting that her character spoke to her and told her to ruin him the way she did.Ah, yes. Anne Rice isn't the only one who's done that sort of thing--Laurell K. Hamilton posted a blog entry accusing the people who dislike her recent work of being too dull, prudish, and mundane to understand her "vision."


[...] should authors give weight to what their readers want to see from their characters if it goes against their "vision"?

I've seen fans act as if it were their right to dictate what happens to certain characters and plotlines, and when their expectations aren't met the whining begins. They'll accuse the creator of ruining the source material, betraying their own vision, sending the wrong message, etc. They'll claim they understand the characters and themes better than the creators do, and could do a better job of writing it. (If anyone wants to see a perfect example of this in action, just keep an eye on Harry Potter fansites after July 21st. Or check out Fandom Wank (http://www.journalfen.net/community/fandom_wank/)). These people can--and should--be ignored.

But if hundreds or thousands of your longtime readers start telling you they no longer recognize a character, or don't understand why he's suddenly changed, they're pointing out a very real problem with your writing. Same thing if they keep pointing out continuity errors, or the ways in which you've violated the laws of your fictional universe without explanation. No amount of blaming them for not getting your "vision" is going to excuse that. If so many of your faithful readers don't get your vision, it's probably not because they're too dumb and shallow to get it; more than likely, you've failed to communicate it.

Josh1971
04-13-2007, 03:26 PM
Well, I've had creative differences with J.K. Rowling for a while now. What used to be fun and adventurous is now a labored, depressing, overly dramatic mess in which we just get to learn from her that more characters we like are headed to the wizarding world's version of boot hill.

I just can't figure out for the life of me why she feels the need to whack lovable, or well-liked characters, in every book. I know, I know, they're her books and characters, but right about the 4th book, she seemed to become mighty bitter as a person, and it's shown in the tone of the books.

I think readers opinions and desires sometimes have an effect on authors, but in the end, the creator of the work is the "god" in the situation, and can decide what to do in their little world. Might not be popular, liked, or well-accepted, but hey- it's their work.

JB

Popeyesays
04-13-2007, 04:19 PM
Oooh, that is tough. Who has the right to decide whether a character gets to evolve and change, and how much - when it's a long-running established thing like this?

Reminds me of a certain writer of vampire fiction who insulted millions (though some of them apparently didn't realize they were being insulted) by insisting that her character spoke to her and told her to ruin him the way she did.

I still mourn the loss of what one particular vampire could have been. Indeed, I weep. Much like he who was forced to weep every other freaking page, when he used to be so strong, so wonderfully rotten and arrogant and brat-like.

Another question your post brings to mind, Birol: should authors give weight to what their readers want to see from their characters if it goes against their "vision"?

Sherlock Holmes rose from the dead:
http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Return_of_Sherlock_Holmes___The_-_Arthur_Conan_Doyle-89556.html

Regards,
Scott

Popeyesays
04-13-2007, 04:24 PM
Well, I've had creative differences with J.K. Rowling for a while now. What used to be fun and adventurous is now a labored, depressing, overly dramatic mess in which we just get to learn from her that more characters we like are headed to the wizarding world's version of boot hill.

I just can't figure out for the life of me why she feels the need to whack lovable, or well-liked characters, in every book. I know, I know, they're her books and characters, but right about the 4th book, she seemed to become mighty bitter as a person, and it's shown in the tone of the books.

I think readers opinions and desires sometimes have an effect on authors, but in the end, the creator of the work is the "god" in the situation, and can decide what to do in their little world. Might not be popular, liked, or well-accepted, but hey- it's their work.

JB

Rowlings says she had the whole sweep of the series fixed very early on and a very definite end in mind. It certainly hasn't hurt sales, and I think it's a very valuable thing to have a YA series that deals with characters who have to deal with growing up. C. S. Lewis did a miserable job of it.

Regards,
Scott