Aug 26, 2012

Writer Vision vs. Reader Entitlement

“Don’t give people what they want, give them what they need.” Joss Whedon

Not too long ago, one of my favorite authors struck fear in the heart of her twitter followers when she joked that her urban fiction series might not have a happy ending for the main couple. As a reader, my kneejerk reaction was the inevitable, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" I would be heartbroken if Kate and Curran, errr, this couple doesn't have a happy ending. The author soon twitted that everyone should take a chill pill because she had already promised a HEA. Phew!

But it got me thinking. When does an author lose the right to write the story the way they see fit instead of the way the readers (or most of them) want it? When does reader entitlement override the writer vision?

It's not new that writers can become sick of their own creation and kill them off  *cough Sherlock cough* only to be forced (with sledgehammers) *cough Misery cough* to bring them back to life. Success and reader expectations can be seen as stifling for some authors. Nothing is more annoying than having readers love a character you hate  *cough Draco Malfoy cough* and want something that was never envisioned. 

The writer in me says, "Suck it, readers. That which I created, I can destroy." The reader in me says, "WTF are you smoking, writer?" (Full disclosure: I'm one of those bitter fans of the Anita Blake.) There has to be a happy medium, right? Writers create what they want without betraying the fans who love them? Right?


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