Should any writer?
I’m starting edits on Blood Will Tell with my faboo editor, and so I’m also planning what other books I want to do with some of the secndary characters, or do I want to do books with secondary characters, and if so, what kinds of books?
I’d love to do a series. I almost always think of ways I can use the characters again, or do books with other characters in that world, or whatever. Because I think series are fun. As a reader I love them. I love to get to know a set of characters, to be familiar with their pasts and their possible futures. It adds another dimension of enjoyment to my reading experience.
But that’s what makes me wary.
My reading fun has been spoiled one too many times of late, with series that take a turn for the worse and just keep going down. I’ll leave out the obvious example (LKH who?) and head for Kay Scarpetta territory. The last three of four Scarpetta books have been…monstrous disappointments, putting it mildly.
And I know we’re all familiar with authors who, when fan reaction to their latest books is poor, tend to throw their “these are MY characters” card in the air and storm off in a huff.
Maybe because I’ve spent so many years now having at least peripheral dealings with the comics/fangirl/boy community, this attitude absolutely stuns me.
See, over there, the fans do have a say. Maybe they don’t cast the deciding vote, no. But their tastes are taken into account. Their likes and dislikes. Their reactions to particular storylines, even their reactions to and preferences in movie casting.
And nobody minds. Nobody complains that the fans don’t have a right to their opinions. Nobody gets sniffy about how the fans aren’t their bosses, so they should shut the hell up. (Okay, yeah, I can think of one person who may have skirted the edge of this attitude. But it’s nowhere near as common as you seem to find in the romance community these days.)
It’s taken for granted over in Comicland that the fans are gonna have opinons, and that as long as it doesnt actively hamper the writer’s creative flow, those opinions should be taken into account. It’s taken for granted that people build a strong emotional attachment to the characters.
That isn’t to say that unpopular things never happen (um, Captain America died!), or that writers take surveys of what story they should do next. But theycan and do pay attention to that feedback. They can and do explain when an unpopular action is taken, a large proportion of the time.
Yes, we can argue that the two industries are so very different. But Conan Doyle had to bring Holmes back from the dead, don’t forget. Fans have always had opinions, they’ve always had an influence, and I think they should.
No, they shouldn’t take over the writing. But isn’t it nice when they act like they care what the readers think?
How much influence do you think reader opinions should have?