Monday, 1 September 2014
Do Writers 'Owe' Their Fans?
Do writers owe their fans? Honestly, I'm not entirely sure. In my opinion it's a question far too broad to answer simply with yes or no. Because where do we draw the line? It's something that I have thought about several times, but a video discussion by fellow Booktuber Thoughts on Tomes prompted me to create this blog post, and a video response of my own.
It's natural, and ultimately a compliment for the audience to feel a certain level of attachment to the characters, story, and world that has been created for them - but what exactly does a writer owe to their loyal fan base?
Veronica Roth's Allegiant suffered a huge backlash when readers failed to respond well to the ending of the Divergent trilogy, many readers demanding a new ending, and arguing that they were 'owed' better. While I am not entirely sure what the audience is owed, I know this - it isn't another ending. Social media is still expanding, and honestly, I feel like it's at least partially to blame for this surge of entitlement that people seem to feel these days. We can become so involved, so immersed in the process ourselves that it can sometimes be hard to see where the line between creator and audience ends. But the audience is not the creator, and has no involvement in the process. We don't get a say - and quite frankly, we shouldn't. (I feel this way irrelevant of my feelings towards Allegiant, which I will leave out.)
A writer, be it for television, books, or any other medium should have the freedom to develop their story as they wish - I don't believe we are owed our desired ending. That being said, I do think that writers owe it to their writing, to their 'product', to complete their story with the same message that they laid out from the beginning. I'm not talking about character or plot developments, I'm talking about the very core, the essence of the story. Because let's face it, that's why so many people get so frustrated.
When characters pair up and there has been zero foreshadowing and chemistry, when the very premise of the story is contradicted until the first book, episode, or season is nothing but a distant memory. No, we aren't owed our desired ending. But if we are owed anything at all, in my mind, it's a conclusion for the story that we were sold on from the very beginning.
What do you think?