I always read with interest, usually when a book in a really super popular series releases, the varying viewpoints of readers and then how the author interpreted certain characters, their pathways etc. It’s no denying that readers become invested in their favorite series or their favorite characters. They root for them along the way. They wait anxiously for character B and C to get their own stories. I see this a lot with hugely popular series like J.R. Ward’s just to name one that comes to mind!
But what happens when the reader’s expectation doesn’t reconcile with the author’s vision/interpretation of character B and C? As a reader do you shrug it off and say okay well these are the author’s characters, he/she knows them better and chalk it up to minor disappointment? Or do you become angrier because as a reader you’ve invested countless hours, you KNOW these characters and what you got wasn’t what you expected?
And who’s right?
I’ve long sided with the author (because hello, I am an author haha) BUT I am a huge reader and I’ve BEEN disappointed when a long awaited character gets a story and it’s not what *I* envisioned. I grumble. I sulk. But at the end of the day, that character is the author’s creation and their worldview and my worldview are going to be vastly different.
Does it mean I break up with the author and swear “never again?”
Usually not. Unless said author breaks my cardinal rules lololol. There are a few things that if an author does, I break up with them forever and ever amen. Killing a major character off will do that. Dissolving a happily ever after that occurred previously in the series. I mean NOOOOO I do not want to read a SECOND book with the hero or heroine from a previous story where I was already invested in the FIRST HEA only to have to reconcile in my head that it didn’t work out and now I’m expected to root for this other person? Is it realistic? Well of course, but realism is NOT why I read fiction. I read because I want to be in my happy place where everything is perfect and everyone stays together and lives happily ever after.
So what say you when an author doesn’t go the way YOU want him/her to go with a story or a set of characters? Is it off with his/her head? Or do you chalk it up to differing visions and move on?
98 thoughts on “When readers’ and authors’ viewpoints don’t reconcile”
Im a big reader, i usually have 4 books on the go, and in the thousand of books I have read I have only come across 1 that didn’t go the way I thought/wanted, but it not my story to tell. But I love that book, because it surprised me…just saying.
I had to respond because this is the very thing I struggled with recently reading another author. I think the only way I can answer your question is by telling you what I went through. I read a wide range of books and decided to read these books because they were so popular. The series is written by Kristin and PC Cast. I was so severely disappointed that I stopped after the fourth book. I was incredibly invested with one character and he was completely trashed by a girl who just couldn’t stop cheating on him…it was insulting because ugh it was just so wrong! First you have a sort of boyfriend then your life drastically changes…then somehow you do get a boyfriend, but you not only cheat on him with your ex you then cheat on him with a young male teacher…yeah I was so not feeling those books. It was a disgrace making this supposed heroine of the book cheap and slutty. And she wasn’t the only one it was done to…then to take a character so well thought out and yummilicious is the only word I can think of (lol), then destroy him…was a devastating blow. WHY on earth would you build a character to that intensity just to trash him? Makes no sense.
Which brings me to this. I’ve started to read the last book of your Sweet Series. I’m new to these. Actually, found them after reading the over publicized (no idea why lol) Fifty Shades. They have nothing on other books I’ve read, especially yours. Me thinks the popularity is highly based on the fact it came from Twilight fanfiction (I must gag wasn’t my cup of tea). But I digress…it’s not so much writing off the author it’s the build up and the big disappointment that wasn’t met by the expectations we thought we would get.
Sweet Addiction is the perfect example. I think the description is what really set people off and was a major deterrent. Had Lucas’s name been mentioned in the description it could have appeased the the readers. But again I haven’t finished it, but I do have to admit that I’m more partial to the other books you have in this series. I thought Cole seemed a better character in the other books…I’m not sure yet in this last one. I also feel it’s a matter of what floats the person’s appeal at that moment. I’ve gone into read books and totally hated it and gone back to them much later and said, “HUH, why did I hate this book?” Which is why I was soooo puzzled by some reviews given about Sweet Possession. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this one…I was laughing so hard I cried! But I found this the best one of the series…and I LOVED Damon and Micah. It was so real and I totally got the vanilla part of it that most didn’t get. It fit especially in regards to Lyric.
It all comes down to taste, worth your time, your mood, and your overall satisfaction. Yes, it’s written by the author, but we are looking to escape to a world the author has built for us. If something doesn’t appease us we tend to jump ship and look elsewhere. It isn’t to offend…it’s just simply human. I just think it’s horribly wrong to flame someone’s hard earned work because you didn’t like it…a simple not my cup of tea would suffice. Sighs…some just can’t manage that. Harsh world indeed. I might not like some of what you’ve written (sharing, multiple partners, some harsher BDSM, etc) but I love the world you weave (especially Sweet Series World). You definitely caught my attention by your stories. See once I start I get lost in reading if it reels me in…your Sweet Series did just that! I look forward to losing more sleep while I lose myself in more of your pretty words! :)
I guess i never think of what the next character should be like. I just go with it. The author is providing me with the life of the character. Kind of like a soap opera. I’m escaping into their life whatever you want to make of it as the author. That is why I like series novels, they are like soap operas and i get to be lost in their life and they start to feel like family. Does any of that make sense?
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I know this is an old post but I just discovered you so I want to comment anyway. I agree that when I read fiction I want HEA & I don’t want it to come apart in a sequel. But, I don’t always have to wait for a sequel to see if the author takes the character’s where I would because sometimes I fall asleep reading & dream about what happens next. Sometimes I dream close to what the author has written, sometimes not. Since the character’s are created by the author & by the time I read about them there’s nothing I can do about whether they take the path I would choose for them or not, I just enjoy the read & create other scenarios in my head if I need to. Isn’t that how E L James came up with the very successful Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? She imagined a more adult version of the Twilight series then she wrote about it & changed the characters so much that they became her own.
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