Fans are a mixed blessing. I’ve been reading about True Fans and I’ve been reading commentary by the fans of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Torchwood. And it seems there’s a lesson in there about Fan Rage.
Fan Rage may be more prevalent in sci-fi and fantasy genres sicne they’re the genres in which fans dress up as characters–truly inhabiting that character and walking public streets in the character’s clothes and attitude. So the writer who kills off that character may never be forgiven.
Now, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got sick of Holmes and killed him off–only to have to bring him back to life to satisfy Fan Demand. But I’m not really talking about writers who come to hate their creation and commit murder to liberate themselves. That’s another issue.
No. I mean writers who create a story, see what has to happen to follow their vision of the story, and killing characters accordingly. J.K. Rowling kills off loved characters. Russell T. Davies killed off more than one beloved Torchwood character–and he is still getting grief for it.
Some fans refuse to watch Doctor Who because Rose Tyler was no longer the companion or because David Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith or because Russell T Davies left the show to Steven Moffat. For some fans it isn’t a matter of they just don’t like the show anymore. The vitriol spewed at Davies for killing certain Torchwood characters is amazing. They talk about Davies as if he roams cities to suck the blood of pretty children. They haven’t even seen anything past the death of “their” character because they are so angry.
And Davies wasn’t trying to get rid of anyone. He believed that the death of this or that character made for a stronger story. Fan Rage seems to prove him right, doesn’t it? Who wants to kill off a character and get a big blah, “meh.”
But these fans won’t watch his show anymore.
Are they True Fans? Do True Fans stick by you no matter what? Or do they kidnap your imagination? How beholden are you to fans who love, LOVE, a character?
Or forget characters. Think of stories. How many writers (singers, actors, artists) begin in one genre, change genre, and then must suffer the outrage? How dare you?
Over at The Imaginary Lake I’ve posted a few first chapters of the different novels I’ve written over the years. Some stories I’ve written have magic–I’ll call it magic though I’m not sure that is the word I really want–and some a straightforward stories without one drop of hocus-pocus. One story is a dragon and quest adventure. Another is a dark emotional magical tangle.
Not sure what fans–should I have some expect–but all readers are most appreciated.
Have you ever been angry at a writer for changing their style or killing a favorite character? Did you ever get over it?