Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Does Charlaine Harris Hate Me?

Why Does Charlaine Harris Hate Me?

Since Krystal deigned take a well deserved vacation (Hmph!), I've decide to borrow her blog for a day and rant about something that's been eating me lately: Why does Charlaine Harris hate me?

For those of you who faithfully have followed the Sookie Stackhouse novels, as Krystal and I have, you'll know why the end of Deadlocked has many of us scratching our heads. Charlaine—yes, after twelve books we're on a first name basis—seems to be taking the series in a disappointing direction. With only one book remaining in the series, many of us fear Sookie may well end up with someone other than Eric. Readers are pissed, and her ratings reflect their ire. 65% of her reviews on Amazon for Deadlocked were 3 stars or less, with 51% on Goodreads. While this may not seem significant, her past books have enjoyed 4 and 5 star reviews. Let's face it, we feel as if she's pulled the rug out from under us. We've suffered through Sookie and Eric's trials and tribulations, believing—based on clues from Charlaine herself—they'd end up together. If she chooses not to give us an HEA for them, I swear I will never read another novel by her again.

All of this leads me to another question. Does an author owe it to their readers to give them what they want after they've faithfully devoted themselves to a series? Or should the author always stay true to their story regardless of the fallout?

I personally struggled with this exact question when I wrote the last chapter of my first book, Colour Wielders. I ended the book on a big cliffhanger, one I felt rather proud of. However, after receiving a rather angry text from Krystal, who's my critique partner, I began rethinking my strategy. Why? Because I was worried I'd piss off readers I don't even have yet. In the end, I caved, deciding it was best to not anger my future readers. So, I wrote an epilogue. Krystal was happy, I was happy, and hopefully the book will do well.

Did I do the right thing? I don't know. Will Charlaine Harris do right by her readers and give us what we want? Don't know the answer to that either. As with life, a happy ever after is never guaranteed. What I do know is as authors, we ask our readers to take an emotional journey with us. When they do, it's crucial for authors to value that and not screw us over because they can. So, I really hope that Charlaine Harris doesn't hate me!

Sookie and Eric forever! (Yes, I'm 15!)

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Dawna Raver is the author of Colour Wielders, and one of my closest, dearest friends. You'll find her work on a shelf soon, if I have anything to say about it! You can follow Dawna on Facebook, Twitter, or . . . umm, that's it because I haven't quite convinced her to start her blog. Sigh. A girl can try!

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22 comments:

  1. Hi Dawna! I don't necessarily think that authors should only give us what we want, in fact they should totally screw with us to keep us engaged. BUT, I think a good book leaves the reader feeling satisfied. Even if it wasn't quite what they expected, they should feel like it ended the right way. Pissing off readers helps no one.

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    1. Satisfied. Exactly. I agree you shouldn't pander to your readers, but if you start something in motion, you should finish it.

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  2. If Sookie and Eric don't end up together, there's no point in finishing the series. At least in my opinion. So I think I'll wait till all of you read book 12 and let me know if its safe for me to plow through 11 & 12. ;-)

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    1. Jessa, I will let you know. If they don't you'll probably hear me screaming.

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  3. Very interesting post, Dawna. I'm not sure I would write something just to keep the reader happy (although it might be on my mind while writing). Having said that, I might if I was getting angry texts from Krystal lol! Neil Gaiman has an interesting post on the subject as it relates to George R R Martin and what authors "owe" their readers: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

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    1. Yeah, Derek, you don't want to be on the receiving end of one of Krystal's WTF text :). That article sound interest. I'll check it out.

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  4. Haven't read these books, but I struggle with that same question in my own book. Will the guy the heroine ends up with be the same one my readers want? I don't think I'd enjoy getting hate mail, but I know I've wanted to send some to my favorite authors!

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    1. I do think you should stay true to your story as long as you don't pull a surprising about face. I did put on her Facebook page, thanks for breaking my heart.

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  5. OK, I haven't read Deadlocked yet and now am not that enthusiastic if it's not a Sookie/Eric book.

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    1. It's a Sookie/Eric book but the storyline is going in a terrible direction. You should read it and judge for yourself. I may be overly sensitive. :)

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  6. Having read the entire series from the beginning, I seem to be in the minority that I LIKE the potential pairing that we may be going with. But I've never been a big Sookie/Eric shipper. Way too much drama. I think this person that it is being hinted she may wind up with has been the only one who's been faithful to her through thick and thin and has loved her from the beginning.

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    1. Hey, thems there fightin' words ;). I don't have a problem with him. Yes, he has been faithful to Sook, but even her grandfather said the vampire loves you. Why would he say that if it wasn't important? This is where I'm having an issue with Charlaine.

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    2. I agree with u Dawn 100% BUT i do have a prob with Sam

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  7. I have put off reading and reviewing Deadlocked because - lets face it - the last 2 books just sucked.
    I certainly don't think authors should write to make the readers happy, a good book will make you change your mind on what you think you wanted to happen! Right? I mean even if I don't like the ending it could still be a good book. I don't feel that is the case with this series. It started out good, then great, then a giant disappointment! I don't believe Charlaine has known where this series was going in quite some time. She hates me too!

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  8. Well Annie, you and I can keep each other company. Only one more book and all well be known. I just hate being led down one path only to find out it was all a dream and Bobby Ewing is in the shower! (Hopefully, you're old enough to get that refer.)

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  9. Great post, Krystal. I think it's a careful balance between making readers happy and following the story in one's heart...but I do think it's important the author write not to fit an audience but instead for him/herself. Then again, I almost lost it when Anne Bishop's Black Jewel Trilogy didn't completely end its main romance—and apparently I wasn't the only one (angry bloggers and fan pages everywhere!), since she ended up writing a short story to tie up the relationship. So, I guess it depends on the author's objective. As for Charlaine—I always liked the Sookie/Eric thing, but lately he's come off as a real schmuck. Maybe it's just me, but I've started rooting for Bill or Alcide again... :)

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  10. Thanks, Eva. I tried reading Bishop, but didn't get very far. Guess I'll consider myself lucky. I think its a fine line that is difficult to navigate. But maybe when you have as many readers as Charlaine has you just stop caring. Let's hope not.

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    1. As for Bishop, her trilogy was actually amazing (and the tie-up story was great, it just came out far later). If you have a chance to give it another whirl, you might like it! And Charlaine...gosh I hope not!

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  11. You ask a very interesting question. I agree that an author has to write the story they need to tell, but once they have amased a following they should take that following into consideration to some degree. Like Eva, I was one of those that was sorely disappointed with the unfinished storyline at the end of the Black Jewel Trilogy. I NEEDED more! As for Sookie, I dropped off that boat long ago. I haven't been able to finish Dead Reckoning. I am so far behind in that series. Charlaine made me stop caring. :( Bummer.

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  12. I haven't read the latest book, mostly because of its less-than-stellar reviews. If Charlaine wants to go the Sookie/Sam route that's fine, but she needed to be more consistent in her storyline from the beginning. What irritates me most is that the reader grows close to Sookie's latest boy toy, and then once we're hooked on him he's suddenly turned into a jerk and it's on to the next guy. I agree with the comment that she didn't plan the entire series very well before she started writing it.

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  13. Maybe that is what's going on, ED--a lack of planning and perhaps pressure by a publisher to keep going? I feel like many of her fans, I myself, will decide whether or not they stay fans based on how she ends this series. Again, it gets back to trust. We have to be able to trust she'll finish what she started several books ago.

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  14. I also want Eric and Sookie togather and will be very very upset if they dont wind up togahter at the end BUT iam not Charlaine.its up to her.it would be nice if she did listen to us readers and keep Eric and Sookie togather BUT if u think about it Sookie does not want to become a Vampire.SO where does that leave us, Our Eric and Sookie.she has to be with somebody PLEASE NOT WITH SAM. and i Have Not read Deadlocked yet for two reasons 1st cause i dont have good patience and also i saw the Bad Reviews the book got.and i have to agree with Ed and Dawn.

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