June 5, 2009
After the debut of DEAD AND GONE, the board was swamped with comments, conjectures, and criticisms by my readers. We (my moderators and I) expected this, though I don’t think any of us anticipated the volume of the response the book received, or the odd tone of some of the postings.
Let me tell you two true things, right up front.
- I know my books are not perfect. I know there are many valid criticisms that can be made about my writing. I will never stop trying to write a better book.
- I appreciate my readers, and I know that without them I wouldn’t have gotten to the wonderful place I’m enjoying.
Now that you know that, I want to let you know my thoughts on some more true things. The odd tone we noticed in some of the DAG discussion was due to this: a feeling of entitlement on the part of a few readers. It’s as if this handful of readers felt they should have had a vote in the plot developments of my book. They were angry with me that the book hadn’t followed their own desired blueprint. I had to quit reading the discussions on my own website, because I found that attitude incomprehensible and very distressing.
Novels are not written by committee. All the books I’ve read, barring those by the occasional writing duo, have been written by one person sitting in a room alone, working hour after hour in an effort to craft a book which will entertain and engage the reader. My novels are no exception to this rule. I create the characters. I know who they are, and I know who they are not. I understand them better than anyone. I reveal what’s happening to them in the way I’ve determined will tell the story I want to tell. As a result of the way I see the world, none of these characters are perfect, and there’s always the chance bad, even terrible, things will happen to them . . . because that’s the way life happens.
If you know perfect people who never make mistakes in their actions or their relationship decisions, my hat is off to you. If you know people to whom no evil befalls, I can only envy those people. If you know people who have no character weaknesses, well, I wish I could meet such paragons. Until I meet them, the people who inhabit my books will be flawed people who make errors in judgment, and sometimes bad things will happen to those people.
If this “policy” is offensive to you – well, I’m sorry. You may want to follow another writer. But I’m having a great time recording this long journey of Sookie Stackhouse, and I hope you continue with me to its end.