June 25, 2012 in Essay, Interview
This is the second part of a four part series on writers and their online experience with readers/reviewers/fans. You can find Part One here.
Part Two – Does It Affect Your Writing?
Has this ongoing direct contact with people on the internet/fans affected your writing in any way?
In the same way the responses to the first question surprised me, these surprised me too. The responses were split 50/50 on this question. Some people indicated that while they appreciated and, in some cases, dreaded knowing what people thought about their writing, they didn’t let it affect their work in any real way, feeling that their job was to be true to the characters and story. Now I certainly understand that and my perception of writers is that they are operating within a specific world in any given story and the point is to find out what they see, what they choose to tell us about that world and those characters. To quote Will Rogers, “A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing…” and stories, just because I might see a story going in a different direction doesn’t mean that it SHOULD do that, it just means that I have an opinion about it.
Now the flip side of that is the half who said that feedback from readers was something that they paid attention to, because it gave them valuable input. Ilona Andrews (writing team Ilona and Andrew Gordon) said, “Direct contact is a great way to gauge interests in a particular character or idea. Most of the feedback and comments are beneficial.”
The largest majority of my creative life has been spent working in live theatre and that by definition is a collaborative art. So this also makes sense to me, possibly even more sense than those who said they don’t take reader feedback and comments into consideration. I am used to a creative experience where many weigh in on the work and affect the work by how they participate with it.