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marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


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Neil Gaiman's post on entitlement issues: George R.R. Martin Does Not Work For You

Dealing with people with entitlement issues is no fun, whether you're a pro writer, an agent, a publisher, an editor, or someone running a fan web site, or a fan writer being told that she should change fandoms and write to the reader's preference and not her own, a fan artist or pro artist, a web comic creator, a convention committee. It shows up everywhere, and I think it's even more annoying for people who are contributing their time and labor for free.

I also agree with Michelle Sagara's post: Acts of Faith and Entitlement Issues:
So: Buying into the start of a multi-volume* story is an act of faith on the part of a reader. They are trusting me to finish the story.
This is not the same as trusting me to write a sequel to a story that doesn't need it, or trusting me to write a second book with characters they loved when the first book is clearly complete and I have already said there will be no sequel. Those, I think, are separate issues.

...
It is that act of initial faith -- the buying of the first book -- that allowed me to write the rest of the books in the Sun Sword series. If every reader, feeling burned by authors who have not -- for whatever reason -- finished their multi-volume series, had refused to buy my first novel, a totally partial story, until they had proof that the whole thing would be finished, the rest of the books would never have been published. This is a simple fact.

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It works the same way in the newspaper business, too! If I had a nickel for everyone who complained that their event/ sports team/ letter to the editor didn't get published, I'd be a heckuva lot better off. :)

That doesn't surprise me that it shows up there, too. I've had the most experience with it in fan communities. The sad thing is that it's usually only a few people doing the entitlement-nagging, but one or two persistent people can do a lot of nagging.

Neil Gaiman, ILU!

Every time I hear about some fan directing that kind of bizarre entitlement behavior at an author, it always makes me wonder WTF is wrong with people. I don't care how important a fan feels as someone who has purchase power or read-or-not-read power; that does not make authors their bitches. It just makes them people whose books or stories a fan can choose to not buy or read, which, hey, go ahead, knock yourself out, Ms. Fan. WHATEVER.

I've also seen some really nasty behavior toward volunteer convention committees, too. And then there's this person.

The truly rude behavior GRRM has received from people has truly boggled me, and those people need to be smacked.

That being said...Song of Ice and Fire has completely fallen off my radar. I truly don't know if I'd keep reading the series should books start appearing, because it's been so long and I'd have to go back and reread everything. I don't know if the interest is still there on my part. (This statement will no doubt look a little odd paired with my usual "reading things" icon!)

Yeah, I think that's a risk an author takes with doing a long series. As a reader, I tend to prefer series that are more installments in the continuing adventures of these characters rather than books that are continuations of one big story.

Right - with this story, it's incomplete, so you're left panting for the next book to see where things go, and then you want the next one, and the next. It's a tribute to the author that he has managed to create a world where you can really immerse yourself into it, but alas, it also means that obsessed fans will mob you if they see you taking time away from the typewriter to, say, hug you children or kiss your wife.

I'm also truly boggled about how many times I managed to use the word truly in one short comment. Truly.

:goes to get coffee:

>>Neil Gaiman's post on entitlement issues: George R.R. Martin Does Not Work For You<<

Years ago I remember reading James Clavell's advice to new writers: "Never tell your readers to go to Hell". In GRRM's case, though, I think there may be a few who deserve it.


I seem to recall the Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons summing it up something to the effect of, "What gives us the right? You have provided us with many hours of free entertainment. This gives us the write to critique everything you do."

I have actually seen people following him at conventions, asking those questions. As someone who was recently stalled for close to a *year* on a particular work, well, I know there are a lot of things that can get in the way. It could be he has more important things to do. It could be he feels it's not the best he can possibly make it. It could be that he's stuck on how to do a particular scene. Who knows? We'll get DWD when we get it, and that's all right. We have other things to read while we're waiting.

I hadn't thought of that side of entitlement. I get ticked at people who think authors owe them something because they are a fan. I've seen it in paid and unpaid works.

But I hadn't thought about the act of faith in starting something unfinished. I've had many authors abandon fanfiction stories when they lost interest and that's always upsetting if you're ivested in the story. But the worst case I ever encountered was an author who had such a case of entitlement herself that she refused to finish a multi-part, multi-author fanfiction unless the fans shelled out. It was pretty appalling. She ended up taking her marbles and going home.

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