Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
Look, this might be a dumb question, but why do new cars cost so much when their indicators are clearly painted on?
I've been doing a bit of thinking lately about how creativity is critically received. This is prompted by two on-line debates I've been following: the first is the increasing fan impatience with George RR Martin's delay in delivering the next installment of 'Song of Ice and Fire', and the second is reading the extreme fan reaction to the BSG episode 'Deadlock' (http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2009/02/battlestar-galactica-deadlock-jane-espenson.html).
So. You put a story out there and people don't like how it turns out. Do they have a right to be angry? Whose story is it, anyway? [Note: I have no problem with people being angry over inconsistencies or plot holes or poor writing.] I have to admit to being disappointed with GRRM's last book - for a series entitled 'Song of Ice and Fire', to have a book where none of the action dealt with either Ice or Fire was disconcerting - but it's his story. I think fans take ownership of the material far too readily, and don't extend to writers the trust they need to take risks in the interest of a better product.
Thousands of fans are upset with GRRM for taking his time. So what happens if he decides they're right and rushes the rest of the series? We'll get what GRRM believes would be a substandard product. Don't listen to them, George. Keep doing what you want. People, you may have fallen in love with his characters, but they're his, not yours. Do you know, some of his fans are even angry with him because he's fat and he might die before finishing the series (a la Jordan)? Go. Read. Something. Else. Some of the more extreme ravings of fans remind me of the Porcupine Tree lyric:
'I spend my days with all my friends
They're the ones on who my life depends
I'm gonna miss them when the series ends.'
I've had similar reactions to my own work. The funniest one was from a reviewer who was annoyed at the slow pace of 'Path of Revenge', which I thought was a million miles faster than my first trilogy. Too much scenery, he said. Well, you know, look at the clues. It says PATH in the title: odds on there'll be travelling. 'Across the Face of the World' isn't going to be set in the back yard, right? Look at the covers. Do you see battle scenes or scenery? Read the quotes. The worldbuilding's praised and it gets compared to Tolkien. Hmmm. And people are surprised the characters travel about. Travel is essential in epic fantasy. There are no high-tech devices to annihilate distance, so for different factions to experience conflict they have to travel. Simple as that.
Ooh, that's been festering somewhere inside for a while, obviously.