Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Second Guessing in Public

I wrote actual new words yesterday, and it was very exciting. I may not quite reach my time quota today unless I'm very good because I have to run some errands on the way to choir this afternoon, which shortens my day. I don't have to teach tonight, but I do have to direct the choir in performing. I'm iffy on going to my own choir rehearsal, as I still can't sing very much. But I am now sleeping well with no medication, which is wonderful. Tomorrow is supposed to be really cold and nasty, with possible winter precipitation, so it should be very productive for me, unless I go on a cooking binge, which tends to happen in that kind of weather. At the first hint of snow, I turn into Betty Crocker.

I had to go out to get groceries this morning because I was starting to have to get creative with what I had on hand. Last night, I did an oven-fried chicken breast, using a coating of bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese, and since I had the oven on and it used the same temperature, I roasted a mix of sweet and white potatoes. I think that may now be my favorite way to cook sweet potatoes. But now I have plenty of canned tomatoes, so I have more options. I plan to pick up some Italian sausage and some vegetables on the way to church tonight and make a big vat of spaghetti sauce tomorrow. The up side of cold weather is that I don't have to worry about things sitting in my trunk -- unless it's to worry about them freezing. I may have to bring a cooler to insulate the things that aren't supposed to freeze.

I try to avoid saying negative things about other authors in a public forum, but I have been pushed too far, and now I have to get something off my chest:

Please shut up, J.K. Rowling.

In case you missed it, she gave an interview saying that Ron and Hermione shouldn't have ended up together. Okay, so maybe I'm emotionally invested there because I basically am Hermione and Ron was my favorite character, and I noticed the groundwork being laid in the first book, so a huge part of my enjoyment of the series was seeing the relationship develop as they grew up, and I thought she did a rather brilliant job of conveying it all through the eyes of Harry, who was rather clueless about it, so the clues had to be conveyed in a subtle way so that the reader would notice even if the viewpoint character was rather dense. And I loved that it busted the trope of the hero always getting the girl. Finally, the best friend got the girl, instead, and it wasn't even treated so much as a "reward" as it was those two having time to develop a relationship while Harry was busy saving the world. But even if I didn't have an emotional stake in it, I think it's rather poor form for an author to retroactively second-guess her own work in a public forum.

This follows up the many questionable things she said soon after the last book was published, in which she revealed what the outcome for the various secondary characters would be, in some cases outright stomping on what fans hoped for, and outed Dumbledore, I guess to get credit for diversity without actually putting it in the books. There was a newspaper column written at the time with the title "Harry Potter and the Author Who Would Not Shut Up."

I guess the whole concept is utterly foreign to me, as another author of a seven-book series. The series is what's in the books, period. If I didn't put it there, you're free to imagine what's around the edges, and I'm not going to do interviews saying that you're wrong because this is what happens to those secondary characters twenty years later. While there might be a few things I'd have done differently (not that I can think of any off the top of my head), I'd never say so in public. In fact, anything I might want to do differently, I could use elsewhere. If I wanted a relationship to go another way, I'd come up with a different series with different (though maybe similar) characters, and then play it out the other way. I'm not going to say what happens after the series closes because I really don't know. That's why I'm not currently planning to write more books, because I can't see what's happening. These people drew the blinds on me. If I could see more, I'd write it.

The reason I think it's a bad idea to talk about your own work in that way is that it can alienate the readers who liked the way it turned out. I'm feeling a little betrayed for having bought into what she actually sold me, now that I know she herself didn't like it. That's a strange feeling. I'm used to not liking the way things work out, but then it's my problem, and if I don't like it, I can write my own book. But liking the way things worked out and then being told by the author that I'm wrong violates the sense of trust between author and reader. How would you guys feel if I started doing interviews saying that Owen and Katie really didn't belong together?

I'll talk about back story, inspiration, silly little details, etc., but for the most part, I think the books speak for themselves.

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