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Author Expectations?

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
rebecca
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Post by rebecca » Sun September 25th, 2011, 5:36 am

Misfit--"I have read all these books, including the last one. Fortunately I wasn't as emotionally invested as many of her fans were, but I can feel their anger at such a let-down...Did she seriously believe this was what they wanted, and the best she could do, or did she just not give a damn?"

When you read the reviews of Jean's last book the anger from the readership is palpable and after going on this journey with the author for so many years it must have been hugely disappointing to finally reach the conclusion and find it was a fizzer. But I do wonder if some authors are making rods for their own back by keeping a series going year after year and perhaps the author herself was in burnout mode when she wrote Painted Caves. Who knows?

It is also up to the reader to decide if they want to go on this long story telling journey. I know after beginning George Martin's series of books I will now choose not to involve myself in books that don't seem to have a conclusion or where the reader has to wait years in order to find out how everything ends.

"I've seen some of the same comments you have about Lionheart and while I did enjoy it a great deal, I can very much understand why some might not be as enamored of it..."

Now when it comes to Sharon Penman's Lionheart I expected that the book would be immersed in battles and Richard's crusades and less on the emotional side of things. So I wont be disappointed when I finally get to read it, but my hope is that in her sequel to Lionheart that Sharon may reveal more of the personal side of Richard's life. So like many I will probably enjoy Lionheart in that it will be as I expected it to be.

EC2--Also, authors being human can have off moments in their job as well as moments of brilliance. They can get stale and go past their sell by date, or the reader himself/herself can develop in different ways and move on...So I think we should expect high standards of our authors and be fair. That doesn't mean gushing and worshipping the ground they walk on, but it means standing back and looking at their entirety..."

I understand what you mean and it must be difficult to try and bring something new to a subject or a person of history that hasn't been written already but an experienced author can do it, but all the time? Probably not.
Some books will be great and others not so great. As an example I don't mind reading a Jean Plaidy book now and again but I find that at times Jean seems to be in awe of her subject(which may be how they wrote back in her day) and that is fine, but I can only read her in small doses. It doesn't make her a bad writer. When I was in my teens I adored her writing as Victoria Holt but now I simply can't read them anymore....Many book lovers simply grow and move on.

What I love most about reading is the differing slant that the authors take on their subjects. I finished Susan Higginbotham 'The Queen of Last Hopes' and really enjoyed her interpretation of Margaret of Anjou and immediately after I began 'Queen by Right' and you see how Anne Easter Smith has a different veiw of Margaret. Is one author wrong and the other right? No. I suppose it's like looking through a prism and each author see's things in a different light. But I really enjoyed reading both books and will continue to buy their work.

It is the case with your own books. I started with 'To Defy a King' and loved it. Then I went to your website and saw that though each book can stand on its own, many are also a series and so I bought them so I could read them in alignment. I have to admit there are some I like more than others, but that's to be expected.

The mark of a good author is when the writer and the reader can enjoy a long journey together without becoming tired of each other.

I will be looking forward to your Eleanor trilogy and Sharon Penman's Lionheart and its sequel.

Once again thanks ladies for your views.

Bec :)

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun September 25th, 2011, 12:35 pm

When I was in my teens I adored her writing as Victoria Holt but now I simply can't read them anymore....Many book lovers simply grow and move on.
I've never been able to jump on the Plaidy bandwagon, but then I never read her as a kid either. I did read some Holts a couple of years ago and liked them, but after three or four I was approaching burnout. I recently picked up some Philippa Carrs at the FOL sale and we'll see how those go.

Interesting comments about series and they do seem to burn out. Is it the story, the author or both? Can anyone name a long series that did keep on ticking until the end? Why do authors keep on with them when the fans are clearly not happy? From comments I've seen about Auel's Shelters of the Stone there were problems of a very similar nature to what happened in LoTPC and it doesn't appear she took them to heart. I'll be interested to see if Gabaldon listened to critics of Echo in the Bone when the new book comes out. Or have I changed as a reader? I finally had to unsubscribe from her blog - she really really is terribly wordy. How did I not miss it reading the first six one right after the other?
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun September 25th, 2011, 2:20 pm

I can only assume that publishers want the authors to write series because they know it will be a hot ticket item.

Doe anyone know how well, or poorly Auel's Shelters of the Stone did? Was it still enough to turn a profit for the publisher? If thats the case then I'm sure you have your answer.

Authors get burned out with topics and characters too. I'm sure most would like to move on as well, but if your publisher demands it...do you have a choice?
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Post by rebecca » Mon September 26th, 2011, 3:46 am

Misfit--"Interesting comments about series and they do seem to burn out. Is it the story, the author or both? Can anyone name a long series that did keep on ticking until the end?....

I remember on another thread someone mentioned Robert Jordan and so I went to Amazon and read the reviews of his 'Wheel of Time' books only to find that by book 6 onwards the readership became very disgruntled and unhappy with the direction Jordan had taken. It put me off buying it even though the first 4 may have received rave reviews....if the end is a fizzer what's the point?

It may be the case that some authors may paint themselves into a corner and feel unable to get out and because of that they become tired of the subject at hand. Perhaps the authors need to challenge themselves into new ventures and that way it may help them to remain inspired. For instance Philippa Gregory seems to relish the 'magic' side to her Plantagenet series and I wonder if she has contemplated venturing into historical fantasy fiction. When you do the same job day after day there must come a time where the writer needs to stretch their talent and imagination into new area's-To challenge themselves in order to maintain originality and not allow themselves to become 'safe' in a particular genre. I am referring to authors who seem 'tired' of what they are writing and therefore repeat themselves ad nauseam.

Divia--"Authors get burned out with topics and characters too. I'm sure most would like to move on as well, but if your publisher demands it...do you have a choice?"

Now there's a question in which I have no answer but I hope that publishing companies respect their authors enough to give them room and allow their imaginations to bloom..I hope the writers do have that choice.

Bec :)

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Post by Margaret » Mon September 26th, 2011, 4:17 am

Authors get burned out with topics and characters too. I'm sure most would like to move on as well, but if your publisher demands it...do you have a choice?
Reminds me of how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes, and then was pressured into resurrecting him by his fans.

Stephen King's Misery is based on a similar premise - an author is rescued after a car wreck by a former nurse who is a huge fan of his romantic series. He has just killed off his main character and when he crashed he was on his way to deliver his new literary manuscript. His increasingly creepy "rescuer" holds him captive and forces him to write a new installment in the old series - but she insists he make the live reappearance of his main character believable. I avoided reading it for a long time, because I don't like creepy violence in novels, but I finally did read it, and it was darn good. A lot of it is about writing fiction, at a fairly sophisticated level, which is a big part of why I enjoyed it.
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Post by Divia » Mon September 26th, 2011, 10:00 am

Some fans are pretty welll...fanatic...for sure.

I mean look at the star wars fans. They aren't pleased with lucas because they think they could have done better. That's great, but its his property.
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Mon September 26th, 2011, 12:54 pm

This is an interesting thread. Thanks to all who are contributing. I don't feel I have too much to add--I agree with the majority here, I believe.

I will say that if a book is done well, it seems to do well sales-wise. The following sequels (can we really blame publishers or authors for wanting to pay their bills?) don't always hold up to the first in the series but that never shocks me. We readers, by devouring the sequel, are encouraging the author to continue a story that was neatly tied up in the first. If it was not pleasantly completed, it would not have been a good read.

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Post by Ludmilla » Mon September 26th, 2011, 2:36 pm

Bec said: It may be the case that some authors may paint themselves into a corner and feel unable to get out and because of that they become tired of the subject at hand.
I've often wondered how it's possible for authors to sustain a vision when the writing of their story takes decades. People aren't static and often change their views over so long a period of time. It makes sense that their vision may change as well. For example, I think GRRM originally intended for there to be a time gap between the third and fourth book of his Song of Ice and Fire series so that he could age some of the younger characters. But that's not what happened once he ended that third book and began work on the fourth. How much of what we've read in books four and five have been planned from the very beginning and how much has he changed from that original vision and invented as he went along? I don't think we can ever know the full extent of it.

Re Gabaldon's Outlander series... I've only read up to A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I still enjoy the series, but I agree they are overwritten and I'm not anxious to get to the next book. I do think Gabaldon is a good example of one of those authors who gets research happy and finds ways to insert any amount of research she's done into her books which contributes toward the over-indulgent sprawl. This is also one of those series where I ask myself how much should you put your characters through? There comes a point where it goes over the line in being preposterous, repetitive, and over-the-top. Especially when old wounds keep getting reopened and dragged out. After awhile it loses it's emotional impact. There were several scenes in ABoSaA where I said to myself, are we really rehashing this again? Didn't we go over this ad nauseam in the other books? However, reading series like this is like getting out your favorite old blanket that's seen better days. We choose it for its familiarity, past associations and comfort. It may be so threadbare it doesn't even warm us anymore.
Last edited by Ludmilla on Mon September 26th, 2011, 3:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon September 26th, 2011, 2:52 pm

[quote=""Ludmilla""]However, reading series like this is like getting out your favorite old blanket that's seen better days. We choose it for its familiarity, past associations and comfort. It may be so threadbare it doesn't even warm us anymore.[/quote]
Nice turn of phrase! mind if I steal it?

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Post by rebecca » Tue September 27th, 2011, 3:16 am

Alisha Marie Klapheke--"We readers, by devouring the sequel, are encouraging the author to continue a story that was neatly tied up in the first. If it was not pleasantly completed, it would not have been a good read..."

I think it depends on the author and how passionate they are on their particular story and the characters(whether imagined or real) they write about. I am thinking specifically of Sharon Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick who seem to be able to continue the thread of their plots in each novel with freshness and integrity...I really loved Penman's Welsh trilogy and the final book had me in tears and I don't cry easily. I would have to include George Martin though at times his plot-lines infuriate me, still I keep reading because I love so many of his characters.

I think the reader can tell the difference between a writer who is passionate about their particular characters and one who no longer cares and who may be thinking more of profits than quality and that is sad, I think.


Ludmilla--"think GRRM originally intended for there to be a time gap between the third and fourth book of his Song of Ice and Fire series so that he could age some of the younger characters...."

That is what he should have done and I have no idea why he didn't because at times the plot lines feel like one is merely treading water over and over. The fourth book would have been the perfect opporunity for the author to leap ahead a few years and it would have allowed the reader to see the maturity of his characters and how changed they have become. Unfortunately he did not do that and instead invented new characters which I feel added almost nothing to his story and at times I felt really confused with the newer characters and plot-lines(could be my own fault:rolleyes :) .

As for Gabaldon's Outlander books I tried to read the first one and didn't like it. I suppose it is a case of different tastes. What one person loved another may dislike.

It's the same with Terry Goodkind I have thought about buying his 'Sword of Truth' series until I found that the story goes on and on and on with apparently no end in sight...But that's not to say I have given up on fantasy novels and have ordered Robin Hobb's 'Farsee trilogy' which should arrive next week.

Thanks everyone for your input.

Bec :)

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