The Future of Storytelling…
I read this article and I really couldn’t help but start thinking about everything it presented. So, I decided to respond to the questions they ask at the end of the article.
1. a&b. I can’t count the number of times I have felt the pressure to change a part of my story or to edit pieces of my writing. It has been as basic as people offering tips on the grammar and general flow of a piece (you know technical/mechanical stuff) to a request for a fundamental change in the story. I often write on-line and post works while they are still being written. This allows my readers the chance to offer feedback before I have written the next part of the story. I find this a motivating and compelling force in my writing. There is nothing more amazing then knowing that people are moved by what I write. If they are going to take the time to give me plot suggestions and to beg that a character not be allowed to die, then I know they really care about my work. There is nothing more intense then that!
1.c. I have never felt entitlement to other people’s work. The creative process is so personal and intense that I could never feel that I own or am entitled to another person’s creative efforts. I am the only person that is entitled to decide the out comes of my stories. I think the same is true of every other creative person. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t listen to our audience or allow ourselves to be influenced. But the audience is NEVER entitled.
2. I think that many people get emotionally invested in artistic expression and thus begin to feel that they are a part of the creative effort; especially if they have been allowed an influence in the work previously. This sense of entitlement comes from the love of the characters; which is flattering, but in its own way daunting. The consumer must remember that they are the only ones who can decide if a product is worth their money. They are the only ones who can decide if a series is worth reading. Paying for art doesn’t mean you own the artist; just that you value their work.
3. I have never made a change in a story to please my readers. However, I do listen closely to the feed back that they give me. If several of my readers are asking the same question, I consider whether or not the story should answer that question. If someone points out a plot blunder, then I’m going to go back and repair it. I love getting ideas and suggestions and have used this feed back on more then one occasion. But never to please the audience. I write for the story, NOTHING else. If what they suggest is something that would improve the story, then I go with it. If they suggest or request something that does not flow with the story, it has no chance to make it in.
4.a. I love reading things as they are being written (other then having to wait for the next installment!). I love giving other writers my input. I find that it increases my investment in the work. It give me a chance to make predictions and to discuss the work with the writer. I love it!
4.b. I think the era of passive fandom is long gone. Us fans have been influencing the creative flow for years now. I think that the writers that choose to present their works as a complete piece continue to have passive fans, at least more so then the internet writers. But they still have access to public opinion in an increasing fashion. After a work is presented, the readers will have the option of flooding the internet with their commentary. If a writer reads these, they will be influenced by their readers. Art and writing are a special and amazing process of creation that takes on a life and meaning beyond what the creator bestows upon it. Writing and art have always been an interactive process between the creator and the viewer/reader. The internet has merely intensified that.
4.c. Fan art and fan fiction are something that I have never really decided upon. There is a part of me that feels it is a tribute to the original creator; a way of engaging in the creative process. Something that every artist can relate to. Yet, there is a possessive part of me too. I don’t like the idea of other people taking my characters and changing them into something else. Some fan art is so respectful that I do see it as a tribute, but other fan art seems to bastardize the original work. Luckily, I am an unknown and thus have never had anyone write a fan fiction or create a fan art. 😛
The more popular my writing becomes, the more I face this question. Ultimately, I let my creative gut tell me what to do with feed back. I have listened to it since I first made a creative effort. Why stop listening to it now? We’ll see where this storm of creative change takes us. I find it exciting. Every age has a point that the creative world is fundamentally redefined. I wonder if we have reached that point now? I am looking forward to seeing what comes of this.
There is one certainty. Regardless of the changes that the internet might bring, the creative flow and process of creation will continue. There will always be art and writing. Nothing will ever stop the creative urge that the artist feels.
This article gets a huge 5 stars for addressing an interesting artistic hurdle. I think the ideas were presented well and I think that my lengthy response above is evidence that I found it thought provoking.