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The Art of Listening To Your Fans, Happy Endings and Killing Characters

Sooo this post may end up being a rant about the latest TVD episode. There may be a few huge spoilers or I may be able to contain myself and stop myself from saying any spoilers.

So last weeks episode of The Vampire Dairies was painful. It was sad and it hurt and I am still recovering. I have been through many character deaths all of them sad and painful and hard to move on from. But this one? This one is impossible. This one made me want to cry for a week and pretend it didn't happen. But it did... and sadly I don't have time to cry for a whole week. Also we have five episodes left! It hurts my heart to think that the last five episodes of The Vampire Diaries are so close. That show is... well its a lot of things to me and has helped me through a lot really hard times. But anyways I plan on making a goodbye Vampire Diaries blog post for when the last episode airs... in just a few short weeks.
Because I'm so sad and Klause :(
Anyways! Deep breath. There will be no crying until the last episode. But this latest TVD brought up an interesting question for me. When you have such a huge, fanatic fan base do you do what your fans want or do what you want? Authors like J.K. Rowling, Shannon Messenger and even Stephanie Meyer have and had a huge fan base while writing their books. They were very outspoken fans. They had certain expectations and certain things they would and did really want to see in those books. Shows like TVD and Teen Wolf also have huge followings and fans expect happy endings for the end of the show. TVD and Julie Plec (the creator) along with the other writers have shown that happy endings come in different ways and shapes. Happy endings aren't always the guy gets the girl or that the guy even lives. Happy endings are more coming full circle. You end on a high note, a note that respects the character's life and all that he/she has been through. Despite a certain death on TVD I have full trust that Julie Plec will respect that character and give him the ending he deserves. A good wrap up to a great life on the show.

The same goes for authors. Respect your characters. Don't just kill them off willy nilly for the sake of shock and awe. Don't kill them off just because you want to. Have a reason for it! And please do not put your body count at like a hundred! Don't kill beloved side characters unless it furthers the plot. Don't kill the love interest unless you really know what your doing. And for goodness' sakes people do not kill the protagonist! That's the one writing rule I actually follow! If you're J.K. Rowling you obviously have no idea how to hold back. You kill characters for no real rhyme or reason. If your feeling the urge to kill fine go ahead, kill that character but make sure you have a purpose for that character's death and a good, poetic or at least satisfying ending for them. Exercise self-restraint. Think it through long and hard and then do it. Also a tip, if it pains you at the thought of killing this character then your doing something right.
Me to writers who kill their characters like its nothing.

But as a writer what do you do? There are a million voices tell you how to shape your story. You want your story to go a certain way, your characters also end up chiming in and letting you know where they want their story to go and fans scream and yell through the Internet where they want you to go with the story. Who do you listen to? You, your characters, or your fans? Or is a jumbled mess of all three? What I've learned from TV show writers like Julie Plec is, you listen to you and your characters and you keep in mind what your fans want. Don't completely destroy your show. Don't go so completely away from what your fans want that you lose them but also follow your heart and follow your characters because ultimately those two are what make the story real.

This post is kind of a mess but right now I'm kind of a mess too when it comes to happy endings, killing characters and listening to fans. On the one hand I love the happy endings. Let the prince save the princess and them walk into the sunlight (unless their vampires! Please don't do that!!). Let the girl have the ending she deserves. Give her the prince, the life she always wanted after all the crazy awful stuff you put her though. But on the other hand you can't make it cliché. If it's cliché then it's not a satisfying ending. A happy ending and a satisfying ending are two very different things. A satisfying ending doesn't necessarily have to be a happy ending. It can be sad and a little tragic but it also has to give the characters what they deserve. You don't have to give them everything they've ever wanted at the end but at least give them one or two things. Love. Life. A home. A family. Whatever it is that character wants give it to them even if it's not exactly what the fans expected because at the end of the day you know your characters best.
How does that saying go? Writers are why I have trust issues. So ya know stop killing everyone!

So I guess what I'm saying is respect your fans but do what you as the writer feels is right. And please, as a fan of many, many shows and books myself, be careful who you kill and why you kill them!

I may or may not be back on Friday with a post. I hope I have time to do another one but if not I will find something to write about for next Wednesday. (It'll probably be about Disney because we're only like two weeks away from going!!).

Have a great week everyone!


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