Monday, August 29, 2011

Wants vs. Needs

Since WOLFSBANE's release I've had an uptick of emails from fans and I've noticed the rise of a certain type of email: those messages telling me how the series has to end. When I was responding to one of these messages I thought it might be best to post my response on this blog because I think this topic is one that many writers struggle with and I wanted to be sure all of you understand where my head and heart are at when I'm writing - and particularly when I'm writing the ending of a series.

Here's my reply to a reader hailing from Team Ren (but it applies to Team Shay, too):

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. You're absolutely right - I do receive mountains of emails, but I try as much as possible to answer all of them :)

I truly appreciate your enthusiasm and kind words about my books. I can't fully answer your request or question because I won't ever reveal plot points about the novels. I don't blame you at all for loving Ren - I love him too. I love all my characters like they are family. When good things happen to them I'm joyful and I cry when they're hurting (literally, I cry when I write painful scenes in my books).

Calla might end up with Ren, or Shay, or she might end up on her own. Though I know the love story is prominent in the Nightshade series the overarching plot is a much bigger story that involves all the characters. Each character has her/his own choices to make and her/his own paths follow, and how they act will determine where they end up with relation to one another. What I'm trying to convey is that the story is what determines relationships. I am so grateful for readers like you who are passionate about the books - but it's important to know that I receive just as many emails telling me Calla must end up with Shay as I do from people who prefer Ren. As a Ren supporter I'm sure that's hard for you to believe, but I swear it's absolutely true. I've been astonished at the passion from fans of both boys - it's deeply moving. I'm sympathetic to both sides because I've adored both boys from the first day they introduced themselves to me on the page.

But even if I received emails only in support of one character or another, it wouldn't change the story. It wouldn't alter what happens to Calla, her pack, the Keepers, and the Searchers - because the story is what drives my writing and I have to be true to that. If I wrote characters or plot to try to please everyone that would be akin to lying to someone just to try to keep them happy. I can't write like that, just as I couldn't live like that.

Please know that my writing the story for its own sake doesn't mean I don't care about readers' feelings. I care so much about your feelings. Every time I receive an email (and I receive lots!!!) asking for Calla to choose Shay or Ren I get torn up inside because I really would like everyone to be happy. But this is a complicated story with joys and sorrows, and it will bring joys and sorrows to readers and characters.

As I said in the opening. Calla might choose Ren, she might choose Shay. She might choose to lead her pack on her own as an alpha. She might not make it to the end of the story. After all, she is in the middle of a brutal, centuries-long war, and warriors fall. So very much is on the line in Bloodrose. Everything is on the line.

What I can promise is that the story I've written is the story that spoke to me. Not the story I wanted to tell, but the story I needed to tell. It is written honestly and from the depths of my soul. I couldn't have written it any other way and I hope you can understand why that remains true, and always will.

Sincerely,

Andrea

35 comments:

  1. Bravo. I can't believe you get e mails telling you what SHOULD happen. It's YOUR story and the only thing I hope for is an ending that's right for the characters, whatever that may be *cough* Team Ren *cough* j/k ;)

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  2. Personally I think to stop the teams, since I'm neither unless their's a Team Ansel :) I think it would be funny if Shay and Ren run off into the sunset together leaving Calla to look after the pack.

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  3. *gasp* Rudi! That IS the ending! No - just kidding. But I love it. They would make an adorable couple :)

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  4. Great post. Either way I can't wait to see how you end the series:) My only hope is that you don't have a HAMLET type ending where everybody dies.

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  5. Love this, and it's awesome to see how you approach and respond to fan mail!!

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  6. Beautifully said. I'm team Ren, and yeah, I'd like him and Calla to end up together. But I'll also be happy with whatever ending you choose, so long as Calla is happy with her choice; that Ren is happy and yes...even Shay. Can't wait to read Bloodrose, I absolutely adored Wolfsbane!
    -Jessica

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  7. You said it perfectly. I didn't realize authors get e-mails asking them to change a possible outcome. It never occurred to me to do that. It's your story, I'm just along for the ride :-)

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  8. Absolutely LOVED how this was put!

    And hey, if and I say IF fans don't like how it ends, they can always write their own fanfic about it.

    Can't wait for Bloodrose! That first chapter left me aching for more! ;)

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  9. Eternal-moonie: Yes! That's (one of the reasons) why fanfic is awesome! :)

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  10. Well done! I love your respect for Story (and your characters, too!).

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  11. You responded SO PERFECT to that <333 And even though I am TEAM SHAY... I will be happy however Calla ends up, because it's a lovely story with amazing characters! <3

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  12. I love your response~ I haven't taken the effort to email message you about my fangirlism because I find it embarrassing to do that to an author. I'm so excited for Bloodrose!

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  13. Thanks for posting this e-mail. You answered her such a fantastic, honest sincere, way. I myself am Team Ren. I have loved his character from the very beginning. I have enjoyed Nightshade and Wolsbane, parts of both stories made me cry and broke my heart, but I love the way you write. Thanks for putting your heart and soul into them!

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  14. Now I am more excited for BloodRose :)

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  15. Honest and heartfelt answer to a difficult question. It's always been your characters and your story.

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  16. I love both boys. They both have strengths, so I could be happy either way...I think...lol...It never occurred to me to tell authors how a story should end. I just assumed it was their story to tell. Reading about what people are emailing made me chuckle. I'm always amazed at people's reactions to characters who don't really exist. I don't leave myself out. Goodness knows, I've become obsessed over books and the characters. Sometimes I can't stop thinking about them and I have to give myself a good talking to...lol...

    Now I'm even more obsessed to learn how this series is going to end! Thanks for the madness, Andrea...ha ha ha...

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  17. Beautiful response, Andrea. Your description of the war and the fact that warriors fall gave me chills.

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  18. I absolutely love this post. I think that authors should ultimately write the stories that they want to tell, not what readers want to hear, even if I don't always agree with it. I am so excited for Bloodrose.

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  19. I want Calla to end up with Shay ... and Ren to take up with Sabrine and run away to the Searchers with all the other young wolves!

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  20. I really did not like the book. I can't believe my favorite character DIES. And Shay kind of acts like Callas a baby.
    I also think that in the book Calla was not as strong as she was in the first one.

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  21. Hi i read the book and i have to say the ending was awful! i could find no other way around it besides you taking the easy way out. This the best series i have ever read, totally my type of book, and you even inspired me to write my own little story. BUT i was absolutely disappointed when you just killed him off. Even if half the fans knew it was an option, we expected you to be a little more reasonable. I never despised a main role character(shay) so much in my life. i felt he was way too controlling over calla. and it would have made EVERYONE happy (or at least content) if you just left her to take care of the pack herself. I will NEVER read Andrea Cremer Again.

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    1. i agree PROFUSELY. I will never. Ever.

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  22. I'm sorry but I hated the book too! I can't believe you would do that to the best character in the series. Instead of having Calla chose one of them, you killed him off. That's a cop-out!! I hate when authors do that! And I cannot stand Shay, he is way too controlling and pushy! I liked Calla in the first book, she was strong, but then she became really selfish, annoying and weak. I hated how she could't chose one guy, but would make out with both behind their backs! Grr. I am so mad about how this book ends! This book just ruins the series for me, and I am sorry but I won't be reading another book from you again, Andrea.

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    1. i agree PROFUSELY. I will never. Ever. Scars from books if there ever was. i don't want to sound mean. cuz i know u put a lot of effort in this. but i hated the ending. should've kept us content.

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  24. Wow, whatever happened to 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'? Your books are fantastic, Andrea! It was so nice to meet you at the Red Balloon. I hadn't read any of your books yet when I met you, but I got them all that night and couldn't put them down! I finished all three within days of getting them. Thank you for sharing these stories with us!

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  25. (Also, I don't think the ending was a copout or the easy way out. I think it must be incredibly hard to have a character you love die. And Calla did make her choice before he died).
    x Katherine

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    1. Actually Shay pretty much betrayed Ren and caught her off guard when he ''Lunged'' like always at her...

      she never voiced who she really wanted because he died before she could say anything...In my opinion it was a cop out.

      I read all 3 books through and through. loved them. I'm not going to not read any more of her books...

      but something an Author should always consider..(me being in training to be one..)
      readers are most important...without them your books wont be recognized for the goodness that they are...just because you wanted to ''follow how you felt while writing...'' doesn't mean you should make the Majority of the readers suffer...

      that just causes bad sales...a drop in fan base...and people hating the books (WHEN THERE ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD!) ''Cough except for Ren dying for no reason..''

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    2. I have to disagree. I do not think a fanbase should influence a writer's choices of plot and characterization.

      Though, in this specific case, I didn't agree with the ending. But that doesn't mean I feel like the author should let my opinion dictate her writing. It just means I have a strong difference of opinion in this case.

      For me, this ending didn't feel right. It felt odd. And it's not because I was a Ren supporter. I still liked the ending of Pearl Harbor even though I cried myself senseless over it. But that ending fit. This one felt inconsistent. It didn't seem like it stayed true to the story.

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