An Audience’s Influence.

If you’re a Supernatural fan that follows the fandom’s internet community, you already know that there’s a huge firestorm regarding a particular character that apparently has been killed off the show.

Yes, what I dreaded in a previous post has come to pass…sort of.

Castiel was “killed” but whether he returns or not, it’s hard to tell. The writers of the show aren’t making things easier for them by being vague and only giving signs that Castiel is indeed dead…at the moment and won’t be around…until further notice.

But see, I’m not the only die-hard Castiel fan. In fact, the degree of obsession of some of these fans on Tumblr makes my addiction look like a casual hobby. There are fans that even created an entire website dedicated to bringing Castiel back to the show (www.Save Castiel.com).

That’s what I call devotion.

But where there are fans, there are also haters. There are those who outright HATE Castiel and are glad he’s gone from the show. Fans and Haters have gotten into heated debates as if Castiel was an actual person who died.

It’s really interesting to see how much a secondary character that first appeared in the middle of the series could get so much more attention than the two main characters.

Now, I’ve heard interesting things from the Castiel haters. A lot of them seem to believe Castiel should have been killed at the end of Season 5 or 6 and that he only remains due to pressure from the fans. The writers even admitted that Castiel had evolved into a much larger role and presence in the show than they had intended due to the fans’ response.

But now it seems the writers are doing what they feel is necessary for the story regardless of fan opinion….or at least that can be the case if they don’t bring Castiel back.

Which (finally) brings me to my question.

How much influence should or does the audience have on a piece of work?

If a story is written to be enjoyed and loved by others, how much of what they say they want should dictate what actually happens in the story?

I’m personally torn on the subject…especially for this particular example.

There are Castiel fans who actually think Dean and Castiel are madly in love with each other and need to show it more, like you know, kiss and stuff….despite the fact it’s quite obvious Dean is straight and if Castiel had any sexual inclination, it would be towards a woman as shown by that kiss he gave that female demon. It’s rather obvious the writers have no intention of making any of the characters gay (well with the exception of Crowley of course).

There are others ideas I’ve heard that have made me cringe and look away. Some ideas would be cool to see, but would be detrimental for the overall story, and I can see that.

But okay, they’re not writers. They didn’t study this sort of thing. But still, a lot of people want Castiel back, regardless of how they do it.

I know the writers needed to get rid of Castiel, and a lot of fans recognize this as well, due to the fact that he’s too powerful and too much of a Deus Ex Machina for Sam and Dean. I get that. Most people get that. But is eliminating him completely the only way?

If he was a minor character with only some die-hard fans, I’d say that wouldn’t be a problem. But with this much of an outcry, I’d say they better put on their thinking caps and think of another way to solve the Deus Ex Machina problem without killing him off.  I for one think it’s not just because of the fans, but also because Castiel is a great character that has yet maxed out his potential.

Killing him off is like killing the golden goose before it laid all its eggs.

But generally speaking, how much influence should the audience have when it comes to writing?

Seriously, how much?

I have no clue, so I’m turning to you guys for answers in the comments. Does the audience’s response or feedback dictate if a story is good or is it up to the writer? But then why write at all if the audience has no importance at all?

Let me know what you think!

 

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5 thoughts on “An Audience’s Influence.

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  1. This…. is an excellent question. And one writers should definitely think about when they’re creating a series/looking to publish a series of books or whatever the medium may be. I know myself well enough to say that if I was in that position I would stick to my plan, but to a point it can be arrogant to think that you are the only one that would have the ONLY right ideas for this story. There are times, i’m sure, when a writer interacts with fans that the fans would come up with something the writer never considered, or hadn’t thought about in quite this way before. This is what happens when your work is no longer yours and it becomes a part of a larger community. Writers of single-title novels do not have to consider this.

    So in the end I would say, don’t write fan service material, and don’t steal from fans, but if an idea strikes you and actually works for the work and characters, maybe don’t ignore it. This goes to the people you initially share a work with too, because as we know everyone has opinions.

    1. I agree.

      I think in the end you gotta trust your own story instincts and sense of taste.

      Follow the plan, but if feedback provides another and better way, use it….but make it your own. That’s what the readers want anyways.

  2. Well, I should say do not have to consider this as much, about the single-title novel thing. Readers will still have their opinions, but it wont influence anything further down the line because there is nothing further down the line hehe

    1. Except for maybe demands for a sequel?

      I am also in two minds on this one. On the one hand, I think that a writer should be able to write whatever they want, and readers can just like it or lump it. But on the other, part of the reason writers write is because they want people to enjoy reading what they’ve written, so they’re probably going to want to consider what the audience wants to read instead of what they want them to read – to use a business analogy one of my friends used to describe EA games, it becomes less of a supply and demand thing and more of a supply and annoy.

      In summary, I have no idea.

      1. Heh. It’s definitely a mind game.

        I think in the end its all about telling the best story. Cause you can’t give the fans EXACTLY want they want, its better to exceed their expectations, but it’s a crime to go lower than their expectations….well, if they have good taste anyways.

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