As a reader, or perhaps a writer your self, you may have a certain idea of what an author’s vision about his story is like. A few years ago, before I really started to work on my ideas and try to put them down on paper, I had such a vision (which I kept for a long time and only recently realized it might not always be the case): to me an author (but it also applies to any other creations) is the master of his world, everything they say is considered ‘canon’ in the story, no matter if it is good or bad. They are the ones who imagined the universe, the characters and the whole plot of the story they tell (whether it’s inspired by real events, like historical books, or based off another story or completely made up, doesn’t matter) and so they are the ones who can whatever they want about the story, and that despite all that other people might say.
A few examples of this are when J.K. Rowling said that in her mind Dumbledore was gay, fact that was not ever mentioned in the stories though it may have been implied a little. It was quite a controversial announcement and many people were not okay with that. The fact is, however, that it’s her universe, whatever she imagines in the books is her decision and cannot be contested. Criticized yes but never contested. It is fact. Or when George Lucas imposed his changing vision of the Star Wars franchise on his fans, changing beloved details to satisfy the image of the movies and the universe he had. Perhaps it’s not exactly the same but to me they have the right to do that, it is, after all, their universes and their creations. I, myself, don’t condone all the decision Lucas made for example, a lot of the CGI that was added afterwards takes out the nostalgia and the charm of the original movies, but I respect it is his decision to offer his ‘true’ vision to his fans. However I also support the fact that he should allow people to have access to the ‘original movies’, when they were still untouched or barely changed. Not just to please them but also because it feel right because they were still good at that stage, perhaps even a bit better than before being changed. Plus it might be financially very profitable to the owner of the licence.
Anyways, this is just to say that an author is the reigning decision maker about his own stories or universes! But one cannot forget that it is also the fans that make the story popular and give the author credit by loving it and making it known. The fans take the universe and make it their own, each person takes it for themselves, that cannot be denied. Still, the author is ultimately the one who decides what comes out in the end, and that should always be independent of the fans, it should his or her own decision. As a fan you have to respect that. I know it’s hard, I for one had trouble accepting that when I read the end of the Inheritence cycle, I was so frustrated by how Paolini had decided to end the cycle, it didn’t feel right because there were still so many questions and things that hadn’t been explored… Or when I read Incarceron, a very good book in two parts by Catherine Fisher, and I found out at the end of the second book that the story ended like that despite me wanting something else so desperately… Yeah, it was hard. It took me time to get over it but, and I think starting to write my own stories helped, we all have to understand that an author has a precise vision for what they want to create and there is nothing we can do about it (especially when it’s already done), it is how it is. Just like real life. You can’t always get what you want, despite how hard you wish for it, so you come to terms with it and keep moving on.
This leads us to the point I wanted to make here. As and author I have realized that I have a precise vision of what I want to make but also that I don’t know everything about my story. In the general public’s idea, an author is thought to have a very precise idea of everything he writes, to know all about his story. As a writer, thought amateur, I can tell you it is very far from the truth, for me at least. I know what I want to create for my stories, I know what will be liked and what might not be, and I know I don’t care because this is what I want to write. But I also know that I have blanks and things that are blurry all over the place. You see, I don’t really feel, like you might imagine, as the creator of my stories in a sense. What I mean is that I am at the same time the ‘god’ reigning over the universe I imagine, knowing everything and capable of anything I want, like bending the rules or creating new ones. I don’t really feel like that. Of course I am the one who imagine the universe and the characters and the plot, and perhaps I was such an entity at the beginning, when I was still playing ‘who has the most Super Sayan transformations’ with my brother in our garden, but now I feel different.
I feel like I am more of an observer, a semi-omniscient narrator/viewer of the stories I create. I have scenes and ideas that pop into my head but it is difficult to say if I really decided to imagine them or if they came to me, created by the world itself. It’s complicated to make the difference at this point. Of course I still make decisions from time to time, like in Echoes of Power, which is a story about a teenager discovering he can use magic, where I consciously decided what the main character look like to sort of make a point, instead of simply let my imagination follow its own course. I, as a writer, am more of a historian, glimpsing moments and scenes of the story and discovering it piece by piece, than a true godly creator. At least that is how I feel. And I think that I am not alone, I think a lot of other creators are like this. That idea came to me when I was thinking about an eventual interview I might give one day, when I have become rich and famous and people want to know all about my stories, I asked myself: what if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to? Like, what happened to this character to make him become like this? What if I know that something happened but I can’t say what exactly…? Will it make me look like a bad author? And I realized that no, it wouldn’t. I might be looked at weirdly but what i have created and written doesn’t need to have answers to everything. Realism, making the story believable doesn’t necessarily mean to be able to explain everything, just like with History. Which, ironically, makes this more realistic, more life-like…
Anyways! This is a rant I wanted to get out to you readers and authors, ask as many questions as you want but if you don’t get an answer or don’t get one that satisfies you because you are not okay with what the creator of your beloved story made something different from what you had hoped, remember that in the realm of the story, the author is king. and if he doesn’t have the answer it doesn’t mean something has no explanation, that is where ‘canon’ ends and ‘fanfiction’ begins, where you make the story’s universe your own. Respect the bad and blurry sides of what you love and enjoy, imperfections are what makes something perfect! (Such cool, very philosophy, so wow!)
Okay, that’s all! Thank you for taking the time to read, and sorry if I wasn’t very coherent or clear, I wrote this in one go… Alright, see you people later!
Soar Vandergeid out!
tldr; An author always has the final word, no matter what, even if he doesn’t have an answer.