Why is it that so many writers of popular fiction have a tendency to be complete douchebags? I admit, I have never been a fan of Russell T Davies anyway, because I have always thought his writing is shit, but this (very spoilery for the latest Torchwood mini-series so don't even link-hover if you don't want to know) interview
made me actively loathe him.
It reminded me strongly of that other British SF show writer who once made some ill-advised and fan-rage inducing comments. But at least he
has more than three times Rusty's talent --- even if he himself doesn't always recognise it in such a way that he doesn't, you know, also occasionally write shit things himself. It was something about the condescending and mocking tone --- the whole "if you can't handle drama" --- pompous head wobble --- "go read poetry." It struck me as very, very similar to "now turn off the telly and read a good book".
No. You don't get to tell people how to react to your fiction. It's done, it's out there, it's not yours anymore. I understand being protective about your creation. Writing is hard
. I don't do it professionally and it gives me hell. That doesn't mean you have automatic immunity to criticism.
But it wasn't just the comments that riled me. It was the sensibility behind them. It was that whole "oh, this will make the audience...[insert verb of your choice]" approach to writing. That aspect of relying
upon a reaction you will then dismiss if it's not the one you want. I know that writing is about manipulation to a large degree, and television works on audiences understanding that, but it doesn't mean you have to be so callous and calculating all the time. Once in a while it would be really nice if a writer described an event in their fiction as happening because they felt like it was how the story should go --- not that they wanted to set people gnashing their teeth/whooping for joy. Does it sound like you know what you're doing? Maybe not. Do you always know exactly what you're doing when you're writing? I sure as hell don't.
But then, I truly think you're a cad if you write something merely for a cheap sucker-punch to the guts of your audience. It's something I always struggle with, and partly the reason why my plotting leaves a metric fuckton to be desired. And these writers who make these douchebaggy statements are, invariably, popular
--- so what do I know?
I just feel that you should serve the story, not your ego. And not a) whine, or b) mock when your audience reacts badly to your lazy writing. Is that too much to ask?