In a recent interview with MTV, author of The Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare, and fellow YA author, Maggie Stiefvater talks about the world of fandom.
Take a look at the interview with the two authors and MTV. What MTV thought was just an interview about fandom, it’s actually more than that.
“The Age Of Accessibility”
Cassandra Clare: I think when an author is really available and around, there is this tendency of fans to consider them part of the fandom for their work. And it can be wonderful to feel part of the fandom. After all, here are these people who consider your characters as real people, and care about them, just like you do.
Maggie Stiefvater: Until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have said there were many problems with being accessible online, aside from the impossible math. It’s wedding math. There’s one happy couple to greet everyone and dozens of wedding guests who all need attention, and it’s impossible for it to be equal. Except, you know, in this case, I’m the happy couple, and my tens of thousands of readers are the guests who would all like (and honestly, deserve) a thank you note for the gifts they brought. The biggest problem with that is figuring out who you choose to engage with, because it becomes impossible to nod at every guest.
Clare: Being considered a member of your own fandom does breed weird issues. You all care about the work, but as the creator you are the one who controls it. So it’s like you’re all on a bus together, but you’re the only one who can decide where the bus goes. After a while, when a fandom becomes large enough, that imbalance of power breeds an awful tension. I have never seen that not happen. I have never seen any author or showrunner who has been able to prevent it.
You watch as some fans begin to separate you from your work. They talk about how much they love the work, but they hate you personally, sometimes intensely, specifically for being the person who has control over the characters. They talk about how you don’t deserve your characters or don’t understand them, how the characters should be taken away from you. Again, this can be cognitively dissonant because not only did you create the character, they character is, always, in some aspect, you. That can be disquieting.”
You could read more of the interview here.
Clare has received various disturbing comments from fans including constant streams of hate, threats, and insults which eventually lead to her break from the social media. Other authors, including John Green, have also received threats from their fans as well.
Although it’s great to see that many people are supporting the authors, it also gets quite disconcerting when fans start to go to the extreme. Remember that these authors are just people writing what they love. We don’t want to scare them away. If you don’t agree with it, either discuss with it your friends or discuss it in a mannerly way instead of threatening, hating, or insulting the author. There’s a difference between criticism and hate. And there’s a fine line when one crosses it. You may just be behind a screen typing these things, but you need to be careful of what you say just like you do in real life.