I was chatting on a loop the other day and an interesting discussion began. Still thinking about it today. Most of us write because we enjoy it and we have a story to tell. The story we eventually create might even be published somewhere. After that, there are no guaratees about anything. It could be well recieved or roundly panned and most of us pretty much know right off the bat, we aren't gonna get rich off of it.
I'm going to attempt to corral my scattered thoughts into some little bit of order here and apply this discussion into series writing. How do you feel when you buy the second or third or even fourth book in a series and find a favorite character has suddenly done a 180 degree turn? In books one, two, and three you've gotten teasing glimpses of a man who is tortured, rugged, tough, and BIG TIME alpha. The author has described him this way and whetted your interest. Finally his book comes out and he's suddenly different. He's into rainbows, puppy dogs, and long walks on the beach. Are you disappointed? Hell yeah, you're disappointed. You wanted to find out how this guy ticks. What is his past? How can the heroine reach into his tortured soul and heal him with her love and lots of really great sex?
That's pretty disappointing stuff to a reader and, as for me, I probably wouldn't buy this author again. But it's the authors' perogative, right? This is her book, her series. Does she owe her readers, her fans, any consideration at all? I mean, she is the creative force behind the series and this is her literary baby so why can't she change her characters up if she wants?
I guess the question of the day is....does an author owe anything to her readers? Personally, I think she DOES. How would you feel if I invited you to a full out Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and then you show up and I serve a baloney sandwich? Are you disappointed? Probably. But then, this is my house and I can serve what I want, right?
I believe, as writers, we owe something to our readers. It's an expectation thing. Yes, I have created this character and now I must be true to him. He'll surely be flawed but redeemable. He'll be hot and sexy and yes, he MIGHT like rainbows and puppy dogs and long walks on the beach but those would only be small facets his character, they won't overwhelm the picture I've already painted in previous books.