Monday, January 16, 2012
Does Stephen King Have Nightmares?
There is a point to that question, I promise, and I’m getting there.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while know that I have a secret identity as a writer of erotica. (This still makes me APML - a new acronym I’ve just invented that stands for Absolutely Piss Myself Laughing.)
Book 2 got published a few days ago. I like it a lot more than Book 1, so that’s something, right? The thing is though, when Book 1 came out, I didn’t really know about Goodreads. Now I know, and with Book 2 I’m doing that thing that you should never do — obsessively watching the comments by people who are currently reading it.
This might be weird, but you know what else I find a bit weird? Stopping reading a book in the middle and then going online and talking about it. Maybe that’s just me, but once I’m reading, I’ve committed to it. Although it does give you an interesting insight into what people think.
Some background: Apart from being the story where I proudly retain the Aussie spelling of the word “arse”, Book 2 is kind of suspensy/espionagey. Well, as espionagey as I could make it after doing research by watching Spooks. Long story short, some pretty awful things happen to one of the characters along the way, the wouldn’t-wish-it-on-my-worst-enemy kind of things, there’s a twist I’m quite proud of, and it’s all resolved happily in the end. Because that’s what a story is, right? Conflict —> resolution.
What surprised me was the emotional investment evident in some of the comments on Goodreads. I mean, some readers were really worried about this character. One of them had to take a break between chapters because it was “so intense.”
My first instinct: For serious, you guys, it’s not real. It’s all made up. Never happened.
My second instinct: I am an evil puppet master, sadistically manipulating your emotions. Dance for me! DANCE!
Which brings me back to my question: Does Stephen King have nightmares? Or is there a weird author/reader divide? Despite creating the whole situation, are authors strangely immune from its effects? Are authors immune because we created these characters and this world from scratch? Do we know it doesn’t really matter if we kill our darlings, because we’ve got another hundred clambering for attention in our heads?
Or am I just a sociopath?
Labels: Goodreads, Things to tell my therapist, What happens under a pseudonym stays under a pseudonym