• Melanie Wilson

When Writers Make Bad Choices for our Beloved Characters

Updated: Feb 3

I hadn’t read the reviews, because I didn’t want to spoil the season for myself, so forgive me for being woefully out of date, but last night I just finished the finale season of Orange is the New Black.

Today I am depressed, and I can’t shake it.

Plus, I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about the plight of the characters and the choices that the writers made for them.

Not that I think it is unrealistic, or that the writers should have tied everything up in pretty bows, but the reality about the future of the inmates is so dim, regardless of what social programs are created by the administration.

I am not one to comment much on social justice issues, but this one left me raw.

Writers have the power to transport readers to new places. They can show them things they have never seen before, and they can make them feel new emotions. That is what happened here. To me.

I am angry with these writers. Others are angry with the writers of Game of Thrones for not ending the story the way they hoped it would end. In this case, fans of the series have a chance for redemption as it was just announced that George R.R. Martin will finish his book series, and it will have an alternate ending.

There are whole fandom worlds online of people who rewrite endings. For Harry Potter. Star Trek. Sherlock Holmes.

Or sometimes, readers just want more, and they are wiling to do the work themselves.

Gone with the Wind is an example of a fictional story that the fans couldn’t get enough of. The original novel, published in 1936, gained popularity immediately. Author Margaret Mitchell never wrote a sequel, but her estate authorized one to be written, and Scarlett was published in 1991. The fans were not satisfied with where the author took the story. Across the world, many alternate published versions and fan fiction telling different stories exist.

The ultimate example of a writer who changes endings is Quentin Tarantino, who (spoiler alert) in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood allows Sharon to Tate live--an ending that was bittersweet for those of us who knew differently; and who revised World War II history in Inglourious Basterds with a “what if” version that includes destroying Hitler and his companions.

In my monthly book group, we often love a book most of the way through until, at some point, we don’t. We think the writer often doesn’t know where the story should go, and just lets it fizzle out. We often discuss what might have been a better ending.

Have you ever been annoyed or angry with a writer? What book or TV show can you think of that deserves a different ending to be written? How did the current ending impact you? Have you or anyone you know written any fan fiction? I’m curious to hear your responses.

#orangeisthenewblack #onceuponatimeinhollywood #quentintarantino #inglouriousbasterds #revisinghistory #bookclub



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