One of the wonderful things about being a writer is having the freedom of choice. Creating worlds where anything goes, characters interact, settings suggest theme/atmosphere, and genre. A writer holds all of these things and more in the palm of his/her hand. That, me hearties, is also why writers write.
Characters move in and out of a writer’s mind, suggesting plot twists, relationship arcs, who will live and who will die. The power of all this lies in the writer’s hands. At least that’s what writer’s would like to believe. Or does it?
Julian Fellowes terminated two primary characters in Downton Abbey, proving none of the cast is, never was, or ever will be safe. Was this the act of a writer choosing to steer the storyline in another direction for the sake of ratings? Story? Or was this a vendetta against actors who wouldn’t renew their contracts? Whatever the cause, Downton Abbey, and its fans, will never be the same.
Take another one of my favorite shows, The Vampire Diaries. Writers of this series prove no one, not the actors or the storyline, are safe. In this series, major characters are killed without pause. The paranormal theme allows writers to reanimate previously dead characters however. I don’t think we’ll see this happen in Downton Abbey, but oh! if it could only be so. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Downton Abbey. The Vampire Diaries. What we have here is fearless writing. Taking chances without worry of angering viewers or readers. Doing what is inherent to the plot/characters. It takes great courage to write like this. It takes trust. Believing in a final vision.
In the instance of Downton Abbey and The Vampire Diaries, the fan base is huge. Enraging that fan base is a cataclysmic death sentence to the series and to the writer’s credability. It takes a great amount of faith to employ phenomenal choices like these.
How fearless are you willing to be as a writer? Can you name another writer or series who has inspired you?