Friday, August 26, 2016

An Open Letter to Sarah J. Maas (and everyone else)

So I have a lot of feelings. 

Empire of Storms, the 5th book in my favorite series, is coming out soon and some stores put it out early (lol and that mistake bookstore in O'Hare). And there are a lot of angry people out there mad about people posting spoilers, which isn't what I want to discuss. (My opinion on THAT, real quick, is post it carefully and know where not to look but also don't get mad if someone posts a picture of the FIRST PAGE?! That literally reveals no new information whatsoever?!)


This is an open letter to Sarah (and other writers and kind of to myself?).  Because she's a wonderful and hilarious person who (hopefully) won't even need to read this because she's a badass and knows how great she is. But in case other people are frustrated, and just to sooth my soul, I wanted to write this. 

Dear Sarah, 

I love that you love Legolas. I love that you are a nerd. I love that you posted this story you loved online and people liked it enough for other, more powerful people, to see and want to publish it. I love that you dressed up the first time I met you at ComicCon and you were so excited about EVERYTHING. I love that you are open with how your friendships have changed you. I love that you write characters that I love, and if I don't love, I respect. Obviously, I love a lot that you do. 

I love that you continue to write stories from your heart and soul. I think once at ComicCon or somewhere you called Throne of Glass "the story of your heart, while ACOTAR was the story of your soul" (sorry if I got that way wrong). A lot of people on Twitter are upset with you because the story is not going as they wanted. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, their hurtful words do nothing more than attack an incredibly talented person for writing their own story, the story of their heart. Disclaimer: I love your books because I think they are well written, with interesting and ever developing characters, with a fearless look at sacrifice and stakes, and developed and interesting world. The guys are cool too, I guess. But it's not the honest reviews or critiques that get me. It's not the story or writing for some, and I'm super okay with that. It's the hateful words over character relationships that irk me. It's the ones that, in a very hurtful way, say "I know better.". Well, in my opinion, no one knows (or should know) better than the writer. 

So while this is a letter to you, I guess this part can be to any and all authors. As an aspiring writer myself, the scariest part is putting your work out there. I was terrified giving my half-assed stories to the 12 people in my creative writing class, none the less a story I loved to thousands of people I don't even know. So kudos to you, for even doing that. Kudos for writing a story you needed to write. Kudos for writing a story YOU loved. People become so invested in a story and a world and characters that they feel some sort of ownership over them, which isn't always a bad thing and I personally think is a tribute to the author and the storytelling. 

But in the end, it's all yours. 

And while your monetary success relies on the people reading, while, perhaps even more importantly, you are a storyteller and want your words to reach people, only YOU know the story you are trying to tell. Sometimes parts of it are scrapped, sometimes parts of it are changed, sometimes parts of it are there from beginning to end (kind of like a person). Sometimes it goes in a direction you didn't want, despite the fact that it's yours (kind of like your life). It keeps you up at night and makes you pull your hair out in frustration and causes you all sorts of emotional and physical pain (kind of like a relationship). But it's yours. And most likely, it's developing the way it is for a reason, whether that be personal or otherwise. And. It's. Yours.

You probably already know this. There has been all sorts of chatter since Heir of Fire, as if you were somehow purposely not doing what fans wanted, somehow rebelling against what the story truly wanted, somehow blind to the story's truth (lol). Hopefully none of the negativity bothers you, even if it reaches you. Hopefully you can sit with Annie and Susan Dennard, watching The 100 or something on TV and cackle at people who are so upset things aren't going their way. But just in case you do see it or it does reach you: It's yours. And I think it's that ownership and growth and change - and sass and hot guys and hilarious characters and hot guys and strong female protagonists and hot guys - that makes the series great, makes it my favorite. 

TLDR: You're amazing. Keep on keeping on. 


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