Hi Jim,

I published a book recently and get a lot of questions about some of my characters. Honestly, I like to write posts regarding some of this information, but I’m worried because some of their questions are things I don’t want to answer because I wanted to leave it to the imagination.

Example: I didn’t definitively say that my two main characters ended up together. My audience keeps sending me emails asking.

Thanks,
Christy


Hi Christy,

How much/little you reveal is completely up to you. If you want to leave something open to interpretation, you can always respond simply…
“Well, what do you think, based on what I’ve written? It doesn’t matter what I think, because I didn’t answer the question. Whether they do or not is entirely up to you.”

It really doesn’t need to be any more than that.

I would caution you on doing too much retconning. Clearing up a few talking points is one thing, but there is such a thing as going too far.
A good example… is J.K. Rowling. By now, it should be fairly obvious that I do not hold this woman nor her work in very high regard. I find the Harry Potter series to be a mockery of everything fantasy-based and her writing style to be extremely weak.
That aside, she is ruining her franchise for everyone now by going back and retconning things, some of which didn’t need a retcon (AKA a question no one asked). What’s worse, she is clearly trying to pander to a specific political ideology which is a hard stop in my book. Having a political opinion is fine… but saying that a character who was apolitical would have voted against Brexit, talking about how wizard went the bathroom before toilets or having Hermione portrayed by a person of color in a stage performance, and then flat out lying to your fans about whether or not you ever specified the characters skin tone (she did), is quickly turning even her most ardent supporters against her. It’s really not the way to go about doing things.

So the things I would say to you in terms of retconning, I would keep to a few points:

-Go minimalist.
-Don’t feel obligated to answer questions if you wanted to leave something open to interpretation.
-DO NOT retcon things that do not require clarification. If fans didn’t ask, they don’t want to know.
-Remain Apolotical: If your characters weren’t political or didn’t display certain traits within the story, don’t add them after the fact. This one is just opinion on my part, but the insertion of politics in areas where it really doesn’t belong has always been a pet peeve of mine.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up with me if you need any more guidance. Readers- what do you think? How much retconning should someone do? Is it even needed?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

One Comment on “Retconning after the fact…

  1. Clarification is always good but anything beyond that is risky.
    And yes, I agree with you on the Rowling stuff. Dropping hints that fill small holes in the story was okay, going political or SJW agenda with that is… ugh. *rolls eyes*

    Like

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