I've been procrastinating when it came to writing this, because returning to actual blogging is weird. But here goes...|
Having seen the upset reactions to Homestuck's final Act, [S] Act 7, I am distinctly reminded of the controversy that raged over the ending of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. I remember when the infamous Carpet Book began circulating, weeks before the book was released. (I worked at a data center in downtown Dallas at the time, under minimal supervision, and saved every single image file of the Carpet Book, and read the whole thing.) I remember people's reactions to the epilogue. "What? This has to be a hoax. Hahaha. No way Jo will end the book like this."
And then it wasn't a hoax, and the general railing against the Heavens, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth began. I remember the posts about how the ending was all wrong. It was too pat, and the nineteen-year time skip was too abrupt. About how the interaction between Harry and his son ("Albus Severus? This reads like bad fanfic!") was too twee and precious. Rants about how not enough was resolved. About how the ONE THING the fan in question had wanted to see had not happened, or the one thing they SWORE would make them stop reading and declare they hated JK Rowling for life had happened. About how the marriage to Ginny had come "out of nowhere" (even though it was obvious to me, and to other readers that Jo had only spent six books setting it up.)
Was I sort of disappointed that we didn't get to see a Draco Malfoy redemption arc? Well, sorta. But I didn't let it bother me too much. Stuff like that is what fanfic is for. And I'd expected a Tragic End for Snape, as much as I was hoping against it. But the sheer amount of shrieking, tearful, entitled, butthurt wrath that i was seeing from some of the other fans regarding the end and epilogue of Deathly Hallows ("Jo tricked us! She lied to us!" and other such vehement accusations) bordered on sheer insanity.
I'd like to report that though people are obviously upset, the Homestuck fandom has, for the most part (that I have seen, anyway) conducted themselves which much more maturity and decorum and restraint than I witnessed nine years ago from the Harry Potter fandom. But people are still pissed, for many of the same reasons.
And I think that part of the problem is that, like JK Rowling, Andrew Hussie had apparently planned and storyboarded the ending years in advance, just as JK Rowling wrote the epilogue years before she'd even begun work on Deathly Hallows. Both stories grew and changed and mutated as they were written, and it makes sense that people feel that the ending may not fit what the story ultimately became, in both cases.
This is the reason why I have never finished a fanfic, by the way. Oftentimes, a story will pop into my head, nearly complete, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But in the writing of it, it shifts. It becomes its own thing. The circumstances get in the way, or my feelings, or current events that change the way I feel about a scene or a character or a situation. I get an idea about something that might work better. Before long, trying to stick to my original plan for the story is like trying to hold onto a slippery eel.
And sooner or later, the ending that I saw for the story just doesn't work, or doesn't feel right. And I break down, and lose faith in my ability to connect the dots. I chicken out and walk away from the story.
This is what happened with Watchmen: Multiverse - my Watchmen/Michael Moorcock's Multiverse crossover, and my most successful fanfic. And a lot of it had to do with 4chan /pco/ being what it is. I had a plotline devised where Laurie would end up holing up at Rorschach's apartment just as the dimensional fabric began to break down. She was going to be discovered by Delores (Rorschach's landlady) just as the shit really hit the fan. It was going to be Laurie, Rorschach...and Delores (and her five kids) facing the horror of Interdimensional Collapse into the Second Ether (Michael Moorcock's precursor to Andrew Hussie's Paradox Space, complete with Horrorterrors) represented in Laurie's mind by the breaking of the snowglobe from when she was a little kid.
This didn't happen. I rushed to churn out new chapters, knowing that our thread was about to get saged. I felt like that plotline was too complicated, and abandoned it. Except that the stuff afterwords didn't feel right, and didn't work.
I need to go back and write it the way it was supposed to be.
As someone who is not a paid author, who is just posting their work to ff.net and AO3, I have the luxury of doing that. I feel for Hussie and Rowling...they did their best, and fans should give them more credit. Andrew Hussie in particular had a game to work on, one that was compromised by the theft of a lot of the money from kickstarter by the development team. I do believe he will go into more detail about what actually happened in the epilogue. I hope he has a well-deserved rest, and that the fandom outcry hasn't gotten to him.