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Creator Backlash: Literature
  • Gelett Burgess's exasperation over the popularity of his fluff 1895 poem "The Purple Cow".
  • More a love-hate relationship than despise, but this is part of the reason Arthur Conan Doyle was led to kill off Sherlock Holmes, who overshadowed all of his other writings. He eventually got over it. To quote a letter that Doyle sent a friend after "The Final Problem":
    Holmes is dead and damned! I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards paté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day.
    • It's not so much that he got over it, but that he felt forced to resurrect Sherlock Holmes seeing as how people were shouting "MURDERER!" at him on the street. His own mother wouldn't talk to him after finding out he killed off Holmes! For Doyle is was a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.
  • Similar to the above example, Agatha Christie came to hate the famed fictional detective she created, Hercule Poirot. To quote The Other Wiki: "By 1930, Agatha Christie found Poirot 'insufferable' and by 1960, she felt that he was a 'detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep'. Yet the public loved him, and Christie refused to kill him off, claiming that it was her duty to produce what the public liked, and what the public liked was Poirot." She would eventually tweak Poirot through one of her other characters, Ariadne Oliver, who was a mystery-writer turned detective. (Yes, Ariadne's an Author Avatar; yes, she exists; no, we don't blame you for not knowing that.) Unlike Doyle, Christie never got over it; just before she died, she released Curtain, a novel she had written years ago, in which Poirot was killed off.
    • She may have killed off Poirot in Curtain in part because she found him intolerable, but another reason was to prevent another author from taking over the Poirot series if she died during World War II. She began the book during the Blitz, when nobody in London knew if they'd survive.
  • Some tales in the Bible, such as Noah's Ark can be interpreted as God having a backlash against humans, especially because of the Humans Are Bastards trope. But let's leave it at that.
  • Michael Crichton intended for his 1990 novel Jurassic Park to be a standalone work. However, he was more than happy with it being adapted into a film, selling the book's film rights before it was published and helping to write the film's screenplay. Once the film was a massive financial success, its creators began pressuring Crichton to write a sequel, despite the fact that he had never franchised any of his work. He reluctantly agreed, publishing The Lost World in 1995, which retcons a lot of plot points from Jurassic Park. Its film adaptation and second sequel Jurassic Park III were created with no involvement with Crichton whatsoever.
    • Crichton has tried to Torch the Franchise and Run twice to no avail. The first novel ends with the park being destroyed and all the dinosaurs being killed by the fictional Costa Rican air force. This was partially retconned with The Lost World, However.
  • A. A. Milne grew to loathe his Winnie the Pooh books, as it typecast him forever as a "writer of children's books" and he could never go back to writing adult fiction. He even tried to kill off Pooh at the end of the 2nd book. (It didn't work.) E. H. Shepard, Pooh's illustrator, also suffered from this, as it overshadowed his work in political cartoons. Similarly, Milne's son Christopher Robin grew to hate the works as well, for he was bullied constantly for being immortalized in them.
    • At one point, Christopher accused his father of exploiting him in the stories. Ironically, he later owned a bookstore, where it's inevitable that someone was going to ask that question.
    • Similarly, Lillian Moller Gilbreth didn't like Cheaper by the Dozen or Belles on Their Toes, which her children wrote, because they made her and her husband's life's work look silly.
    • Another similar example, Peter Llewelyn Davies is forever known as the basis for J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Davies hated being associated with "that terrible masterpiece" and it is believed that's what drove him to alcoholism and suicide.
  • Stephenie Meyer claims that she is "so over" Twilight, saying that it is "not a happy place to be" for her. In particular, she's tired of it constantly overshadowing her more recent works. When asked if she'd ever return to the series, Meyer replied "Not completely. What I would probably do is three paragraphs on my blog saying which of the characters died."
  • In-story example: Misery by Stephen King is about an author who hates his popular character, kills her off, and then finds himself in the care of the character's biggest fan....
    • In Real Life, Stephen King has come to regret writing the novel Rage because someone decided to make life echo art with that book - or rather, make death echo art. Current copies of The Bachman Books no longer feature Rage. But the short story "Cain Rose Up", which deals with similar topics, is still in Skeleton Crew. For those wondering, both Rage and "Cain Rose Up" concern a student who kills people on school grounds; the former has the main character/narrator "only" kill two teachers in the course of a long quasi-therapy session with his classmates, be treated sympathetically by all but one of said classmates (in the end the others turn on the Only Sane Man) and ultimately get shot by the police - but not fatally; both he and the holdout are last seen in different mental institutions - whereas the latter features a sniper who is still killing indiscriminately at the end of the story.
    • In his book On Writing, King admitted to not being too fond of Insomnia and Rose Madder, since he actually plotted them out, and they became "stiff, trying too hard" novels. In fact, the only plotted novel of his that he likes is The Dead Zone.
  • Jack Kerouac found Visions of Cody to be a superior work to On the Road, and was disappointed at how much more people focused on the latter.
  • In the introduction to a rerelease of A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess called it "pornographic" and said the main reason for reading it would be for the "raping and ripping." He was particularly outspoken against the film adaptation, though he was not involved in its creation.
  • Richardson actually insulted his work Clarissa in the prologue of one of the volume published, saying the main character was dull and didn't understand how anybody enjoyed the work. He later picked apart the morals in Clarissa in another of his works.
  • Mark Twain came to think of Tom Sawyer as the exemplar of everything that's shallow and stunted in the American spirit. His disgust found its way into Huckleberry Finn, in which Tom comes off as more of a thoughtless Jerkass than a mischievous scamp. He wrote Sawyer into two more books after that, though Twain did have financial troubles later in life due to poor investments.
  • Western author Louis L Amour early in his career was hired to write a series of stories about the character 'Hopalong' Cassidy for a western pulp magazine. The stories were not about an original character and were extensively edited to tie in with a 'Hopalong' Cassidy TV show. L'Amour later in life denied ever writing them in the first place, even to his own family. They were only reprinted after his death.
  • Anne Rice, for a time, disclaimed her popular Vampire Chronicles series, as well as the connected Mayfair Witches series, due to converting to Christianity, but she got over it later.
  • Another in-story example: Sharyn McCrumb's novel Bimbos of the Death Sun features an author who despises the series of cheesy Conan the Barbarian-style novels to which he's become metaphorically chained by success and merchandising, all the while wanting recognition for his use of Celtic mythology in the books.
  • Isaac Asimov had a minor version of this regarding his famous short story "Nightfall", considering it to be far from his best work and in no way deserving of all the acclaim it received. This was partly because it was one of his earliest works (he wrote it when he was 21), and the notion that it was his best story suggested that he hadn't improved as an author in 50 years of writing. One of the most-remembered paragraphs from that story (it's toward the end) isn't his work, having been added by editor John W. Campbell.
    • Similarly, one of the reasons that it took 30 years for the fourth Foundation book to come out was that he was tired of the series. The main thing that got him to work on Foundation's Edge was the boatload of cash he was offered.
  • Stephen Crane believed that the best way of writing was to go experience something, then dash off your thoughts rapidly and without editing, while being careful not to go on too long. For reasons uncertain to biographers (a bet may have factored into it), he decided to write The Red Badge of Courage, based on nothing he'd ever seen, heavily edited, and by his own admission "too long." Naturally, "the damned Red Badge" made him famous, while not necessarily helping to dispel his conviction that Readers Were Morons.
  • Peter S. Beagle called A Fine and Private Place (his first novel, and fairly well received) his "state of grace" novel, where he must have been protected by whatever spirit watches over young and self-important authors.
    • Double example with The Last Unicorn, whose popularity has overshadowed a LOT of Beagle's work, and questions about a sequel have increasingly annoyed him. He's finally going to give in, though, so he can't hate it that much...
  • Shocked by the conditions in which Dust Bowl refugees lived, John Steinbeck wrote a satire, L'Affaire Lettuceberg. He decided, however, that it would be better not to publish it, because it was to "cause hatred through partial understanding" and he preferred "making people understand each other." Reconsidering the subject, he wrote The Grapes of Wrath, a much more direct and passionate work.
  • Akiyuki Nosaka can't even re-read Grave of the Fireflies because he hates it so much. It seems to be related to Survivor Guilt, given that the ending of the story wasn't quite the same as the way his life turned out.
  • Upton Sinclair was severely upset that the only thing about The Jungle that stuck with America was the horrific conditions of the meat packing industry, as opposed to the socialist Author Tract that took up most of the book.
    "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
  • Arthur C. Clarke came to dislike Rescue Party due to so many fans preferring something so early in his career.
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery was sick of her most famous work, Anne of Green Gables, by the time she wrote its sequel. The creation of Emily Starr was a direct result of her own disillusionment with her work - though she went on to put out eight books in the Anne series anyway (the last two books feature Anne as a supporting character, rather than the main character she'd been in previous instalments). In addition, the series was written out of order, which meant that the last book she wrote wasn't Rilla of Ingleside, which ends the series, but Anne of Ingleside. By then she was thoroughly tired of writing Anne - and it shows.
  • Henry James grew to dislike Washington Square, mostly because of the comparisons it got to the works of Jane Austen.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien said that his fans "are involved in the stories in a way that I'm not" and he wasn't sure that treating them as a "kind of a vast game" was a good idea and referred to more obsessive Lord of the Rings fans as "my deplorable cultus."
  • Annie Proulx has had a very negative reaction to Brokeback Mountain fanfiction, for multiple reasons.
  • Douglas Adams suffered from terrible black moods, and in response to constant nagging from fans for a new The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy book, he gave them a dose of his depression in literary form: Mostly Harmless. It's a depressing, nihilistic book in which Everybody Dies and the Earth is irrevocably destroyed in all universes. It made any more sequels impossible, and was a big middle finger to all his fans. Years later, Adams said he regretted ending the series on such a depressing note, and was in the early stages of writing a sixth book that would have fixed it all when he died.
    • When Mostly Harmless was adapted for radio as "The Quintessential Phase" the Downer Ending was revised into a more optimistic version, although it's not entirely clear how authentic this was to Adams's unfinished plans.
    • He also regretted elements So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, which is happier, but perhaps less of an H2G2 book; in particular the bit where he snaps at the reader that if they want a Marvin bit they can skip to the end. He also commented that the book was backwards; Arthur as the seasoned galactic traveller amongst Muggles, and that part of him kept saying he couldn't just bring the Earth back like that. The last line of the book is "There was a point to this story but it has temporarily escaped the author's mind", and Adams once said that this was him "owning up".
  • Peter Benchley came to regret writing Jaws when he learned that drastic overfishing was driving many shark species to extinction, coming to believe he was at least partially responsible due to his book (and the eponymous film version) instilling a cross-cultural fear of sharks around the world. He spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it by becoming a vocal ocean conservation activist.
  • An In-Universe example: In Frank Stockton's short story "His Wife's Deceased Sister", the protagonist writes the eponymous novel, which is so wonderful that he instantly becomes famous. However, this work is a one-off, and it is so good that it sets an unrealistically high standard to which he is held, and every other novel he submits is rejected, with the editors being insulted, thinking he he is foisting his rejects upon them. Driven to financial ruin, he comes to regret ever writing his masterpiece, and must write under a pseudonym to make ends meet. Eventually, when he manages to write another masterpiece, he ends up destroying it, fearing that it will again ruin his career.
  • L. Frank Baum resented writing sequels to The Wizard of Oz, and repeatedly tried to end the Oz series altogether. Several books end with firm declarations that he has told the reader everything there is to know about Oz, or that Oz has cut itself off from the rest of the world, and he can no longer give the reader new stories as a result. Yet Baum's other books never sold well, and for strictly financial reasons he was forced to repeatedly return to the tired franchise.
  • Dr. Seuss came to feel a deep regret for the racist anti-Japanese cartoons he drew during World War II, to the point he dedicated Horton Hears a Who! to a Japanese friend.
  • Subverted by Vladimir Nabokov, most famous for Lolita, who said in a interview with Playboy magazine that while "he'll never regret Lolita" he does feel it overshadowed all his other works, which he feels are more deserving.
  • Goethe came to regret, and, for a time, disowned The Sorrows of Young Werther, partially because he regretted putting the personal issues it was based on in the public light, partially general embarrassment with the romantic movement, and partially annoyance with the obsessive fandom.
  • Ian Fleming was sufficiently unhappy with his novel The Spy Who Loved Me that he licensed the title only and required the film producers to write an entirely new story.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski has come to utterly despise The Witcher, due to both his disagreement with the direction CD Projeck RED has taken the series, and anger over the Witcher series being the only thing most people remember him for.
  • "Ode an die Freude" ("Ode to Joy") has been popular ever since it was first written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785, but fifteen years after its publication he wrote a letter to his friend Körner saying he regarded the ode as a failure, calling it "detached from reality" and "of value maybe to us two, but not for the world, nor for the art of poetry".

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