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February 06, 2011

A few thoughts on the L.J. Smith rumors . . .

Bookish , TV: The Vampire Diaries

Overnight, a rumor cropped up that L.J. Smith, author of the Vampire Diaries novels, had been fired from writing the remaining novels. At the time of this writing, this has not been confirmed by the publisher. The always wondering Red and Vee from Vampire-Diaries.net have a good summary of the issue, and you can see a few of the alleged emails to fans here and here. A few quick thoughts:

1. I've only read the first four books so far, but from what's I've heard (and some of her other posts and short stories I've read), the new trilogy is kind of nuts, and IF Smith really isn't writing more, that's something of a relief.

2. If Smith really wrote those emails, I must admit I'm a bit distressed by her grammar issues. I realize that's not the point, but still.

3. To those saying the publisher has "no right" to fire her: This is blatantly untrue. Smith signed away all rights to The Vampire Diaries decades ago. You may not like this, but that's how it is.

4. Smith claims not to have realized she was giving up her rights, but honestly, I have very little sympathy for someone who signs a contract and then pleads ignorance of its contents.

5. It seems odd to me that the publisher would care who dates whom in the books - unless, of course, Smith was specifically hired to write a book with a particular ending and then refused to produce that book.

6. To me - and I have no inside knowledge here or anything - it seems more likely that Smith was fired for other reasons and is spinning it, rather brilliantly, by making it about 'shipping.

7. Regardless of what's actually true, the best course of action is to BE NICE, people. Don't blame other groups of fans. Don't tweet awful things at HarperCollins. I promise they won't reach people who have anything to do with the decision. And don't harass Red and Vee or other fan site administrators. That really won't help anything.

Deep breaths! They're books! No one died! Perspective!

Update: Please read The Televixen's comment below for another really good point. In short: BE NICE.

Posted by Kat at February 6, 2011 11:08 AM

What I've found frustrating are the tweets aimed at cast members and everyone involved in the TV series, trying to rally them against these alleged bad guys, ie the publishers. The books are a separate entity from the TV show. Other than the books being the inspiration for the series, they exist on separate planes. To me, actions like this reflect badly on the fandom, and reinforce negative stereotypes. I hope cool, mature heads will prevail in this situation.

Posted by: The Televixen at February 6, 2011 11:57 AM

I agree with pretty much everything you've said here.

Plus the television show is taking on a canon of it's own (which deviates heavily from the books) so surely it could be possible for book Elena to end up with Stefan & television Elena to end up with Damon?

Also, if this is all true then hopefully L.J. Smith can finally put some time into finishing Strange Fate!

Posted by: Emily at February 6, 2011 01:22 PM

Hear, hear! I totally agree, especially with the first one. x) The tweets I woke up to were enough to make me want to turn off my computer (almost).

Also - ITA Emily. I'd much rather have Strange Fate finished. Um, but as long as it doesn't suffer the same changes as the TVD books apparently have!

- Ellie.

Posted by: EleanorPalimore at February 6, 2011 01:37 PM

one small point. You say she "signed away rights" - the emails you linked to refer to "works for hire". It is entirely possible to write a "work made for hire" without realizing what you're doing. That is a condition that can be controlled not by contract but by the circumstances of ownership of tools, payment arrangements and other incidentals. (by which I mean things that are not at all incidental to the question of ownership, but may easily appear that way.) You can certainly contract that something is a work for hire, but that's not the only way to end up with one.

I can't say one way or the other which it is, but it may not have been as obvious as it sounded.

Posted by: Kate at February 8, 2011 01:46 PM
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