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Old August 26 2012, 09:21 AM   #366
Kirsten Beyer
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

Okay folks...

I suspect the discussion of this novel, like those that have preceeded it, will generate a fair amount of spirited debate. As I have said, many times before, everybody is entitled to their opinions.

Everybody is not, however, entitled to their own facts, or to present their version of facts as if they are truth, particularly when they are not speaking from any first or even second-hand knowledge of the topic at hand.

So, let's get the facts straight.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
Actually I believe it did have to happen.
Perhaps for you...by which I mean, in order for you to take any pleasure in reading these stories. You are free, of course, to believe whatever you like. But bear in mind that believing in something does not not necessarily make it true.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
I also don't believe The Eternal Tide is a story Kirsten wanted to tell.
Right now I'm trying to wrap my brain around the idea of spending three months in development and six months writing every single night with the exception of Christmas Eve, a story I did not want to tell.

Nope. I got nothin'.

There probably are people who could execute a task like this with no faith in their subject or desire to do the work. I don't happen to be one of them.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
I think it was a story she was told to tell by Pocket Books. The decision to kill off the central character of the entire series was a major mistake and by bringing her back to life they are acknowledging that they made a mistake.
There are a handful of people on this planet right now who know exactly what went into the development of this book. They include myself, my editors, and a few other writers with whom I have discussed this process.

They do not include you.

For you to presume to speak with any authority on a process in which you did not participate is inappropriate. It's not surprising. But it remains, an assertion based upon no evidence and highly colored by your preconceptions and misconceptions.

No one connected to this process believes that the choice to kill Janeway was a mistake and the creation of The Eternal Tide is not any sort of acknowledgement of a mistake.

What we are creating here is an experience for our readers. You just want a plot? Read something else. Something shorter. Or better yet, stick to articles.

You want a story? You want to go on a journey with people you care about and maybe laugh or cry a little along with them and perhaps even take some of that back into your everyday life for awhile? You go to a book or a series of books.

The entire Voyager relaunch, in some senses beginning with Before Dishonor, and continuing through Destiny, Full Circle, Unworthy, Children of the Storm and now, The Eternal Tide, is one really long story.

Personally, I love where we are now. As others have already pointed out, it's not the only place we could be. We could have gone lots of other places. Just like we could have started in other places that you might not have found so objectionable.

But if we do that, we never get here...we never get to have the experience of The Eternal Tide without everything that came before it.

Until now, it wasn't worth the price of admission for you. Others disagree. Doesn't make anybody right or wrong. There's no objective truth here.

It just means that the people whose job it is to tell these stories and who do their best to create the most compelling reading experience they can for those who come along for the ride, chose a path that resonates with them and are continuing to move along it.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
Janeway is Voyager. .. I believe they knew this from the begining, which is why they gave themselves an out from the begining by involving the Q with her death. The was the safety net that they would use if fan reaction was too negative. It was, and she is back
I don't know about the safety net thing. I wasn't there for any of those conversations.

However, fan reaction to these books has been all over the place. We've got people who love it, people who never gave a shit about Voyager before who are now reading every new book that comes out, people who don't think it's working all that well, people who hate it and people who have boycotted it just on principle.

It has not been only negative or too negative.

And finally, fan reaction does not factor into this in the way you think it does. Sales data is the most significant factor and the people who do this work tend to judge their course much more by those numbers, as well as their own sense of how a story is working and how well it is being executed, than fan reactions, particularly on the internet.


Forevertj wrote: View Post
In the Acknowledgements of this book, Mrs. Beyer wrote the following, "I cannot help but fear that some will see this story as a failure of nerves and others, most unwisely, as a vindication of the narrow constraints they would see put on all Trek literature".

So what she is basically saying is, I was told to bring her back, but I am not saying so.


Or, "People think I got nervous and frightened and that is why I brought her back".

Also, If you think they made me do it, you are wrong, I wanted to do it all along.
A couple of things.

It's Ms. Beyer. Beyer is my maiden name and my professional name. It's a tribute to my father, actually. My husband's name, which I did take when I married and use in the rest of my life is not for public consumption.

If you're going to quote me, please do it verbatim. You got the gist of the text, but it's not quite right.

And finally, what I was trying to say there bears no resemblance to anything you have suggested. It was a shorter version of the thoughts I posted almost a year ago and reprint here for your reading pleasure.

Kirsten Beyer wrote: View Post

I guess fan opinions matter in the sense that if sales of the books are affected in some perceivable way, the editors might consider changing course or authors. But when it comes to story specifics, fan opinions can't matter because they are always widely divergent. It may seem like the fans who want Kathryn Janeway back are the only or biggest group out there, but in my experience, they aren't, and their opinions do not reflect much of what I've heard about the novels since they started coming out. This does not, however, invalidate their opinions and I think for a long time most of them have thought just that...their opinions don't matter. What they need to understand is that no one's opinions matter in the way they seem to think they should...and why that is.

The purpose of the panel was, my attempt, futile though it seems to have been, to make sure that the Janeway fans, and those who felt strongly otherwise, had a chance to air their concerns directly to someone who is really connected to the process and hopefully that in addressing their specific questions I could offer some fresh insight into the process for them. I kept hearing for so long that no one was listening to them, and that troubled me. I wanted to make sure they knew that I was listening, even if I haven't yet been able to write a story that they find appealing.

KB
So, no, I'm not saying "I was told to bring her back but am not saying so", nor am I saying whatever that second flight of literary fancy is.

What I am saying is that just as fans who have been been vocal in their appreciation of the books and the direction we have taken from the beginning should not feel that we weren't listening to them or are disregarding their opinions, fans who have been up in arms from the beginning should not believe that we suddenly are taking their opinions to have greater weight or with more seriousness.

Everybody gets to have their opinions and reactions. But those opinions don't shape creative decisions.

They just don't.

Because they can't. There's no way to objectively figure out what fans want. There's no way to get those numbers because not everyone who buys a book is kind enough to let us know what they thought. Those who have in this case, as previously stated, have largely fallen into two camps, but there's even plenty of overlap in the middle, so this information is essentually of no use to us.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
I think she is being extremely patronizing and disingenuous by suggesting that people like me who think Janeway was brought back because pocket Books demanded that she do so are wrong. No, we are not wrong. Janeway is back despite the fact the you killed her Mrs. Beyer. You made a mistake and the bosses called you on it. Accept it and don't employ straw mans, gratuitous assertions and semantics to avoid the facts of the situation.
Well, it's your story, so you should feel free to tell it any way you like.

But I don't ever remember saying that people who felt the way you do are wrong. In fact, I believe I've said on at least a couple of occasions now that everyone gets to feel however they want to about this. There is no right or wrong. You may believe I was saying that by writing the stories I have. But that is your belief, and not at all what I have said, think or feel.

And yeah, for the record, again, I didn't actually kill her. I was brought into this process long after that ship had sailed.

I didn't make a mistake. I did exactly what was asked of me when I was hired to write Full Circle. My employers made a choice, which I agreed was amazingly fertile ground for character and story development, and I took it and ran with it. I have continued to create these stories in collaboration with my editors and the licensors so really the only fact you can take from any of this is that every book we put out was exactly what we all agreed we should put out. There's nothing else to accept.

And the facts of the situation as you have presented them here exist nowhere but in your quite vivid imagination.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
If Janeway had not been brought back as the fans demanded, the books would have stopped selling. The only reason I believe that they continued to do ok was the carrot of Janeway being dangled over the fans' heads, knowing that sooner or later she would return and they would continue to begrudgingly read the series knowing she would be back. Without that little nudge, the fans would have vanished.
Well, the sales numbers I see every week paint a very different picture, but again, it's your story so by all means...

Seriously...this is the first time I've heard this one. Very few who have expressed enthusiams for the new direction have said they were hanging in because they knew Janeway would be back. Most said they were reading because they liked enough of what we were doing to stay engaged. As best I can tell, they weren't going anywhere, though it will be interesting to see how the developments of The Eternal Tide work for them.

Forevertj wrote: View Post
All of this is my opinion and can be disagreed with hopefully without arguing. I enjoy discussions, but I do not enjoy arguments.
For someone who does not enjoy arguments, you do a hell of a job of presenting your "beliefs" in an argumentative and fairly harsh manner. You also buried the lede here. It would certainly have been more indicative of a pleasant, non-hostile tone if you had begun your remarks here rather than ending with this.

But given the content of your post, I don't believe that's actually the case. I think you took offense at my words in the acknowledgments and needed to get this off your chest.

I hope you will not wish to argue with my right to set the record straight.

Therin of Andor;6861656

IIRC, [B wrote:

Kirsten Beyer[/B] is on record as having said that she always wanted to write Janeway stories, but had inherited the line when the main character was already gone. She made no secret of her personal desire to restore the character she wanted to write for. She ran a Q&A panel online, and at a Shore Leave, to judge support.
Hey Therin...good to see you!

I just need to correct a little something here...

I didn't run that panel to judge support. I ran it for the reasons restated above. The major plot points for The Eternal Tide already existed when I held that panel. The work had started several months earlier and I already knew where we were going. I was simply engaging fans on the topic as it still seemed to be what everyone was talking about and there were still so many misconceptions about the process floating around. As I said during the actual panel and online, I believe, it wasn't about taking a vote.


Best,
Kirsten Beyer
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