Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stepping back

--Update from 2014 at the end of the post--


Before I start, this post - and every post on here, and anything I say on Twitter, or anywhere else - is entirely MY opinion. Nothing to do with the people I've worked with, or the BBC, or anyone else. I don't speak for any other writers, I *only* speak for myself, and I will not pass on any messages to anyone.


Here's my position: I'm not going get into any more discussions or debates about what happened in Torchwood this week (being vague, in case people come across this and haven't seen it). Not now, not in the future.

Why? I started trying to discuss it, but swiftly realised that it was pointless. It simply turns into "No it isn't" / "Yes it is", and there's no way I can win the argument, because in certain people's opinion, I am wrong, and that's the end of it. And it's all just opinion anyway. It would also feel like I was trying to justify the show, and I'm not doing that. I have absolutely no need to. The show is the show. Whether you like it or dislike it, that's up to you.

I helped plot the whole storyline, and I stand by every single decision. Yes, including *that* one - I had my hand on the death lever along with everyone else, and was fully involved. I think it's a fantastic, brave, challenging drama, and contains some of the best moments on TV all year.

I've received over a thousand messages from viewers talking about the show. The vast majority have been extremely positive. Even though many of them are upset, angry and shocked, they have managed to express that without making it personal. So to you, I'm extremely grateful. I'm glad you liked the show, and love that it made you respond so strongly. I can't reply to everyone, it'd take weeks, so please accept my thanks.

But the rest of the messages? Unacceptable. Some have been spewing insults and passive aggressive nonsense. Accusing me of deliberately trying to mislead, lie, and hurt people. Telling me I hate the fans, that I'm laughing at them, that I used them, that I'm slapping people in the face, that I've "killed" the show, that I'm a homophobe, that I want to turn the fanbase away and court new, "cooler" viewers, even that I'm hurting depressed people with dark storylines. Asking me to pass on vitriolic, hateful messages to people I love and respect.

Not cool.

These are all things that nobody would dare to say to me in person. But on the internet, it's easy for them to fire off these things. Forgetting that at the other end is me, a real person, someone who has been nothing but open and friendly. But I've been a bit too open, a bit too nice, a bit too willing to explain the thought process behind story decisions. And some people are taking advantage of that, or misinterpreting what it means.

So here's the deal: I'm a professional writer. That's my job. I write what I write, for whatever the project might be. I have the utmost respect for you, and honestly want you to like my work, but I can't let that affect my story decisions. Everybody wants different things from a story, but this is not a democracy, you do not get to vote. You are free to say what you think of my work, even if you hate it, I honestly don't mind. But the ONLY person I need to please is myself, and the ONLY thing I need to serve is the story. Not you. I will do my work to the very best of my ability, in an attempt to give you the best show, the best movie, the best story, the best entertainment I possibly can. Even if that means that sometimes, I'll do things you won't like. I won't debate it. Either you go along with it, or you don't. None of it is done to hurt you, or to force some agenda down your throat, or anything else. It's all in service of the story.

When I started this blog, I wanted to give some insight into the writing process. I've done that. I've answered all the questions, written about the process, done several huge posts trying to pass on what I've learned. The posts are all still there, and will remain there. I've had great fun with it, and given as much as I can, but it's never going to be enough. For a while now, I've let things get too cosy here, indulged myself too much, and if I let it carry on, it will affect my work. The last few days have just confirmed that for me. So I'm going to step back and take an extended break from it. Things are very busy for the next month or two, and I won't have the time anyway. I'm extremely grateful to everyone who has commented on here, and if the blog continues at a later date, it will be limited to anything that isn't about the work - announcements, TV/movie recommendations, etc. I have to concentrate on my writing.

And I will not put up with any more abusive messages, or threats, or accusations, or attempted guilt trips. So while I completely understand your pain at some of the events in the series, that does not give you the right to insult me. Talk about the *work*, all you want. But lay off the person behind the work. Because I'm simply trying to tell you good stories. In the end, that is all I can do.

James Moran
Writer


Please feel free to pass this on, I encourage you to do so, to make my position clear to everyone - but you must include the link to the full post here: http://jamesmoran.blogspot.com/2009/07/stepping-back.html



Update from 2014: This post keeps getting linked to quite a lot, so for those who've just found this - I reactivated the blog in April 2010, with comments turned off. I'm still updating it fairly regularly. This post was written at a time when things were very hectic and unpleasant, but staying away for a while seemed to let the dust settle. It feels strange looking back at it now. Anyway. Just wanted to do a tiny update for people just coming across the tale, so you know it all ended well.