“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” ~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
I thought that I would open this post with one of my most favourite quotes from one of most favourite plays – and a Shakespearean one at that! I bet that when Shakespeare wrote that quote, he never expected that he would be classed as one of the greatest writers of all time.
There are many writers out there who I consider to be some of ‘the greats’, but even though they are incredible writers, they still have regrets about their writings.
For example, J.K. Rowling recently stated that it should have been Harry and Hermione that got together in the end of her books, instead of Harry and Ginny or Ron and Hermione. Why? Well because it was Hermione that sacrificed so much across the series of books for Harry. Ginny didn’t sacrifice anything, well – nothing in compared to Hermione. Hermione was the woman standing behind Harry every step of the way. She even sacrificed her last year of schooling for Harry’s cause; even though education was one of the things she was most passionate about.
It’s always an incredibly interesting thing when writers come out and say something like this. It makes you double think as a reader, and as a writer, as to how to make things better and more realistic in our books. It also shows that writers are only human – they’re not gods. They make mistakes, just like everyone else in this world, even with their creations.
Miss Jane Austen was another ‘Great’ that reneged on the matching in some of the greatest love stories of our time. On her death bed, her last words were about the silliness of having Elizabeth Bennet get together with Darcy, or the fact that she inflicted Edmond on poor Fanny Price. On her deathbed, Miss Austen had regrets about her characters and the books she wrote.
I am sure that someday in the distant future, I will probably have similar regrets – maybe not about how I could have paired off characters in their relationships, but I’m sure there will be something that I will have wanted to do better. The problem writers face, is that once their work is published, it is no longer their book. It’s the reader’s book. And yes, you could always release new editions, but there will forever be copies of the older editions floating out there, that hopefully, one day, someone will pick up and read.