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The Vampire Diaries TV Show Opinion Article

L.J. Smith Got Fired from writing her own novels.

Opinion by Thedarkeststar posted over a year ago
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“Hi Emily—

Thank you for your beautiful email. I completely understand why some fans get overeager—and especially if they think there is bad news for them. I hope that you will enjoy Midnight, as it is truly the story of Damon finding his deepest feelings for both Elena and Bonnie—and his feelings are definitely not platonic. In fact, to be blunt, without Bonnie and something that Bonnie does at the end, Damon would be permanently dead.

But right now I have to tell you something that makes me so sad and devastated—as bad, in fact, as I have ever felt except for when my mother died. It’s confidential, but it’s been so long now that I just can’t keep up a charade with good-hearted readers like you.

To put it briefly, I’ve been fired from writing the Vampire Diaries. And I’ve been fighting and fighting this since last fall, but there is absolutely no recourse. Midnight is the last L. J. Smith book in the Vampire Diaries series.

It probably sounds completely impossible to say that I am fired from writing my own books. But the truth is that they’re not mine, even though I write every word. When I was called by an agent and asked to write the vampire trilogy, that agent wasn’t from a publisher, but from what is now Alloy Entertainment, Ltd. And they are a book packager. A book packager sells books, already made with covers and all, to publishers, like HarperCollins—my publisher for The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. And both these series were written “for hire” which means that the book packager owns the books the author produces. Although I didn’t even understand what “for hire” meant back in 1990, when I agreed to write books for them, I found out eventually, to my horror and dismay. It means that even though I have written the entire series, I don’t own anything about The Vampire Diaries. And from now on, the books will be written by an anonymous ghostwriter, just as Stefan’s Diaries are. It will say “Created by L. J. Smith” on the cover, but I am not allowed even to change a word in the ghostwriter’s book.

You might wonder why the book packager and Harper would do this to me. I am not sure either, but usually a book packager gets very submissive, non-assertive writers to write for them—not to mention that most of them, writers or ghostwriters, have had a lot of publishers turn their books down. Book packagers are used to do a lot of editing on their author’s books—because the books need intense editing.

But I’m not submissive, and I always fight editing. In Midnight, I had to fight to keep many Bonnie scenes in the book. I’m not at all sure they liked the things I was doing with Bonnie and Damon—they kept trying to cut such scenes. And of course they didn’t like Elena’s behavior at all. They want strictly Stelena books.

So last fall when I gave them the book Phantom, they didn’t bother to give me edits. Instead, I was given a letter addressed to the ghostwriter by name, telling her to completely rewrite my book. They wouldn’t even listen when I pleaded and promised to do Phantom as they required. The simply took the series and gave it to the ghostwriter . . . to write not only The Hunters trilogy, but whatever comes after that.

They have always tried to minimize my participation in The Vampire Diaries. On the very first original books in 1990 my name was almost invisible on the cover. And now they have my manuscript of Phantom, and the book the ghostwriter writes from it may even sound like I wrote it in places, because they have the right to use my work as they see fit. But the book after that … that will be pure ghostwriter. I would guess that they think you readers won’t see or care about the difference in writing styles and skills.

I have said this to another Bamon fan, and I’ll say it now. I had so many plans for Bonnie in The Hunters trilogy.
First of all, in Phantom, I had her showing a lot more emotion, grieving right along side Elena because—well, because Damon does something almost unbelievable for Bonnie in Midnight and he doesn’t get out unscathed.
I won’t spoil it if you don’t know. But they wanted Bonnie to have just put it all behind her—and with Bonnie’s character, I don’t think so! She is always completely openhearted with her emotions; even though she has matured so much in Midnight, she’s still Bonnie, who says exactly what she thinks, even if she hasn’t had a dose of Black Magic wine.

I wanted to write Moonsong, and give Bonnie an admirer who is just as sweet and even more naïve than she is—a pure white wolf with radiant blue eyes, who happens to be a werewolf with moonlight colored hair and the same blue eyes when he’s human. I wanted to show Damon’s surprising reaction to Xander the good werewolf (not at all happy about it—so much that he “accidentally” almost kills the poor innocent wolf) .

I also wanted to show how Damon rescues Bonnie from a vicious wolf-pack attack, and then let her fly away with him. And I wanted to show how Bonnie, who knows a little medicine from her sister Mary, helps Damon deliver Caroline’s twin babies when she goes into labor deep in the woods. But that’s one scene that I would have had to fight tooth and nail for, because even the glow that Damon and Bonnie share at seeing new life come into the world wouldn’t be enough for them to call it decent. They would undoubtedly have tried to make me cut it. But I still want to write it, so badly.

I even had the last book in that trilogy plotted out, where Stefan’s worst nightmare comes true and he takes so much blood from Elena that has to be taken to the hospital for a massive transfusion. He then decides to Influence Elena so hat she will forget his existence, and he does so, to Damon and Bonnie and Meredith’s consternation. I wanted to show how this affected each one of the characters, and how Bonnie once again begins to write in her diary, since Elena’s diary is also forgotten, along with Stefan. I like to write things from Bonnie’s point of view, as I did in Dark Reunion. But none of these things will happen, beause I won’t be around to write it. And I just can’t keep up the pretense any long with wonderful fans like you. I can’t pretend that Bonnie and Damon’s relationship will continue to grow as Damon learns to respect her as well as to love her. She has become “his girl” but I can’t follow up on that. I had to tell the ghostwriter that he would address Bonnie as “little redbird” when he speaks to her.

Sorry for the long rant, but the charade is over for me. I don’t know how Phantom will turn out, with a blend of my manuscript and the complete rewriting of it by the ghostwriter. But I dread it, and even more do I dread what the next books will be like. I’ve worked so hard to make Vampire Diaries a good series, only to have the unthinkable happen to me. And I have no one but myself to blame for not being submissive enough.

Lisa
L. J. Smith”
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20 comments

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angry
This isn't fair! Imagine how the DE fans would feel!!!They wanted Strictly Stelena Books?What about the rest of us?
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
thats stupid. the books belong to her!
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
WTF? They can't kick LJ out of her own books! I'm protesting! I won't read the next ones! I'll boycot the entire new triliogy to show my support for LJ! Trust me, those books are going to suck without her. Even though I'm a major Stelena shipper, I don't support the idea of them eliminating her from her own series. And I want the Bamon scenes! The ones that will probably never happen now =/

Grr. I'm pissed now. Screw the 'ghostwriter' who's own work is so terrible it can't get published.
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
I'm not going to read more the books
posted over a year ago.
 
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isnt this illegal?
posted over a year ago.
 
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WTF!!! How can they do this? One of the reasons I love The series Is Because of LJ smith herself and the way she writes them. Forget this "Ghostwriter" We want LJ-Smith Back! This SUCKS!!!!
posted over a year ago.
 
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As a Delena fan the only word that comes to mind when I hear this fuckery is RAGE.

Clearly they want to make another Twilight series. UGH.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Nutika said:
That's stupid! This story was great becouse it was complicated. Becouse Stefan-Elena-Damon- Bonnie relation was hard, not obvious! And now what?!
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
WTF, I prefer stelena but I want L J Smith back.
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
katie15 said:
She said the love between Damon and Elena is epic.
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
mitchie19 said:
Dammit! Why would they fire her? That's stupid!
But will The Hunters Trilogy still exist?


I hope the Stefan-Elena parts that L.J mentioned will be read at Midnight.
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
Wada said:
I'm so angry I can't even speak...

FUCK YOU ALL WHO FIRED LISA!!!!!
posted over a year ago.
 
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marlanido said:
btw L.J smith does not own the rights to the books she was just hired to wright them and signed a contract that says so.
wich meens she is not alowed to do what you just red and yes it is legal to fire her.
its upseting but thats the truth.
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
EbonyEora said:
this is why the Phantom book sucked...

Alloy people as not only a Delena fan but a fan of good writing in general BRING LJ BACK!!!
posted over a year ago.
 
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hmmm
HAHAHA. No ones going to read them anyway. Jokes on the ghost writer.I think she should get hired by somebody else & continue that way (if that's possible).
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
Emii611 said:
omg! i can't believe this! This is terrible! I LOVE YOUR WRITING, i actually just got the book today, i thought the 7th book -Midnight- was the last one... but i guess it still is :( Since ur not writing the phantom...now i'm scared of reading tht book. I was SO excited when i saw tht u wrote another one...but now im just friken mad!
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
First, this is not right or fair, and I personally will not spend one more penny after buying Midnight. Secondly, I must say one thing about the Stefan's Diaries, because I do watch the show and love the writing of Julie and Keven, and to me those books are an extension of the show, separate from your books, for obvious reasons and changes that had to be made for it to translate to television. But the fact that there are people out there that do this to talented authors sickens me. And I hope that they were not an influence with the show, because that would make it very difficult to enjoy.
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
This is not fair. Those are YOUR books, not their. YOU wrote them. What the heck???!! Guys, we need to start a protest.
posted over a year ago.
 
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angry
Alania16 said:
I have never been so angry, she is my favorite author and I DONT CARE IF SHE WAS HIRED TO WRITE THEM THEY ARE HERS!!! Saying that they have the right to do that because she was hired to is like saying that if an artist is did a painting for "hire" that they could be fired from it and whoever hired them could draw a bunch of shit and put the artist's name on it! THIS IS BULL**** and in my opinion it is simply unconstitutional doesn't that enfringe on her right to express herself?????
posted over a year ago.
 
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crying
WTF?!!!! Now i'm not even gonna read the next three books... They can go to hell(No pun intended)!! Now Delena doesn't even have a chance... The only thing that gives me hope is that she said that maybe sometime in the future she'll try to write her own version of The Hunters series! Hopefully she'll make it happen. And forsure Delena will be endgame for the tv series!! I'm sooooo cnfident that they'll be together :DDDDDDD
posted over a year ago.