A Note:


I once told myself: IF I am accepted into grad school, this blog would no longer be updated. As it turns out, in April, I received news of my acceptance for the Fall 2013 semester, where I will attain a Master's degree of Science in Nutrition.

Running a blog, as many of you may already know, is a demanding side job once the excitement wears off. And once I fell out of the blogging community's loop (have you SEEN how many blogs there are now? Wow!), it was like the kiss of death. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get into a blogging routine once this happened due to the disconnect I felt from the community.

So I took a break. I struggled with the loss and with missing my blog. And then I realized I didn't have to run Book Faery to still be a book reviewer; I could read my books and post reviews online. I'm still a book review blogger, just not in the traditional sense.

I'll still be online. You can chat with me on Twitter, where I'll be posting links to my reviews and talking books. I'll also be posting links to nutrition articles. And if you'd like to connect with me where I guarantee I will post reviews, just add me as a friend on Goodreads.

So that's all, folks! It's been a fun and amazing journey, and I thank you all for listening to my thoughts about books. I hope we all can keep in touch elsewhere :)


Monday, June 27, 2011

Copycat Syndrome

When it comes to "specializing" in a genre, as most blogs tend to do, you're bound to stumble upon trends. Whatever sells, right? But when is copycat syndrome a bad thing?

Here's what I've noticed from reading so many books:

In Paranormal Romance (YA), love triangles are predominant. Forget about kicking ass and not taking names; we need two guys who will tolerate anything and everything because they want the girl, and we need the heroine to go back and forth between both of them. 

In Dystopians (YA), 90% of the human population is dead and zombies have taken over the world, or, teenagers are baby-makers. (I haven't read enough dystopians to complain about either, yet)
In adult PNRs, the hero MUST angst so much that he inevitably pushes the heroine away in a wretched attempt to save her from himself... despite the fact that he is madly in love with her, and she with him. OR, one of the characters is keeping a secret, which will inevitably hurt and piss off the pursuer, who then backs off in their rage.

Finally in Urban Fantasy, the heroine is either too meek that you forget about her the second another character appears, or she's too snarky/badass to the point where it seems like she's trying too hard instead of being naturally snarky/badass. 

Now of course, if you read as many books as bloggers tend to, you're bound to become jaded at some point. When one considers how many books are out there, it's impossible to find anything truly unique. It's an issue all authors struggle with when creating their universe. It is also what makes "copycat syndrome" understandable. Something from a book moved an author enough that he/she wants to recreate that character/element in his or her own story. 

The problem is when the majority of publishable books follow the same themes and plot formulas. This "copycat syndrome" begins to exhaust people, which makes them become more critical, and then everything suddenly seems like crap (during the burnout periods). I've heard complaints about how readers no longer want commit to reading a book because it either A) has a cliffhanger; B) is part of a series; or C) has both. Of course, that is not the author's fault, and it would be silly to blame an author for that in the first place. These complaints do beg the question of why it is necessary to drag certain series out, just because others were so successful.

Is it better to keep churning books out and losing that originality and spark that earlier books once held? Or, is it better to get the story out and then move on? I actually love Lauren Oliver's books because she does just that (which is a rarity nowadays). BEFORE I FALL was the perfect example of less being more. Granted, I wanted to have something else happen, but it was clear that the world and its characters served their purpose.

So readers, I have a few questions for you:

* Series or solo books?
* Series: drag it out, or end it when it's "time?" When is this "time?"
* Series: how many books does it usually take before a series begins to go downhill?
* Copycat Syndrome: good, or bad? Would you prefer other authors to do "spinoffs" of your favorite series, or would you prefer authors to create their own world, hopefully avoiding influences (as much as possible) from other series?


  1. A really good post-you make some great points about fiction trends. Sometimes I think publishers push authors to conform to these trends because readers are just eating up the books.

    I like both series and stand alone books. I enjoy series but get annoyed when they drag on forever (like Sookie Stackhouse and Melissa De la Cruz's Blue Bloods books) without a point to them. Harry Potter had seven books and the last few were long but I loved them and felt that the series needed that time to develop. It was always set that there would be seven and it worked out perfectly.

    As far as romance goes there are formulas that are usually followed and some of what you mention is actually the norm for both books and movies. They do tend to be formulaic in certain points (girl meets boy, obstacles occur to separate couple, couple reunites having overcome obstacles to earn happy ending) but originality is possible. I love the Parasol Protectorate series. There may be some formulaic aspects to the romance but the characters are so individual and the setting is unique. The humor also adds something to the story.

    In YA paranormal the love triangle is incredibly overdone. That does need to go and I hope it will be a trend that is over soon. As far as dystopian fiction, I have found some excellent and unique examples like Divergent and Across the Universe. They may have some things in common with other dystopians but they have enough originality to be their own reading experience (plus there is an absence of zombies!).

    I think I am ready to take a break from YA paranormal soon (after I finish the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy of course). The repetitive nature gets on my nerves.

    Thank you again for your insightful post.

  2. Sorry I wrote a book-didn't realize my comments were so lengthy :(

  3. I agree with you. I love series because I like to watch the characters grow and relationships change over time. I want to be able to immerse myself in a world longer than just one book, but...there is a limit. I think 6 books is about the average. I love trilogies too.

    I love alpha male goodness. That is all on that subject ;)

    The wonderful thing about self-pub authors is you get away from the big pub. trends. You can find any and all things different if you keep an ear to the ground and an eye to the web.

  4. @Christina: First off, thank you for such an insightful comment! No worries about it being long, I found it incredibly interesting :)

    I think some authors are made for series, and their characters/plot lines have enough juice for multiple books. Alternatively, I feel that some authors might be "goaded" (I'm using the term loosely here) into writing a series, when all their vision held was a book or two, max. Then, there are the best seller series that drag out for far too long, like the Sookie Stackhouse series. I haven't read it, but I've heard the numerous complaints about how there are numerous discrepancies and how it's obvious the author is manipulating things, etc.

    Romance is a bit understandable, since there are only a certain many ways you can create tension and drama, so I'm not complaining too much. What I'm not happy about is when the author follows the same exact trend for every single book and the angst overpowers the humor or characterization, or anything else that would otherwise redeem the book. And I agree, if the characters and plot and writing are amazing, it's incredibly easy to overlook the cliche formulas.

    YA love triangles NEED to be scrapped, or, at the very least, it needs to be reduced to situations in books where it compliments the storyline INSTEAD of becoming the storyline. I'm also sick of YA PNRs for that exact same reason.

  5. @Sharon: Character growth is the exact reason why I fell in love with series too. I was always depressed when I discovered a series was completed, because (before I started blogging), I had an "intimate" relationship with the characters.

    Six books does sound like a reasonable number. On the flip side, I've seen a series or two that actually got BETTER. One in particular I'm thinking of is Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. I just can't get enough of that one!

    Alpha males can never grow old as long as they're written well.

    While self pubbed authors do have more freedoms, a lot of the ones I've encountered are riddled with errors that I find more distracting than the overused trends, unfortunately.

  6. I think I'm safely dodging most of these in my books.. phew!

    That said, I think you may have helped me a bit with the heroine for my next book, which I have to turn in in November!

  7. Interesting post! I struggle with the question of how long to make a series. So many of them have lost my attention over the years. Plus, I simply don't have the time to keep up with them all, and so I move on to a new author/series. As a writer, I don't see myself writing more than a trilogy. Of course, there could be more than one trilogy set in the same world, but I have a short attention span. As much as I love my characters, I only want to be around them for so long before purusing the New! Shiny! idea. ;-)

  8. @Anton: I haven't read enough UFs with male heroes to find any complaints yet. I usually shy away from them, though, when there's a lot of casual sex. Although the protag may be a man, it doesn't mean I want to read/hear about how much sex he's having because he can. I think the "advice" authors follow regarding heroines and sex should apply to heroes also. Unless it furthers the plot, then spare me lol.

    Good luck with the book! I hope you write a kickass heroine :)

  9. @skwilliams: I agree, there are a few series I've given up on because I've either lost interest or because they're taking too long to either complete or to publish. A year + wait for the next book can be such a pain in the ass sometimes... especially when the book ends on a cliffhanger!

    I can see myself writing 6 books for the UF I have in mind, but that depends largely on when I actually have the time to focus on it.

  10. Hold the phone. ARE YOU SAYING ALL DYSTOPIANS ARE ALIKE?! Are you knocking my zombies?

    I'm kidding of course. You should read Divergent.


    You knowsss how I feel about love triangles, and it sucks that I feel that way because they aren't going away. They work in YA, and YA authors will continue using them until they no longer work. Unfortunately, I do think love triangles may push me and YA into divorce. Or at least couples therapy.

    Cliffhangers piss me off, because these days, they are RIDICULOUS. You can leave me wanting more without making me want to throw the book, dammit.

    As for your ya know, actual questions, I prefer series for paranormal/fantasy, standalone for contemporary. It's rare that a contemporary setting can keep my attention beyond one book. It mostly depends on the story and the author. Honestly, I think we can tell when an author isn't "feeling" a series enough anymore. Trilogies seem to be *just enough*...but again, it depends on the story and the author's ability to keep things interesting and consistent.

  11. I love this post, because you mention so much of what has been bothering me lately. It seems like I am reading the same book over and over again and it is exhausting, and increasingly difficult to be objective.

    I used to like series books, but since I became a librarian I am a big fan of the stand alone novel. I like to know what the ultimate ending will be and waiting for who knows how many sequels to find that out can be frustrating--not to mention the series that go on and on and on and on....

    I like the series to end when it is time. Sometimes dragging it out can be okay, but after a while it seems like the books are just copies of the ones before. Am I really reading anything new or is it just rehashing the same old stuff.

    In most cases the series goes downhill in four books. Janet Evanovich actually made it to book 10, which is rare for me.

    I am at odds about copycat syndrome. As a reader and a blogger it bothers me because it is all the same old story, but as a librarian I have to learn to understand that while I have read books like this before, it may be the first time my patron has read a book like this and they can really enjoy it. In someways the copycat books make it new for a new generation of readers and they make it something that new generation can relate too. Still as a blogger it is hard for me to be objective when I review something that suffers from copycat syndrome.

    Thank you for the thought provoking post! :)

  12. Good questions!

    Series have their place, but right now I'm enjoying some pretty good stand-alone titles. That's not to say that I don't like series... but I don't like long or open-ended ones. A trilogy is about all I can handle; more than that, and it's often obvious that it's a money grab. And, finally, I like seeing original ideas. The world needs "the next Twilight" or another Harry Potter-inspired series like it needs a hole in the head!

  13. Ugh. I HATEHATEHATE the love triangles in YA. And YA has a lot to offer the SF/fantasy genre, but sometimes it feels like the throw the love triangle in on principle. Grrr.

    As for series vs standalone....well I think it depends on if the author knows when to end it. I understand that a lot of work goes into worldbuilding, so it's not fair to say only so many stories can take place in that world. But only so many stories can happen to the same people before you get bored. At some point you can't help but wonder why every serial killer/vampire/evil ghost in the universe is fixated on one character.

    I agree with what everyone else has said, that a bunch of this is the publisher's fault. I didn't notice anywhere near as much pointless romantic angst in YA pre-Twilight. And there's certainly been a ridiculous surge in zombies and steampunk lately (both genres I enjoy, but I'd rather have a few good stories than 2 dozen repetitive ones).

  14. Excellent discussion! Couldn't agree more that some series limp along much too long in pursuit of more money!

    I've stopped reading the Anita Blake and Stephanie Plum series because they started to bore me. Yet somehow, I'm still not tired of the Eve Dallas books by JD Robb. Maybe because the characters actually change over time?

    Tired of the YA triangles too, as I don't remember any love triangles when I was a teenager. Not very realistic. Same thing with angels, who are suddenly everywhere!

    Think that's why I get so excited when I read something halfway original, and devour it like a starving man! *L*

    Alexia's Books and Such...

  15. @Amanda: You know I love me some zombies! I haven't read enough books to get sick of them yet ;)

    They work in YA, and YA authors will continue using them until they no longer work.

    It's not that they work... it's just that publishers seem to be trying to introduce the next TWILIGHT and make big bucks. I'd say most triangles DON'T work because the authors have no idea how to utilize them successfully (which is why we have such a problem with them!). There's no character growth--though a lot of authors claim that their characters (particularly the heroines) are growing by making the "big decision" of which guy to choose--and because of the lack of growth, one cannot help but question what the point of the book is.

    And what is the point? Most debuts (from 2010) seemed to focus on the love triangle over an actual storyline. I hold ENCLAVE in such high regard because Ann managed to focus on the story instead of on the romance.

    Cliffhangers in adult books don't piss me off as much as YA for some reason. I guess it feels more gimmicky in YA, and it seems like it's more about the money and hooking the teens, who will then make mom or dad buy the books they want.

    You can definitely tell when an author's sick of a series. It's unfortunate, too!

  16. @Melissa: You DEFINITELY aren't alone!

    I'm starting to like the solo books also for that very reason. I think one of the main reasons why I love adult romances so much is because, despite there sometimes being an overarching plot line, each hero and heroine does, in fact, receive his/her happy ending by the end of THAT book.

    As a reader and a blogger it bothers me because it is all the same old story, but as a librarian I have to learn to understand that while I have read books like this before, it may be the first time my patron has read a book like this and they can really enjoy it.

    I love this point you bring up. Bloggers (who are always bogged down with books) definitely seem to have this problem. It's so easy to forget that the average reader wouldn't have this problem at all. Hell, when I look back on the days before I started Book Faery, I can definitely recall loving way more books than I do now because I thought everything was unique LOL.

    You point does bring up something important: while we may be burnt out, readers are typically the primary concern for publishers... since they're where the money's at. Guess we just have to suck it up and pray for the gems that we randomly stumble upon every now and then, huh?

  17. @La Coccinelle: LOL!! You are so right :)

    I try to avoid getting invested in any series that tends to drag on and on, with no end in sight. Too many years of waiting for something that can potentially be a huge letdown.

    On the flip side, it could just blow my mind. I need to stop being so pessimistic about some of these books lol!

    @draconismoi: YA does have a lot of potential, but I think PNRs (which I love dearly and always will) have over-saturated the market--particularly with them damn love triangles or squares! I also agree--and this has been a point I've brought up to a friend or two quite often--that it seems some authors just include the triangles for the hell of it. It seems some "try" more than others to get that TEAM A, TEAM B rabidity out of their fans.

    Lookie lookie, I'm making up words now!

    Anyway, regarding Steampunk: love the genre, but definitely have not read many books in it, thankfully.

    @Alexia: Devouring something semi-original is definitely something we have in common.

    Regarding the longer series: if an author has the ability to make everything fresh and develop the characters 10 or even 20 books later, then more power to him/her! It seems like a lot of authors, after a certain point in a series, hit a road bump and everything begins to look mechanical. That original spark is long gone.

    I don't remember much of these trends when I was a teen reading YA, but I agree, there was a lot less annoying angst. Then Twilight came...

  18. True that. All of that. Although, I do think the triangles work in favor of some. Not for US, the critical readers who dissect everything we read, but for those who genuinely read for fun (remember those days?) and go crazy for the TEAMSSSS....it seems to work for them. Me? It just gives me a headache.

    And that is absolutely one of the reasons I loved Enclave. It's also one of the reasons I loved Feed by Mira Grant, back when I still thought that was YA. Haha.

  19. I've been really meh about starting any new series lately because with up to a year between books I tend to forget what happened and then don't care enough to pick it back up. So I mainly try to go for finished (or really close to being finished) series and stand-alones. With up to 8 or 9 books a month, I just don't have the energy to keep dozens and dozens of storylines straight in my head.
    And the genre thing is another hang up of of mine. I have been reading vampire books since junior high (Anne Rice FTW!) and I can't believe how popular they are now. But they're all the same angsty crap that you can read everywhere else. I get all of my books from the library and only purchase if I know it will be read again. Let's just say that my purchases can be counted on one hand for the year so far. There's just not really anything I've absolutely had to have.

  20. @Amanda: Say we weren't the cynical, over-analyzing/over-thinking skanks we are...

    Even if we read a hellovalot less than our present selves, wouldn't all the YA love triangles STILL become redundant after a while?

    I mean, we read a lot, no doubt, and out of all we read, a huge chunk of that is YA with love triangles. Even if a reader read... 20 books in a year, and they were all YA PNRs with love triangles, I can't help but think he/she would get sick of them, no?

  21. I would hope. But idk man, I don't have much faith in people as a whole. Our society can't get enough of celebrities and Hollywood, and you'd think they would eventually stop caring about that. About shit that doesn't mean shit. ahemlovetrianglesahem.

    I am tired. And I'm probably making connections where there aren't any. lmao. but i'm sure you get what i'm saying.

  22. Hey Homeslice! A very interesting post;) lol! I try to avoid reading a long series because I normally get annoyed with them by the 4th or 5th book. Oh yeah and I can't forget the filler books that really piss me off, lol. I prefer stand alone books and *most* trilogies.

    When it comes to YA if a book is really hyped I tend to shy away from it and look for the book that is the underdog;) They seem to be more interesting. I just bought Before I Fall and Delirium by Lauren Oliver so I can't wait to read them now;) I haven't read too many dystopian books but I did like Divergent. It was very different.

    When it comes to Romance it does get tiresome reading the same old setup with not enough story. *sigh* I do like when humor is added to a romance book because it seems to at least make it more interesting and enjoyable. I loathe love triangles *gag* and cliffhangers are just annoying.

    My final thought *I think I was a hippie in my past life*:
    I say damn the man! Authors write what you want instead of what they *pubs* want! I CRAVE MORE ORIGINAL STORIES!


    p.s. Sorry for the intense final thought, lol!

  23. I have noticed the "Disney" trend (retelling the fairy tales) or retelling the classic myths. Now I do a love a good retelling (Notice I said good.)
    One re-telling I just read was Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray and I LOVED it!!

    I tend to loose intrest in a series if it drags out (The Southern Vampire Mysteries books and Laurell K Hamilton's books have all gone on way too long for me.)

    I don't know I mean if the story is good then I don't have an issue, some cliff hangers are good, but I find that even with out them if it's an author I like I am eager for their next book. If there is a cliff hanger it's usaually just a week that I am in OMGOSHMUSTHAVETHENEXTBOOKNOW!! mode then it ends until I get the next book.
    Some authors I am ALWAYS eager to see what happens next.

  24. LOL. Before I answer those proposed questions.. this question (in varying formats) has been floating around the blogosphere. I'm actually really glad for this because bloggers are swiftly becoming the source for info on books, and publishers are more likely to listen to us if they're a bunch basically saying "WE WANT THE BAR RAISED, Thanks, Book Peeps"

    Kay, now that that's out of the way, I think it comes down to us. The readers. There's going to be key identifiers we need to relate to in a book and something to carrying us on in the plot. Whether that's a good writing or a hunky (or sassy) main character. Obviously series sell because they're becoming one book into three (most of the time). THe first book sets us up, second we get some answers but more questions, and third or fourth we might get a good ending.

    I don't like it, so I try not to participate in it. If I feel like the book is heading that way, I put it down and walk away right then. The key is finding great writers who have a story to tell in a "new" way. Have you read Rosemary Clement-Moore's stuff? She's a REALLY good story-teller. She'll hook you in the first few pages.

  25. I like series and solo but if I had to choose, I like trilogies LOL. You know exactly how many books there will be and they do not drag on forever. One thing about series and YA Romance is you know exactly how it will end (that is why I skipped Vampire Academy). I have a UF Challenge on my blog for 1st in series and I can tell you that with many of them I know how they will end. I like the Rachel Morgan series because she doesn't just get with one guy. Good/bad things happen to keep it interesting on the "romance" side of UF. With that said about the Rachel Morgan series, I do think they need to do about 2 more books then be done. Just FYI, the Stephanie Plum series is a GREAT example of a series getting way to long (17+).

    A series can go down hill at anytime. It just depends on the plot/writing. I can't read more then 3 books of a series right in a row because I get bored and I'll just skip to the last book to see how it ends.

    As for copycat syndrome, it is hard. I have brainstormed some ideas for books just to go and find someone did about 90% of what I was thinking already. The CS does not bug some people because they like reading the "same" type of books (with sex, alpha males, wit, etc.). So if you have some of those things then people will overlook the fact that the characters are similar in many books. I'm finding that out in my Reading Challenge. I read different genres so it keeps me not from burning out in one genre.

    I always thought a wolf/vampire hybrid would be awesome but then I found Full Moon Rising. The question is though, if someone does a character similar to say Riley (as an example) is it being a 100% copycat? Where is the line drawn?

    Great post.

  26. @Amanda: I don't know, call me skeptical, but I feel like as a reader, I would get sick of all the love triangles sooner or later--even if I wasn't so critical lol. Especially because some of the books I know I would have picked turned out to be horrible.

    @Steph: Hey gurl hayy!

    Filler books are even worse. I HATE it when absolutely nothing happens in an entire book. That was the exact reason why I refuse to read the House of Night series any longer. An entire book based on one day? And how many guys were there?

    When it comes to the blogging community, I also shy away from the hyped up books. More often than not, I end up hating them.

    Have patience with BEFORE I FALL. The heroine is a brat, but she eventually redeems herself :)

    Also, it would be nice if some authors made me of an effort to mask the formula they apparently follow with their plot line. Some are so obvious it actually detracted from the story.

  27. @Moirae: I'm the same way. Usually the OMG MUST READ NEXT BOOK lasts for a day or two and then I forget about it.

    As for the retellings.... some can be really good, but a majority of them (particularly in YA... *cough*Persephone and Hades?*cough*) end up botching it completely. I'm incredibly disappointed when that happens.

    @Tipsy: The thing is that publishers only recently started utilizing bloggers to a bigger extent. Am I right? Are they really going to care what we have to say when reading is so subjective? I know they prefer it when reviewers email them links to both positive and negative reviews, but even so...

    THe first book sets us up, second we get some answers but more questions, and third or fourth we might get a good ending.

    I hate this trend. Sometimes I'll keep reading if the book is good, but most of the time, I give up too. So much buildup and there's not even a guarantee that the ending will in fact be good.

  28. @Rosey: That's another problem I've been having with romance.

    Take Gena Showalter's LOTU series. She's had one of the book heroes DIE, and suddenly there is divine intervention and everything's back to normal. I know that you're guaranteed a HEA, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish that I wasn't guaranteed it. I want to wonder whether or not the hero or heroine will survive by the end, and I want to wonder whether or not they will make it or give up.

    When divine creatures intervene... it just seems like a cop-out to me. I just can't care anymore after that.

    Also, I think that there are a few UFs out there that have one love interest, but so much emotional drama happens between the two that it's almost a mystery as to whether or not they'll ultimately be together.

    I wonder how readers would react if the "destined" hero and heroine pairing ended up going their separate ways by the end of a series?

    We saw the uproar with Anne Bishop's recent release. No spoilers, but there wasn't such a HEA in one of the novellas and SO many readers boycotted the book once they found out.

    I think CS is inevitable. Most original ideas are taken. It's a matter of molding the story and characters and universe in your own, unique way that makes a story stand out, I think.

  29. I time out a long time ago on the love triangle one (it was probably due to reading Janet Evanovich's books, not paranormal.) By the time it was a theme in UF and paranormal, I refused to read it. I loved Lisa Shearin's first book--but I knew that in the second book it was going to "love triangle." I've never read it. I probably never will. Ugh. I guess I'm a one-man kind of gal. Or maybe I just get tired of the "everyone loves the heroine" syndrome (Sookie Stackhouse anyone?)

  30. @Maria: Everyone loving the heroine? Urgh! All the guys want her vajayjay, and all the girls hate her guts.

    Sookie isn't even as bad as some of the other heroines I've seen.

  31. Most of the comments I wanted to make are already here, but I'll still throw out my tuppence worth!
    YA / love triangle... done to death... time to bury it and move on!
    For me the best series I've read is one I rarely see promoted the Raven Chronicles by james Barclay... no one is safe, people you have read and grown to love die randomly... characters develop in ways I haven't' considered... I can re-read these again and again, and never feel I'm reading a book! If you haven't read them, start with Dawnthief!

    Series I love some series: Black Dagger Brotherhood / Mercy Thompson / Alpha Omega, and do eagerly await the new books, I like the progression of character across the books, the personal growth and the personal mess ups... they do build credibility for me so I engage with the characters.
    I've moved away from Christine Feehan Carpathian books, they are just so repetitive, the same story, same type of location, same tortured hero (can we have just one happy optimist), but worse still the same dialogue and writing. There is no longer any individuality of hero or heroine...
    Kenyons Dark Hunters have kept me interested, but at the Acheron book I felt it was time to stop, but now we have another story developing...
    Sookie stakchouse / vampire academy.. very same-ish, in fact I read book one of SS and never went to book 2 until True blood appeared on the scene, and it developed the character so much more than the writer!