Perhaps nothing is as delightful to a writer than when his work is acknowledged by those who appreciate it. And it must be gratifying for the fan when a suggestion is incorporated into the writer’s work.
While visiting my regular haunts in cyberspace, I came across an exchange of letters from 1956 between one Geoffrey Boothroyd and Ian Fleming. Boothroyd was a fan of Fleming’s James Bond novels, but as an expert on weaponry he had a bone to pick and a recommendation to make about Bond’s personal handgun.
Fleming was delighted to have such thoughtful, helpful commentary, and 007 soon was packing different heat. The spy also had a new armourer: Major Boothroyd, or Q; this was Fleming’s charming way of acknowledging the real Boothroyd’s valuable help. The subsequent interaction between Bond and Q gave greater depth to both the novels and the eventual motion pictures. I grew up watching Desmond Llewelyn in the role, and the movies would not have been the same without him.
This level of cooperation between writer and reader probably doesn’t happen often, especially as writers have had to become increasingly wary about the potential for lawsuits for stealing ideas. But this behind-the-scenes story from a wildly popular fictional franchise shows what the right fan corresponding with the right writer can achieve.