This question first popped into my head after a conversation I had with a friend of mine over a story I’m working on. After explaining to her the basic plot and letting her read a snippet of a rough draft, she insisted that two of my MCs had to be a couple. Never mind the fact that the part she read had no romantic elements whatsoever or that both characters in question are straight women, one of whose boyfriend is the third MC in the story. Nope! According to her they have to be a couple and the fact that their affair is a secret from the boyfriend makes it even better. It led to a rather pointless argument where I felt like I had to defend my entire take on my own story. I really don’t want to write a romance story, even before this I was taking great pains to ensure that the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship didn’t take over my plot, so I’m not about to let one person’s opinion cause me to rewrite the whole dang thing. But it does make me wonder how writers/creators react when their readers or fans misinterpret (sometimes on purpose) their story or characters. You see examples all over the internet of people “shipping” characters *shivers* or those who insist that Hermione should have married Harry, etc. How do you deal with that, both before and after publishing? Should I have even bothered trying to argue the point with her or should I just let her think whatever she wants, ignore it, and write it my way?