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02 September 2008 @ 12:58 am
SMeyer defends Breaking Dawn, sucks at that, too  
Stephenie Meyer has posted FAQs on Breaking Dawn. This woman is pure crack on a crackstick. I think chocolatepot (or perhaps it was cleolinda -- I can't remember which) was the one who said she's awesome at unintentional hilarity. WORD.

Highlights and my responses:

I may post some extras [from Forever Dawn, the original sequel to Twilight] someday if I ever have time to go back through the Forever Dawn manuscript—it's just as long as Breaking Dawn.

WE ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE, A YELLOW SUBMARINE, A YELLOW SUBMARINE! *repeat 87 times* (Sorry, only some of you will get this one.)

Q: Vampires and pregnancy: when did that idea occur to you? How does that work?

A:
[snip for tl;dr] Now, on to the "how is this possible?" question. First of all, of course it's not possible. None of this story is possible. It's a fantasy story about creatures that don't actually exist. Within the context of the fantasy, however, this is how it works:


OK, I can appreciate this answer. It's a fantasy story, so the reader needs to suspend disbelief. However, in this particular case, it's an example of shoddy worldbuilding. I think there are way too many elements of her vampires that she simply didn't bother to work out -- or just gave pat, too-convenient explanations for. I hear Tolkien is a very thorough worldbuilder,1 and he's also been criticized for it, because the details of the elements of his universe are boring to some readers. J.K. Rowling, on the other hand, didn't build every last detail of her world; for example, we don't understand how magic works, why it appears in some people who come from Muggle lines, how it might alter a person's genes, etc. (If you're looking on some interesting theories on these questions and more, check out Red Hen's essays, particularly The "Foundation" Essays and the Oh Wide Wide (Wizarding) World! pieces -- see the sidebar on the left of the site to navigate to them.) But overall, she thought out a very consistent, logical universe, and she traded off providing the nitpicky foundational details for the telling of a riveting story. Unfortunately, SMeyer followed neither approach, but rather the FAIL model. So yeah, I get that her story is not realistic; if it were, Edward would be on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator," as various people have already said. But she could have done a way better job of thinking out her universe and presenting it to us.


1Yes, I've never read any of his books before...I know, I know, I'll give 'em a try someday. To be honest, fantasy is not really so much my genre. But I do mean to give 'em a read. I'm just too busy...posting about Twilight's failtasticness on LJ. >>


However, the cells that make up their [vampires'] skin are not pliant like our cells, they are hard and reflective like crystal. A fluid similar to the venom in their mouths works as a lubricant between the cells, which makes movement possible (note: this fluid is very flammable).

(1) Yes, OK, so that's why they sparkle in the sun, but wouldn't they still sparkle under light, or even low-light-but-not-entirely-dark conditions? Poorly thought-out premise FTL.

(2) If the fluid is very flammable, then wouldn't the vampires be scared of fire, just like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz? Cells exist on the surface of the skin, so the fluid would be between them and thus exposed to the air, and you can't say that there's some sort of protective layer OVER the cells, especially since that layer would have to bend in order for the vampires to move and flex, and thus the lubricant would have to exist in that layer, too, and...

Yeah, I should stop trying to make logic of this, shouldn't I? *sigh*

Other involuntary reactions, like blinking, don't exist because there is no purpose for them.

I don't recall Bella being weirded out by the non-blinking of the vamps, but maybe they were just so practiced at pretending to be human that they got in the habit of purposeful blinking, just as they sit and shift around even though they don't need to (as described in Breaking Dawn). Still, this is a sort of interesting element; it's too bad SMeyer didn't explore it a bit further, especially after Bella becomes a newborn. (Or perhaps she did? I haven't finished Breaking Dawn yet.)

The normal reactions of arousal are still present in vampires, made possible by venom-related fluids that cause tissues to react similarly as they do to an influx of blood. Like with vampire skin—which looks similar to human skin and has the same basic function—fluids closely related to seminal fluids still exist in male vampires, which carry genetic information and are capable of bonding with a human ovum.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL Edward truly does have a venom cock! Still, this does not answer the question of whether Edward has a cold, marblelike wang (and thus a permanent hard-on -- perhaps the worst case of priapism in history!). But it does hint that he's got a sparkle cock! Yay!

On a more serious note, I still wonder why the venom from his ejaculate didn't poison Bella (aside from the pregnancy itself being a danger to her). Or, for that matter, why sucking face with her didn't give her...I dunno, mouth blisters or something.

Oh, right. Shoddy worldbuilding. I remember now.

I didn't get into all of these details at my signings because it's a long, complicated mouthful.

That's what SHE said! Come on, man. People asked you for answers. You ought to give them. Surely you can come up with a condensed version if you think the full explanation is of the tl;dr sort. I don't recall JKR providing incomplete explanations just because she didn't want to go into it. Your readers are there to hear those sorts of things. *headdesk*

Also, it's hard to be clearly heard with all the screaming.

You arrogant excuse-making wench. I call bullshit. That's what a microphone is for. JKR knew how to use one, and I'm sure she had screamers at some of her events, too. And yes, I know, public interviews can get out of hand, but surely someone asked the same questions to you in a more private, intimate setting. I appreciate that you have taken the time to provide the answer on your Web site after the fact, but I still call bullshit.

Mostly, though, I waited to do this in writing because I have an immature, Homer Simpson-like tendency to giggle when I say the words "seminal fluids" in public.

LOL, OK, immature and stupid, but funny nonetheless. Self-awareness feels nice, doesn't it? You might want to try having some more often.

I suppose I could try to prolong her story unnaturally, but it wouldn't be interesting enough to keep me writing. Stories need conflict, and the conflicts that are Bella-centric are resolved.

...

See previous comment on self-awareness. *brings out the cluebat* Bella's story wasn't interesting in the first place, especially in Twilight, which could essentially be summarized as follows:

Bella: "OMG I'm so plain and clumsy and he's so hot and perfect and sparkly, so there's no way he likes me!"
Edward: "OMG I'm such a monster and she's so freesia smelling, so there's no way she likes me!"
Bella: *falls down*
Edward: *sparkles*
Bella and Edward: *like each other but angst about it*

My angsty high school diary entries were more interesting. And yes, stories need conflict, but I would hardly say that "I like you and you like me, but we don't know it, and then when we do, we are both convinced that the other is too good for us" is much of a conflict unless you're talking about Sweet Valley High. And even that series did it better. (Conked-on-the-head!Elizabeth becoming just like Jessica and forcing Jessica to be all responsible and thereby act more like Elizabeth FTW!)

And what about the conflicts that aren't Bella centric? Oh, right, Bella's your self-insert, so we shouldn't care about anything else. Never mind.

The surprise to me is that so many people do like my books.

Yay, we agree on something!

I wrote them for a very specific audience of one, and so there was no guarantee that any other person on the planet besides me would enjoy them.

Yes, clearly. That is why Bella is your self-insert Mary Sue. And this is one of the many reasons that the stories should never have been published at all, although I've got to give you credit anyway; getting published is not easy, and on a more general level, I say congrats for doing so. This is where your editor and Brown Little exhibit mass amounts of fail.

It's a hard thing to have people unhappy with you, but there's nothing I can do. Either Breaking Dawn entertains you or it doesn't.

Oh, don't get me wrong; it entertains me all right! Just not for the reasons I imagine you were hoping for.

If I could go back in time, knowing everything I know right now, and write the whole series again, I would write exactly the same story. (The writing would be better, though—practice makes perfect.)

...I guess you're just a slow learner, then? People say that the writing in Breaking Dawn is better than that in Twilight. I read Twilight and New Moon when I was 38 weeks pregnant, so I don't remember a whole lot, but I'll take people's word on the writing improvement. That said, Breaking Dawn still has issues, man. ISSUES.

Look, I do have some compassion for SMeyer. She's right -- not everyone will like what a person writes; to have that sort of expectation is foolish. One person's junk is another person's treasure, and vice versa. I appreciate that her heart isn't broken by people like me. But I still have to mock. It's the only way for me to deal with the trauma of having read these books.

If Breaking Dawn were ever made into a movie, it's hard to imagine it fitting into ninety minutes. The book is just so long! I can't imagine how to distill it—if I could, the book would be shorter.

You can't imagine how to distill it? Here's a clue: Cut out all the parts where Bella goes on about Edward's hawtness. That should cut the book down in at least half. ;)

Anyway, I haven't finished the book yet, so maybe she's right, but on a more serious note, it strikes me that showing a lot of the scenes on screen is way faster than reading them, because narration necessarily takes longer to provide detail. The agony of Bella's conversion to sparklepire could easily take a minute or shorter. And the honeymoon could take maybe five minutes -- just show us the feathers and the bitten headboard and the rolfing up of fried chicken and we're good to go! Sorry, SMeyer, but this isn't Deathly Hallows, which has a lot of plot and a lot of dialogue and scenes that convey important information. Your narration rambles, as does your dialogue. There's a lot that can be cut.

When I said that Breaking Dawn might be impossible to film, it's because of Renesmee.

Are you sure it's not because you're pretty sure that the backlash against the book means that you won't get a film deal through that book anyway? :D

Q: Is Bella an anti-feminist heroine?

A: When I hear or read theories about Bella being an anti-feminist character, those theories are usually predicated on her choices.


Choices??? Bella constantly says she had no choice; she was drawn to Edward, and once she met him, there was no turning back! Yes, OK, so she could have chosen the "safe" route with Jacob, but in the end, she chalks up this "choice" to the fact that she had no choice from the beginning; she couldn't exist without Edward, and he couldn't exist without her. Where is the choice here????

Apparently, it is with the logic. :(

I never meant for her fictional choices to be a model for anyone else's real life choices. She is a character in a story, nothing more or less. On top of that, this is not even realistic fiction, it's a fantasy with vampires and werewolves, so no one could ever make her exact choices.

No, but the least you could do is not make them so fucking retarded. And again, she constantly claims that when it came down to it, there was no choice. You can't have it both ways!

Bella chooses things differently than how I would do it if I were in her shoes, because she is a very different type of person than I am.

Hello monitor, meet mouthful of water! *sets the self-awareness bat next to the cluebat* Where's that fandomsecrets post that takes a picture of SMeyer and juxtaposes it with text that describes Bella Swan, with arrows going to each matching attribute? Yes, that picture focuses on looks only, but c'mon, it's clear that Bella is a total self-insert. *takes out a self-awareness anvil*

In my own opinion (key word), the foundation of feminism is this: being able to choose. The core of anti-feminism is, conversely, telling a woman she can't do something solely because she's a woman—taking any choice away from her specifically because of her gender. "You can't be an astronaut, because you're a woman. You can't be president because you're a woman. You can't run a company because you're a woman." All of those oppressive "can't"s.

Yes, and you never let Bella choose; she had to follow fate. A true choice would be turning down what feels like fate. Had Bella chosen Jacob, she would have chosen the "safe" life, yes, but she also would have been going against her obsession with Edward heart. Would it have been a good choice? I don't know, but it would have been a choice.

Saying that you didn't constrain Bella as a woman doesn't get you out of the fact that you constrained her, period. And by doing this, you played upon old female tropes of pursuing a man to the rejection of all else. In Bella's case, all else included her own parents, as she was going to have to never see them again after becoming a vampire (although I suspect that in Breaking Dawn, she finds a happily-ever-after way to get around all this; I haven't gotten to that part yet, but I'm sure it's there). It's an interesting conflict, and one worthy of exploring in literature, but it horrifies me that SMeyer has presented Bella's choice as romantic. Sure, she goes through some conflict over it, but the reader is supposed to believe that this intensifies the idea of true love. I think it's just creepy.

One of the weird things about modern feminism is that some feminists seem to be putting their own limits on women's choices. That feels backward to me. It's as if you can't choose a family on your own terms and still be considered a strong woman. How is that empowering? Are there rules about if, when, and how we love or marry and if, when, and how we have kids? Are there jobs we can and can't have in order to be a "real" feminist? To me, those limitations seem anti-feminist in basic principle.

I'm a stay-at-home mom now, and so I hear her on this. As someone who went to an Ivy League school and is close to finishing a master's degree, I had to fight with a lot of inner turmoil caused by society's expectations for women and their careers, especially educated women. No one has ever given me a hard time about my choice, but it's still a choice that was hard to make in all of the years building up to when I knew I'd eventually have to make it. So yeah, fair enough, it's bad to make women feel as though making the decision to marry and raise children is a weak, anti-female choice. But that's not why her books are being criticized. They're being criticized because Bella was willing to shut out everything and everyone in her life -- her family, her friends, her education -- in order to follow her creepy sparkly stalker man, and to do so at a young age because she didn't like the idea of being older than her man. >:(

There's my tl;dr on excerpts from her FAQs. God, I needed that. *grabs the sploogetowel and begins wiping up*

P.S. Sorry if there are any spelling or grammar issues; I usually read my posts over at least once before putting them up, but it's almost 1 am, and I really shouldn't be up, considering that my daughter continues to suck ass at sleeping through the night, despite the sweet-potato-induced(?) flukes of a couple weeks ago. (On the Meghan front, I must report that she tolerates applesauce and likes carrots. Yay!)

 
 
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Miss Sophia: Twilight - Edward Maybellinemiss_sophia on September 14th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
From this site! :)

Ha, and totally randomly, but now I'm reminded of a line in Fame the stage musical (not to be confused with the old TV show, which is far better), where the girl who sings the theme song (her name is Carmen) is talking about how she wants, well, fame, and this other girl, who's sort of her sycophant goes, "SPARKLE, GIRL, SPARKLE!" LOL, Carmen was a Twilight fan.