Dude, how can you not read a post with that title? Impossible. Also, if you know the movie it comes from, you get two gold stars. If I had some gold stars... Sadly, I don't. What I do have is another fabulous guest blogger! Heather Anastasiu (author of the forthcoming GLITCH) is here to talk romance!
SO, full confession time: I love Twilight. I read it before it got big and I love, love, loved it. It’s the only book I’ve re-read this decade, and I’ve read it about 7 times.
Yes, there are problematic things in it as you examine gender stereotypes and troublesome relationship elements that, if translated to the real world, could be bad (hello creepy stalker boyfriend who follows you everywhere without your knowledge and spends all night outside your bedroom watching you).
But. BUT! There is something about those books that are so compulsively readable, a fantasy so delicious it just makes readers want to relive and relive and relive it. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out HOW Twilight does this. In my Master’s in Literature program, I wrote several papers about it, trying to figure it out. I’ve looked at from a psychoanalytical standpoint, looked at it as a hero myth, as lush escapism, as a means of comforting oneself about structure and order in a chaotic world.
But from a writer’s standpoint, looking at Meyer’s engaging style, I wonder if a big part of it isn’t because she just spends so much time letting us peek into this extraordinary relationship. There’s so much talking. The talking and scenarios have tension to be sure—Edward might lose control and drain her dry at any moment—but you know how in movies the camera will zoom out and/or do a montage of different times where the couple is talking and laughing and getting to know each other? Well, Twilight lets you watch it all without much fast forwarding. There’s not a lot of fade-to-black “and then they talked all night” summaries.
And I love it. I love some of those conversations. I go back and re-read them. Books that follow a standard romantic formula tend to skip over this part—the part where the lovers actually get to know each other! It’s all: he was so handsome and muscular and looked at her darkly/hungrily/lustily and the girl’s all: muscles! Love at first sight! Soul mate! Bad boy I can save!
Ahem. Ok, ok, so that’s just a particular type of romance pattern, but the immediate intense eternal love thing without bunches of talking and getting to know each other—I don’t like it. I don’t like it when action in a book eclipses these emotional talking moments either. The parts of my own book that make me happiest are the talking/getting to know each other moments. Thank God for my agent who’s always nudging me: maybe some more action here, oh, and maybe we could make something explode now? *winks at Agent Charlie* (and yes, my dystopian debut Glitch actually DOES have a lot of action too).
Because in the end, Twilight had TOO LITTLE action—or it was weird, forced, inorganic, and in the end (especially in Breaking Dawn), ultimately unsatisfying. I like a little sacrifice to be involved in happy endings, otherwise it doesn’t seem real, not hard-fought enough to be satisfying.
So yes, I like action books, and I like kissing books *shout out to Princess Bride* But I like them best when there’s talking too, where characters seem to genuinely get to know each other and connect.
Wow. I don't know if I'm more awed by Heather reading Twilight 7 times or that she wrote papers on it, or simply the pure fact that she's absolutely right! What do you think?
Thank you, Heather, for being here! And dude, GLITCH is a dystopian you're going to want to keep your eyes on...
her website for more info, news, and updates.