1.22.2014

Currently Reading: Midnight Sun

I have a problem: I might've lost interest in writing extensively about Twilight.

Don't get me wrong—I still enjoy the books, guilty pleasure though they may be. But my sister just gave me a couple of books to read; I've got to get hold of The Outsiders for February's book club; Dorothy Cummings McLean keeps adding to my to-read list, and the Pages Unbound girls are doing likewise—by the way, they're hosting a Lord of the Rings read-along, for anyone who might be interested—and, on top of having two books to write and a chant schola to direct in mid-February, I am currently in the grips of an Idea. It's making it hard to think about anything else.

Cover idea
by "Mel" at thetwilightsaga.com
Meanwhile, however, I did finally read Midnight Sun, which, taking into account that it was half a rough draft, I: a) could not put it down, and b) enjoyed it way too much for a sedate, literary almost-thirty-six-year-old. I can obsess about the minor details of romantically-charged character interaction forever.*

It didn't strike me as shockingly revelatory, but it didn't bore me with old information, either. All of the characters were flatter and more one-sided even than in the Saga proper, but as a novelist, I cannot emphasize clearly enough that that's fairly characteristic of rough drafts. Drafting entails huge amounts of feeling your way forward, which makes it all too easy to overemphasize mental and emotional directions.

It's just a small aside in the story, but the best part, as far as this very tall girl was concerned, was the tale of Angela Weber and Ben Cheney. I felt like applauding. Romance is tough for those who don't easily fit the tall-burly-man-and-smaller-delicate-woman paradigm. Possibly the first time in my adult life that I was comfortable with my height was when I hit it off—albeit very briefly, and not necessarily romantically—with a friendly young man seven inches shorter than I am. There wasn't an ounce of the threatened look in his warm eyes or beautiful smile. After that evening, I went out and bought my first pair of high heels.

(Thanks, O Brief Acquaintance. I liked those shoes.)

Here's to Ben and Angela, then, and here's to not always fitting the cultural ideal of physical perfection. I'll drink to that!

* Possibly I should not be admitting to that. Eh.

6 comments:

  1. I don't think I was aware Meyer got more than a couple chapters into the draft of Midnight Sun. Interesting! Then again, I only read the first Twilight book, so I guess I'm not particularly devoted to following her writings. ;)

    I think the question with the whole project was whether fans would be willing to pay full book price for a retelling of a story they have already read. I know publishers have been quite successful with different POV short stories or novellas (such as Veronica Roth's "Free Four") but I'm not sure anyone has done an entire book. I actually would have liked to have seen how that played out.

    It's wonderful that the book portrays an "unusual" literary couple, though! I'm not tall enough to particularly relate to this issue, but I do realize there are a plethora of petite girls in fiction. Apparently looking small and fragile (but actually being tough?) is in right now. We could certainly use some diversity!

    (Thanks for mentioning our read-along!)

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    1. Oh, gosh, I've been meaning to mention your read-along for WEEKS. Can't say much for my memory. :P

      I would've liked to see how the MS scenario played out, too. Free Four seemed to do really well, but yeah, it was shorter. The impressive thing about Midnight Sun was how few times I felt like I was reading the same story, especially since I'd just read that same section of Twilight. The bits I read of Free Four were also neat that way. Character perspective changes everything.... but yeah, the same story retold with only a perspective shift can certainly be a harder sell.

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  2. I can relate to your tall-girl love story love! I'm curvy and short without being at all pixielike, and I experienced some neurosis (understatement) when I hit puberty and realized that all the fictional characters with anything resembling my body type were either 1) the heroine's dumb but fun-loving friend, or 2) a personification of sensuality serving as a foil to the smart, slender heroine's idealism / intelligence / poetic nature. Which was pretty much the opposite of 11-y/o me's existing self-image. . . but can 10000000 Victorian novelists really be wrong??

    I still get really excited when a character who is short or curvy or BOTH! shows up on TV, and up to 25% of my geeking out over Emma Goldman's autobiography was, "She's SMART and she THINKS ABOUT THINGS, but she looks just like me!!!!!!!11!"

    Re: small and fragile but tough, I will go on record as LOVING Summer Glau with every fiber of my being, but! I would also love for more of my entertainment to feature "not at all fragile-looking and tough," "tall and attractive and tough," "nerdy and tough," "fat and tough," and every other body type, in all combinations of toughness, non-toughness, weakness, surprising strength, unexpected failure, intelligence, good-heartedness, and every other way of being.

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    1. but can 10000000 Victorian novelists really be wrong??

      OH MY GOSH. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Although, for me it was more personality--it seemed like spunky and fiery were The Things to Be; calm and quiet and docile relegated you to being The One with No Imagination. And I wasn't experienced enough at eleven to realize that you can have an imagination AND be docile.

      I am in 100% agreement with your last paragraph!

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  3. I wish MS hadn't been leaked and Meyer had fleshed out (pun intended) and finished it. It's more interesting to me than Twilight, actually, and yes, definitely a different reading experience. I like reading both books together now and appreciate the reactions and thoughts unknown to the other.

    I too dislike body types and eye color as stereotypes for personalities. It's dumb. I loved Ben and Angela's story, and that Edward gave Ben that little push he needed. Also that he appreciated Angela and wanted to do something special for her, because she was a quiet background person with a good heart, who got little, if any, appreciation other than Edward's, Bella's and Ben's.

    I do hope you continue discussing Twilight, as the conversation has been so interesting.

    Deborah

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    1. Thanks! I WOULD like to write about Bella and Carlisle and Alice and Rosalie, at least, but we'll see how much time and energy I can scrape together.

      I wish Meyer had been able to finish the story, too! I thoroughly enjoyed what she did get written. It's a real shame that it got leaked.

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