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Why We Shouldn’t Freak Out About MIDNIGHT SUN

May 4, 2020 in Rant, Writing
Why We Shouldn't Freak Out About MIDNIGHT SUN

Okay, peeps, let’s get real about Midnight Sun, ie. Stephenie Meyer’s upcoming Twilight book that was once stalled because an early draft leaked online and Steph just COULDN’T HANDLE IT. I had already dropped out of college when Twilight was it its peak. I mocked it mercilessly. BUT, things have changed. I’m here to tell you that we shouldn’t freak out about Midnight Sun.

Just hear me out, okay?

SIDE-NOTE: The Midnight Sun cover realllllly sucks. The red looks really gory, and unless Meyer writes some hardcore murderous stuff, I don’t think this filtered stock photo fits the Twilight aesthetic. I actually quite liked the covers of the other 4 books. This cover doesn’t do the other 4 proper justice.

Twilight Sucks

This is standard truth, amirite?

Back in the day I was an avid poster on the forum twilightsucks.com, which was pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It was good times. We were all people with mutual hatred sharing in the mutual hatred.

Twilight sucks because the writing is poor. Twilight sucks because the narrative consistently falls flat. The characters really don’t have goals. The mythology isn’t enticing. Bella’s hardly a protagonist worth rooting for. We’ve got arguments about what lessons the story ultimately teaches women. We’ve got questions about whether or not Edward is a toxic partner. ALL WORTHY CRITICISM.

It’s a mess.

But let’s keep in mind what The Dude tells us:

During Twilight’s 10-year anniversary (HOW IS TIME PASSING THIS FAST?!) I read this wonderful Vox article that summarizes pretty much everything I mentioned above. And yes, it did make me feel differently about the books themselves and what they did for young readers at that time.

Being Of-Age

Back in February, I was browsing the DVD selection that Value Village had to offer my daughter (it’s a great way to score some Disney films if you go in often!) While I was looking, some women in their early 20’s came and shopped beside me. They noticed that all the Twilight movies were there, and they laughed and asked among themselves, “OMG, should we watch Twilight?”

I wanted to tell them YES YOU SHOULD, but it didn’t matter because they bought all the movies and took them home.

They were nostalgic. They were excited. And while the movies aren’t exactly great, they do make for a fun watch! Nevertheless, the banter of these young women brought me (a tired-ass young mother) back to my teenage days for a bit. Back then I was reading V.C. Andrews and life was good. My life was spent READING and I loved every moment of that insecure time of mine.

It Doesn’t Matter What You Read…

…so long as you’re reading.

Right?

Yes, one should probably be browsing for better reading material. (Go and read Blood and Chocolate if you want some hardcore quality teen werewolf romance!) BUT, honestly, people should be allowed to read whatever they want. Why? Because reading is great! The people reading Twilight are going places, imagining characters. And even if those characters are dumb stupid sparkly vampires and barely-human teenage girls, at least their brains are being stimulated by something other than BS reality television.

Stories are important. Even garbage stories are important.

Just let people read their Twilight in peace. Let them enjoy it. I don’t understand why they do and would obviously prefer if they read like, my pandemic-released sexy fiction instead of a bunch of non-sexy vampire fiction that doesn’t even have sexy sex, but whatevs.

Why We SHOULD Be Freaking Out About Midnight Sun

Don’t worry, haters. I got your back.

Here’s the thing. Midnight Sun isn’t a new book. It’s an old book that Meyer stopped writing once it was leaked to the Internet. Not only that, but Midnight Sun is just Twilight repackaged in Edward’s POV.

We already got this once in Grey, which is Christian’s retelling of 50 Shades of Grey, which I can’t imagine did as well as 50 Shades of Grey but still made enough money for the dumb stupid capitalist publishers to be happy with regurgitating content that was LITERALLY JUST TWILIGHT FAN-FICTION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Why are we indulging in the same content over and over? Why are we totally okay with this?

Stephanie Meyer isn’t dead. She’s perfectly capable of creating new stories. And she did with whatever that one sci-fi novel she wrote was that didn’t do so well. Her sophomore slump happened. That’s okay. (She also wrote another book called The Chemist in 2016, apparently, so it was a little more than a sophomore slump, but I digress.)

My point is: Stephenie Meyer is a writer. She’s supposed to get up and write more stuff. Throw it out there. See what sticks. Why not write a new paranormal romance? It seems to be what readers want, is it not?

She can write more paranormal romance. She can create new characters, develop her storytelling, maybe BE A BETTER WRITER, but she isn’t. She’s dwelling in this universe she built a decade ago.

Asking for More

As readers, we should be asking for more.

I no longer find comfort in remakes. They’re lazy and often lousy. The world no longer relies on writers and instead focuses on whatever CGI bullshit explosions the graphic people can conjure up.

Stephenie Meyer is a writer whose name garners attention, and instead of opening up a new document on her computer and instead of staring that white screen down until her fingers felt compelled to fill the doom of its burn with new words, she dug through her junk drawer for that forgotten memory stick and opened up an old shitty draft of a story that was already a rewrite of another sub-par story. And a published successful sub-par story at that!

It’s been a decade, Steph. You’re tough. You’ve held up to criticism. You’ve proved your prowess. It’s time to let Twilight open the door to new paranormal love.

A Writer’s Perspective

Now, let’s be ABSOLUTELY fair to Stephenie here, as it seems she wants to write more sci-fi and has unfortunately been unable to achieve the same level of success with her two standalone books. To be frank, that really sucks. But let’s also be real and acknowledge the fact that she is LUCKY to have published a bestselling series that allowed her to publish a pair of novels so unlike her original series.

Most of us will never get there and that makes me sad. Every night I’m slaving away on my Patreon stories that literally only 5 people read. I work so hard and receive no payoff, and at times I feel a bit insulted that Stephenie Meyer had a stupid dream, wrote it down and made millions. Meanwhile, I spent what felt like millions of dollars on a few writing courses, made some friends and connections and published one book that I only ever received one royalty payment for.

It totally sucks but that’s the publishing industry for you! Most of us are gonna fail pretty hard and never get up again. And if I had a dollar for every time somebody told me the story about how Stephen King published Carrie or about how J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter as a broke single mom, I’d have enough money to waste on YET ANOTHER online writing course. I don’t need that kind of false hope in my life.

No New Ideas Allowed.

It’s the bloody publishing industry that’s the problem.

The industry ruined V.C. Andrews, too. She used to write fun incestuous family stories. Now she (and by she I mean, Andrew Neiderman, who ghost-writes her stuff) writes whatever is trendy at the time, and has recently revisited the Dollangangers to DEATH. We’ve reread Flowers in the Attic from Chris’s POV, delved waaaaay back into prequel territory and gone INTO THE ATTIC and BENEATH THE ATTIC. Like does this shit need to get inter-dimensional before Simon and Shuster find a new family horror writer to torture-churn out sub-par fiction for the masses?

The publishing industry (and by industry I mean, capitalism) just bleeds everything to death. It’s frustrating, quite honestly, how the industry will devour an author, murder hornet-style, instead of venturing into the depths of Twitter for new things to sell. The publishing industry couldn’t even find a damn way to exploit the need for more minority stories properly.

Fuck all of this. Just fuck it.

We gotta stop indulging in what the media tells us is good. We gotta start doing our own work find our own entertainment, because popular culture is a graveyard of taste that leads us to expect less, not just from art, but from society as a whole.

Sour Grapes

So that’s my rant: I think we deserve more.

Indie writers offer more. So if you wanna get really chapped about Midnight Sun, go and support a fledgling writer and read their work. Give them your money. Check out the #writingcommunity on Twitter, type in your genre and see what you can find. There literally is something for everyone and writers are BEGGING you to try reading their work.

Do what you can to support them, because right now, just about every single author staying up until 3AM every night churning out quality content with crippling anxiety is pretty much this:

Are You A Twilight Fan?

Do you think you deserve more, or are you okay with reading more of the same? Do you like to read more work by the same author or do you prefer to read stuff along the same genre?

For writers of PARANORMAL ROMANCE: Plug your stuff in the comments or on this thread. Click the tweet and find some new reads from indie authors:

For EVERYONE WHO READS: How do you feel about Midnight Sun? Do you think Robert Pattinson will sign on to do the movie? Because if anything, we deserve more Robert Pattinson and I haven’t heard much from him as of late…

CREDITS

Header Image: Charlotte Noelle

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Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

- RJH

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