Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When Does An Author Go Too Far?

Currently reading Blood Price by Tanya Huff

In between my regular reading and writing this weekend, I read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Stephenie Meyer's publishing company posted her latest Twilight book online. It's still available until midnight EST on July 5.

I'll give Stephenie credit. She did with this novella what she planned to do with her aborted novel, Midnight Sun--give her readers a different POV on critical events of the Twilight Saga. And I'll give Little, Brown & Company credit for priming the Twilight pump right before the movie release of Eclipse. From a business standpoint, I say major kudos for their marketing savvy and knowing their audience.

From the story standpoint? I'm not sure how I feel.

Bree comes off as far more sympathetic than Bella. She didn't have the luxury in choosing to become a vampire. And the poor girl quickly learns that life with the newborns is just as dangerous as her human life as a runaway. I kind of wished that Stephenie had fleshed out the human Bree a little more.

On the other hand, I don't think events in the novella mesh with the events in Breaking Dawn very well. Lack of continuity in books and movies is one of my pet peeves. (In fact, it's one of DH's too, which is why I trust him as one of my beta readers.)

Don't get me wrong. This is not a slam on writers who do series. As a writer, I fully understand how hard it is, and I applaud anyone who even attempts to write a series.

But as a reader, I feel, well, maybe insulted is the best word. Like the writer or publisher thinks I'm too stupid to notice these things. I'm not talking about carving out reasonable exceptions when the writer has laid the appropriate groundwork in order to give a neat spin to their story. But there's a very popular NYT bestselling author who left me cold after the third book. To me, why waste the money if the rules change in midstream? C'mon! Would you take Master Splinter appearing to train Luke Skywalker after Ben Kenobi dies seriously?

This is not to say things can't be handled well if someone wants to be revisionary. Take J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot or Sherrilyn Kenyon's Chronicles of Nick for example. As a consumer, I just want a fucking good reason for turning the rules of the fictional world upside down.

Honestly, when one of my series sees the light of the publishing world, I fully expect to be skewered by my readers if I do something insanely stupid. And I'm sure DH will do his damnedest to make sure I don't fall off the stupid cliff.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. Anybody else have some thought on the Bree Tanner novella?


  1. Anybody else have some thought on the Bree Tanner novella?

    I haven't, 'cause I haven't read it (or any of the other Twilight books, for that matter) but Cleolinda has, and her thoughts are always worth reading. (And yes, I did throw a few bucks at the Red Cross after reading the recap. :) )

    If you like that, her summaries and recaps on the novels are awesome, to the point of being linked by mainstream media sources.

    On the original subject, I agree that it's incredibly annoying when writers can't keep their own darned universe straight from one book to the next. Of course, now that I'm in the middle of committing series, watch me do the same thing, LOL! And yeah, I have a notes file; I'd die without it. :D


  2. Honestly, I'm fairly neutral on the whole Twilight saga. (The neutrality leans when it comes to Taylor Lautner's abs. Yum!) The books are neither as horrible as the detractors say, nor are they the epic novels the Twihards believe. I think people forget who the target audience is for YA books (i.e. this is the stuff I would have read in grade school).

    But I have to say thanks for the link to Cleolinda! I was laughing my butt off the whole time I read her blog.

    And I'm glad to know you're keeping notes on your series!

  3. Hi, Suzan! Skipped over here from Janet Reid's blog--and I actually agree w/you re: Meyer's stuff. It's neither SO bad nor AS great. To her credit, I think she does a very job at conjuring emotions, but she also goes way off the charts w/her descriptions... bluh. Me: cut to the chase already!

    That said, I didn't care for Bree Tanner. For the reasons you stated AND because I felt like it was a book composed of all the parts I skimmed in Eclipse. But onward & upward--as aspiring novelists, we're to learn from every book we read, right?

    best of luck to you! :o)

  4. Hi LTM! *cyber wave*

    Thanks for stopping by. And yes, you are so right. We do learn as much from the things we don't like as we do from the things we like.