Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Rewrite: My Fan Status Has Changed

I’m not going to belabor this discussion; this topic is being debated all over social media and blogs today and I have just a few simple points I’m going to target and then call it good.

If you haven’t heard, Author of the Twilight Saga, Stephanie Meyer, has released (or will be releasing? I’m not sure) her rewrite of the books with genders swapped: Edward is now Edythe and Bella is now Beau.

Heads are rolling, to say the least.

From what I understand, Meyer’s rewrite was inspired by criticisms that Bella is an insecure, submissive character – she wants to prove that wrong. I actually find that fascinating because I think we sometimes unknowingly project our perceptions of gender roles onto characters based on the exact biases we’re trying to fight; it will be interesting to see if Meyer can bring this to light.

Now I’m not going to debate her motivation for this rewrite, except to say that if you think she’s completely money-focused you’ve never actually watched an interview with her; and if you think she doesn’t care about money you’re probably a tad idealistic. Yes, it’s about the money, and yes it’s about the writing, the art, and the curiosity.

The big question for me is this: is this a brilliant artistic and gender-identity literary exploration or is it a stupid attempt at sucking as much life as possible out of a successful franchise?

My background: I loved the Twilight books and saw all the movies, but I’ve never been a major Stephanie Meyer fan. I’m a bit critical of her writing ability, TBH, and I tend to like more deep and gritty explorations of characters. That said, the storyline of Twilight, I believe, VERY intriguing. I’m a bigger fan of the Fifty Shades of Grey version of the “I want to kill someone I love” concept simply because I think it’s far more layered and nuanced and dives deep into trauma psychology which I find fascinating, but Stephanie Meyer gets a lot of credit for building the first widely-appealing and jaw-dropping iteration of this storyline.

And now, she’s taking it to a new level. And I’ve officially become a fan.

I think her rewrite is huge. If you think it’s stupid and money-mongerong, consider this: it can be difficult to tell a story from the viewpoint of your opposite gender (think Grey by E.L. James). Consider now, telling the exact same story, but rather than just telling Edward’s side, tell Edward’s side as if he were a female and Bella were a male. This is not fucking easy, folks!!!

But that’s not the only reason I’m supportive of this idea – there’s lots of literary exercises that are difficult. I’m supportive simply because this approach is COMPLETELY FUCKING NEW. I know, you can complain all day that it’s the same goddamn story, but tell me, what author has ever done this before? Who has ever rewritten their story (the exact same story) with the genders switched? What are the implications on our perception of gender and gender stereotypes? This could be huge! Now, it could suck too. It could completely reinforce everything society already believes and be a complete failure. But until I read it, I’m willing to give Meyer my applause for at least taking on such a formidable task. Because who does this?? No one does, that’s who. And that’s how history is made.

And if you don’t find that convincing, let’s just consider the reaction she’s getting from her rewrite. The first three posts I saw on the subject were raving mad people who think this is the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard of. I still have yet to see someone say something positive about it.

And that’s when I knew: this might be the move that turns me into a fan.

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6 thoughts on “Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Rewrite: My Fan Status Has Changed

  1. wow. Sure, she is going to push more money she can from his most famous work… BUT we SHOULD read before judging. Guess what?
    I have no interest at all in reading the same story with swapped genders… I won’t read it, I won’t buy it.
    I have no interest at all in ‘literary games’… and this is one for sure. It’s just a matter of personal taste.
    Awesome article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Literary games” – that’s an interesting way of looking at it. I suppose that’s what it is, though I don’t think her intention is to toy with her readers, rather to rotate her story and view it from a different perspective. I honestly don’t know if I will find the time to read it, but I AM interested to see what she does with it.

      Like

  2. You lost me when you brought EL James into the discussion as if she’s a serious writer. Her fanfiction of the original was just… I can’t even. The first time I read the first pages (preview on Amazon) I wondered why I’d heard all this talk about a sex novel when the first character introduced was obviously 12. I mean really. She’s biting her lip, glaring critically at herself in a mirror… I wondered if the main character was the older sister. By the time I read through all of the trilogy (on the idea that you can’t fairly criticize what you haven’t read), I had a migraine.

    Now, Twilight, being the source material, is at a higher level of literacy, but just barely. The characters were shallow and vapid, and the angst and drama were generated entirely by the artificial tension in the relationships, and could have been avoided simply by the characters making other choices. There was no real compelling conflict. Sorry to fans but there you have it.

    The writer would’ve been better off to write something new. We can’t grow by revisiting the past. It doesn’t seem to me as if she’s writing this “for the money” but it does feel very self-indulgent and rather as if she’s stuck in this world she’s created and unable to move beyond it. She’s engaging with the criticism rather than learning from it and moving on, something that editors never would have stood for in the past… but if anything is money hungry, it’s the publishing industry. That, however, is a conversation for another day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think you can discount E.L. James as a serious writer. I realize success isn’t everything, but I think she’s proven that there’s something to her story. I’m completely with you on the writing – I didn’t love it. I had a hard time even getting through the first book. BUT I am extremely impressed with her character development. I’ve heard a lot of criticism about Ana being like a child but I didn’t see that at all. Perhaps because I was just as innocent as her at that age – I know what it’s like to be completely sheltered from the world. And Christian was brilliantly written (bad grammar notwithstanding). I’m a psychology buff and I like to use that knowledge in my own character-building. It’s not easy to build a character so broken with a believable backstory that fits their behaviors, and then ON TOP OF THAT make them lovable (although it admittedly took me until the end of the book to start to like him – but that made it even more intriguing!). So even though I agree on the writing from a technical perspective, I think she made up for it in content.

      You may be right about Stephanie Meyer – I don’t think I will know until I read it. If it’s brilliantly written and compelling, I don’t think I’ll find it self-indulgent or trite at all. But if it’s just a regurgitation of the same material with no new or mind-blowing perspective (“Grey” was like this in parts, though it did reveal some interesting things about the character), then I’ll probably have to admit that it was perhaps a silly choice.

      And LOL on the publishing industry. That goes for any industry – business first. It’s good and it’s bad that it works that way. It’s a reason I’m really happy to see self-publishing becoming easier and easier.

      Like

      • Oh I certainly can discount James as a writer. She’s a complete charlatan. The insanity that she packaged as “romance” is mind blowing.

        Character development? Non existent. It was porn, pure and plain. You want good erotic writing with actual character development, not to mention grammar and decent sentence structure, pick up Anne Rice.

        Like

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