This post is going up a little late. After all, I saw this movie the day after it came out, which was way back in November. Lots has happened since then, but I wanted to revisit my feelings about the movie, especially since my life seems have taken a crazy swing in another direction after watching it. I can't say that Twilight is solely responsible, but I can't deny it had a part in all of it.
To start off, I guess I should say that I had read the Twilight series over the summer. I hadn't been particularly gung-ho about the prospect, because I'd asked one of my students (all of whom seemed to be toting around the book last year) what it was about and gotten an enthusiastic, "Omigod, it's so good. It's about a girl who falls in love with a vampire." I'd smiled tightly and said, "Sounds original."
I mean, come on. Had these people never read any vampire fiction in their entire lives? Actually, I guessed, they really hadn't. They were sixteen. I'd felt this way about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Anyway, I read the books over the summer. And I hated them. Really. I did. I frequently commented to people, "I'm reading the worst book series ever. Nothing at all happens for hundreds of pages, except this chick makes dinner and makes eyes at some pretty guy. And I can't put the freaking thing down!" I knew there was something going on with Twilight. While I did think the books were lacking in the plot department, they sure as hell weren't boring. I read the first three in a week or two, only stopping to drink and treat my subsequent hangovers. (Well, what did you think high school teachers did with their summer vacations?) I couldn't stop. And I was deeply connected to the characters, firmly siding with Jacob against Edward (and knowing he'd never win in the end).
Flash forward a few months. My best friend says casually that she might like to read the Twilight series. "Sure," I say. "Take them." She took all four of the books. Later that week, when I spoke to her, I realized the series had worked its crazy magic on her as well. For some reason, however, Chelsea liked Edward. (As if! Jacob rocks!)
When the two of us went to see the movie together, we were both terribly, terribly excited. And we were both disappointed.
"That was cheesy," I commented.
Seriously. The only good thing about the movie was Robert Pattinson. I often spent large expanses of screen time staring at him and ignoring the dialogue. Which was...cheesy. And stupid. And melodramatic.
And oh-my-god taken verbatim from the book.
Really? I'd liked that book. Had it really been that bad? Why hadn't the movie worked?
I got to thinking about the structure of the novel. About its elements. Plain, normal girl. Impossibly beautiful boy. For some reason, he wants her. It was the shared fantasy of every teenage girl in the world. (And no matter how old we get, we never forget that fantasy.) Furthermore, it was about important things, like LIFE and DEATH. And honestly, isn't everything life and death in high school? (I think Buffy did this metaphor first, though.) I began to think, as I paged through the book and read portions of it to Chelsea. We were trying to pick apart the movie and understand why it had been so utterly bad.
I thought, "I could do this. I could do even better than this."
I made some excuses, left Chelsea's house, and went home. I started writing. Nine days later, I had the first draft of Breathless, the story of a normal, plain girl who finds out that she's actually something extraordinary. She's thrown into a situation where everything she trusts is taken away, and she's on the run in fear for her life. Oh, did I mention the yummy guy named Jason who's along for the ride?
I've been writing books (and finishing them) since I was twenty-three, five years ago. I've finished eight first drafts of novels. Nothing has ever felt like this. Breathless is something special. I don't know how I know it, but I do. And even as the rejection letters from agents roll in, I don't stop believing that.
So, anyway, thanks to the Twilight movie, I wrote a book that changed my life and changed what I thought I wanted to write and everything else.
For more info on Breathless, visit Jason and Azazel on myspace. Friend them!