Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quiet on the blog front... and why

It's been awfully quiet round here. Which means I'm working, shaving off those words. And it means some life issues have intruded, as they do, to fill up my free time and thoughts. I expect those to smooth out over the next few weeks... just in time for me to fly east for my little brother's wedding.

I'm still editing, and keeping the word count current over in the side bar. Still reading The Moral Premise (and wishing I'd read this book, like, ten years ago. Maybe twenty). Any writer interested in the underlying internal bones of a story that give purpose and drive to the top layer--the action and dialogue--really ought to read this book. It's deep, and technical, and I'm taking it in small bites. Speaking of bites....

I've also discovered the Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer. Behind the curve as usual. I'd heard so much negativity about the quality of writing in these books--from Stephen King to my own friends and writing acquaintances--and, well, vampires have never been a draw for me. I'd decided that (unlike with Harry Potter), I'd sit this wave out. Then... I found myself in the company of three women who were in a movie-watching mind, and one of those movies they picked to watch was Twilight.

By the time the movie ended I was hooked on Bella and Edward. I had to know how their story continued (since I knew... how could I miss knowing, being such a book lover and reading so many book blogs?... that there were four books in the series), and I wasn't going to wait until the second movie came out in November. Patience, young Jedi.... NOT!

So I ordered the first book, thinking, how bad can it be? I already love the characters. I want more of their story. I'll get through it.

Was I ever surprised by Meyer's writing. It. Is. Not. Bad. In fact, in the second book, which I'm halfway through, there are passages I wish I'd written. Not every book or every writer does that for me, fair to say.

I can't compare these books to other vampire books. These are the first I've ever read. But they are clean. They talk of God... in a positive light. These particular vampires strike me as a clear picture of the choice I as child of God and in relationship with Christ must make day by day, moment by moment, whether to walk in the flesh, or the Spirit. It's just the stakes implicit in that choice for these dudes are MUCH higher. Literally life and death.

Other themes explored in the first two books:
Abstinence
Self-control
The importance of family
The strength of family
Sacrifice for the good of another
True friendship vs. false
Unconditional love

In a vampire book. Who knew?

4 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one. But those who have pointed out to me that the abstinence doesn't come from a love of virtue. He's afraid of breaking her and she's itching to get into bed. Hm. And he shows all the advance signs of an abusive partner, stalking, controlling, obsessive. If I had daughters in the age range for these books, I'd be sitting down with them and discussing the dangers with them for sure. So many girls get into bad relationships because of unrealistic notions, and Twilight seems to feed right into that. I can't help but wonder how many girls are going to get badly hurt, because their real life Edward won't have a writer preventing him from stepping over the line to outright abuse? The taming of the bad boy is a powerful archetype, but one that happens very seldom in real life. They may be temporarily charmed, but the monster comes back worse than ever all too soon.

    So yes, I'm very concerned. I think a lot of girls are going to get hurt, precisely because of the intoxicating power of the story.

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  2. "But those who have pointed out to me that the abstinence doesn't come from a love of virtue."

    Janet, I'm not sure the above is completely true. At least, I saw more than that as I read. These vampires are trying to rise above what they are, and be better. The head of this family believes in God, and believes there is still a point to their existence, that they aren't just monsters destined for hell. Edward's restraint is part of that.

    But yes, he is afraid of breaking her. I see how some could interpret his restraint as only meaning that (i.e. He would if he could, but he's too afraid of hurting her).

    I've only read 1.5 of these books. My take on it might be different by the end. I was just pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, after all the negativity I'd heard on that issue alone.

    And of course, I agree that any parent of a teenager should read these books before their children do and be prepared to discuss them if they then choose to let their children read them. I felt that way about the last four Harry Potters too. :)

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  3. Lori, I've read the Twilight series and will be interested to hear your comments when you finish.

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  4. Sallie,

    I'm near the end of Eclipse. I've emailed you some thoughts on the book so far. Short version: Am happy to find that Edward has been a virgin for over 100 years and is insisting he and Bella be married first... for virtue's sake (hers and his). I so hope he doesn't cave to Bella's tempting.

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