Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Party ‘till the Breaking Dawn. . .Part 2 That Is

Epic battle scene with vampire covens,
werewolves, and the Volturi

This Friday, at the stroke of midnight, thousands of Twihards will get in line to watch Breaking Dawn Part 2.  And this Writer Freak will be attending the Twilight Marathon with a bunch of other 20 and 30 somethings, right amongst hoards of screaming teenage girls and the occasional guy who was drug there by his girl and is dutifully suffering through it all. What is the Twilight Marathon, you might ask? Just what it sounds like: sitting in a theater from 11:00 am on Thursday watching all five installments, finishing up with Breaking Dawn Part 2 at midnight Friday night. Oy vey! I MUST be crazy to do this, right? Well, yeah. That goes without saying.

My very own Jacob. The shirt-off
version is for my eyes only.
Sorry ladies.

The reality is, as much as I want to be one of those people that “hates” Twilight and just “doesn’t get the draw,” I can’t. I can’t turn my nose up at them. There is just something special…and not the kind of special that means phlegmatic or the kind that means a screaming deal. No. Special in the sense that it stayed with me and will likely continue to forever. I read all of the books including the novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and the unfinished manuscript, Midnight Sun.  In addition, I have reread the series over and over again, bought the soundtracks to the movies, of course the movies themselves, and I even have some twilight garb given to me as prank gifts from friends. This freak even has her own Jacob. Sigh. Actually he came first, but still.  Yes, I am a Twilight junkie.

It started as a dream. Stephenie Meyer (what a fine first name that is) had a fantastic dream of a sparkly vampire hunk in a gorgeous meadow. She turned it into a story, then a series and soon, a franchise. The things is, Meyers’ writing isn’t up to the traditional “literary fiction” snuff. It is categorized as YA (Young Adult) and YA is hot, hot, hot! There have been heaps of YA books that have become best sellers as a result of the Twilight books, many admittedly cashed in on the vampire theme. Some just cashed in on the YA genre in general. For example, The Hunger Games Series (another YA series I can’t get enough of) has been a huge success. Which brings me to my next thought: why are books like these so hot?
While I haven’t been successful (yet) in publishing my own manuscripts, I am starting to notice a few trends and it has sparked a theory. It all boils down to simplicity. We writers tend to over think things. We add plot and character details and edit so much in hopes that the last tweak to our manuscript will give it the edge it needs to get some attention. Maybe, just maybe, this is where we go wrong. You’ve heard the phrase, keep it simple stupid? Yup. These series all have that in common. They keep it simple. Vampires have been popular since Stoker wrote about them in the late 1800’s. It is the seduction of evil (or bad) versus good. Other simple themes: love, power and of course, sex. I think that if writers can narrow in on a simple theme such as one of these and then try to pinpoint a plot based on the pulse of American culture, they will inevitably have a Best Seller. That whole pulse of America thing is harder to read sometimes, but right now I see some common themes: fantasy is big, and revolution is huge. To me that means, American’s have had enough, are tired, and need an escape. I think if you write for this kind of an audience, your readership will increase. Of course, this is all based on hunches, but it is the hunch of a Writer Freak and my Writer Freak Sixth Sense makes me feel prickly and tingly when I’m on to something. You be the judge.

Stephanie D. Birch is an official card carrying Twihard and Hunger Games fanatic. To see her dressed as a vampire or as a citizen of the Capital, leave her a comment. If you are dying to hear more from this Writer Freak, contact her at birchwordnerd@yahoo.com

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