Do you have a particular distaste towards vampires in general, or just the ones written by Stephanie Meyers? Have you ever come across a well-spoken vampire in your reading?
The fact that Edward is a vampire is almost irrelevant. VampMeyers are a strange breed. Their vampire characteristics take a backseat to their ridiculous personalities.
Like I said, fantasy isn’t really my genre. I don’t have many vampires in my literary arsenal to compare with VampMeyers. To say nothing of the writing, Charlaine Harris‘ vampires in the Southern Vampire Mysteries are at least an interesting take. Some of them struggle with their latent humanity while others find human issues to be blasé, but they have problems that aren’t magicked away. I appreciate that Harris makes vampires less glamorous by bringing them “out of the coffin” to interact with humans openly. If I can expand my pool of vampires beyond literature, I loved Paul Rubens as Amilyn in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Don’t almost all annoying chick-lit books that capture the cultural zeitgeist have an element of trashy, maudlin writing? Why is Twilight especially bad?
Stephenie Meyer is not Dostoyesky, nor is she trying to be. I get that. While I rip Twilight apart, I try to keep in mind what it is. Twilight is a romantic fantasy novel for young adults. Edward is a vampire. These intrinsic characteristics mean that it will be sappy, unrealistic, and the main love interest will be creepy. Even if I give Twilight the elasticity to be those things, it’s still a massive failure. It exceeds the disbelief I’m willing to suspend. The romance is unsupported. Edward is less of a mythical monster and more of a Lifetime movie abusive husband. He doesn’t stalk her because he’s a vampire; he stalks her because he’s obsessed with a girl he likes. Near as I can tell, Bella and Edward fall in love because Meyer wrote that they were in love. In fiction, things are true because authors make them true, but Meyer didn’t take the time to make me care about it. The overt sentimentality of the characters isn’t blooming and moving; it’s just overwrought drivel.
I can’t stand the defenders of Twilight that excuse the poor writing because “Bella is a teenager so it’s written like a teenager would write it.” Screw that noise. Judy Blume managed to write in the voice of a ten-year-old without writing like a child.
Besides the writing style of the books, you actually have a problem with the narrative (Edward is a creepy stalker, Bella needs an intervention, etc.). What would you like to have seen happen in Twilight?
What would I like to have happened in Twilight? Oh man, no good could come from that. I guess I’d like Tyler’s van to succeed in its noble attempt to kill Bella Swan. Then, overcome by the death of his unrealized love, Edward Cullen was driven mad, succumbed to his vampiric nature, killed a lot of people, and then was left to brood about something legitimately worth brooding.
Alternatively, we could retain the love story by rerouting their courtship to be less disturbing. Bella Swan would rebuff his advances, despite her desire to yield to him. Her crush on him would be unable to subvert good sense. Edward would continue to be a creepy bastard, but eventually, he too recognizes his behavior was inappropriate and banishes himself from her company. If he could channel his interest into her by corresponding with her from afar, an epistolary romance could develop based upon mutual respect and shared interests. Twilight would become the story of a supernatural long-distance relationship, and much like people who fall in love online, they get past physical and lifestyle differences. At the end, he could cautiously return, and they would give “going steady” a whirl.