____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Have you read the book after Breaking Dawn?

--No, I mean the one BEFORE The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.

The release of Stephanie Meyer's newest installment in the Twilight series makes me think of Midnight Sun, a book with its own story.

Midnight Sun is the retelling of Twilight from Edward's point of view.  It's been out for a few years now, but I still run into enough Twilight fans that have never heard of Midnight Sun.

So at a time when the range of Twilight goes from books and movies to anime and action figures, to Team Edward and Team Jacob (sorry Jacob, it just wasn't going to happen), how can there still be so many fans out there so sadly unaware of Midnight Sun?

Because, if you haven't heard, Midnight Sun's sparkle has long been obscured by shadows, not unlike the mythical vampires within it.  It turns out that real people can have just as malevolent an influence as their fictional contemporaries.  And, while I would never call someone a monster, neither would I have ever suspected that anyone outside of the Volturi would be capable of wiping out the Cullen family quite so effectively.

So what did happen to Midnight Sun?

Someone leaked it.  Someone in a very trusted position (evidenced by them having a copy of an early draft of the story) gave in to temptation and leaked a copy of the book in its early stages.  As there were a few different drafts handed out, Ms. Meyer was able to determine the source.  And although (through her website) Ms. Meyer maintains that she doesn't feel the leak was perpetrated with any ruinous intentions, the effects have been nonetheless severe.--For both Ms. Meyer, herself, and for us as readers.

The initial leak led to a copy being posted on the internet, which spread as uncontrollably as everything else Twilight-related.  Yeah, turns out it is illegal to distribute someone's work without their knowledge or consent.

I remember my first reaction at hearing about a copy of Ms. Meyer's new book was excitement.  But I imagine that her reaction was one of hurt and sadness.  Illegalities aside, this was a violation of both her work and her trust.  Nothing is more personal than our opinions and ideas.  Is anything more hurtful than when someone breaks our confidence?--Intentional or not?

And because of someone's weakness, there have been grave consequences and great loss.  Ms. Meyer was rightly upset at the leaking of her book.  Writing is a very personal experience.  This was an unfinished piece of work--one that Ms. Meyer will never be able to get back, and one that may never be finished do to the unfortunate circumstances of its release.

Ms. Meyer seems to have chosen to make the most good come from bad circumstances.  In light of not being able to reclaim her draft from the vastness of the internet, Ms. Meyer decided to release it herself, on her website, for free.  The reasoning seems to be that as long as it's out there, people will look for it.  And unfinished or not, we as readers won't have to question this source; we can trust that we are reading the author's words and not a corrupted internet version.

However, we should all be sad, because the book Midnight Sun was not just stolen from Stephanie Meyer, but from all of us.  We may never see it in its completed form.  And if Ms. Meyer does decided at any point decide to finish this story, will it always be marred by this event?  Will it ever be what it would have been?  The sadness is that we will never know what we have lost.

I want to thank Ms. Meyer for sharing her story with us, because unfinished or not, I enjoyed Midnight Sun. I liked seeing Bella from behind Edward's eyes.  It is a great compliment to Twilight, with the feel of sharing both old memories and new secrets.

I know I can be as anxious and impatient as the next fan, but as cliché as it is, there are things that are worth waiting for, and are all the better for it.

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