Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner Introduction

No two writers go about things in exactly the same way.

Yes, some of them actually write likable characters and complex plots instead of just masturbating on the keyboard.

We all are inspired and motivated in different ways; we have our own reasons why some characters stay with us while others disappear into a backlog of neglected files.

For instance, good writers are motivated and inspired by complicated plots and ideas, or a richly-developed character that they have spent years carefully crafting.

Smeyer, on the other hand, is inspired and motivated by wet dreams.

Personally, I’ve never figured out why some of my characters take on strong lives of their own, but I’m always happy when they do. Those characters are the most effortless to write, and so their stories are usually the ones that get finished.

Well, I'm going to make a wild guess and say that the characters whose stories get finished fall into two categories:

  1. Boring bland female characters who strongly resemble Smeyer.
  2. Hot teen boys.

Draw your own conclusions.

One thing I know is that the characters Smeyer is fascinated by are not the characters that actually ARE interesting. I mean, she focuses on Bella Swan - who has the personality of a piece of toast - and not Rosalie or Jasper. Every single person I spoke to who saw Eclipse couldn't believe that we weren't getting THEIR life stories instead of "Waahhh, I'm a totally boring suburban girl and all the boys like me! Life is HAAARRRDDD!"

Bree is one of those characters, and she’s the chief reason why this story is now in your hands, rather than lost in the maze of forgotten folders inside my computer.

WHY? Again, I totally forgot who this character was. She does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING of interest. She just EXISTS.

… I think I just described most of Smeyer's other characters.

I started thinking about Bree while I was editing Eclipse.

"This character is single! I must somehow pair her with SOMEBODY!"

I had first-person-perspective blinders on; anything that Bella couldn’t see or hear or feel or taste or touch was irrelevant.

That seems to be a common characteristic of poorly-written Sue stories.

It was also a devastatingly shitty move, artistically. I mean, the entire book is Smeyer trying to rev us up for this epic werewolf/vampire battle with lots of death and superhuman action. What did we get? NOTHING. The entire battle takes place offscreen, because exciting action scenes don't give Smeyer a ladyboner Bawla was off drooling the woods and saw nothing.

The next step in the editing process was to step away from Bella and see how the story flowed.

It doesn't flow. It oozes.

In order for a story to "flow," something has to happen aside from 300 pages of two boys bickering over a drooling lump of a girl, and ancient mortal enemies deciding to work together and sing "kumbayah" because the aforementioned drooling lump is in danger.

There is no actual climax in the book, because Smeyer isn't interested in supernatural action scenes. There are no twists. There is just the culmination of a very thin subplot that was started and dropped in the previous book with NO EXPLANATION, so Smeyer can ditch all that Victoria stuff and get back to the awful romance.

she had a lot of questions for me about the things Bella didn’t know and how we could make the right parts of that story clearer.

"So, you've got an epic battle scene that is actually exciting and suspenseful, and lots of people die… and you're just going to focus on Bella?"
"Yes, exactly!"
"But… but there's so much going on-"
"Nah, I don't care about THAT.

Because Bree is the only newborn Bella sees, Bree’s was the perspective that I first gravitated toward as I considered what was going on behind the scenes.

Some might see that as a huge writing error, since we have a whole ARMY of newborns and our alleged protagonist sees… JUST ONE OF THEM. The rest are just nameless, faceless cannon fodder. If Bella hasn't noticed you, you might as well not exist!

So Smeyer, having a boundless imagination, stretched it soooooooo far that she actually started writing about a character who WASN'T Bella, and a cast of characters who WEREN'T wealthy white billionaires. I know! I couldn't believe it either! I totally never realized that there were book characters that WEREN'T wealthy and white, looking down on their inferiors!

I'd also like to mention that like the white marble-like skin and hyperromanticism, Stephenie Meyer pretty obviously got the inspiration for Bree Tanner from another Anne Rice character: Baby Jenks. Except, you know, minus the heroin and abortion and parent-murder. They're both teen girls who were part of a nomadic band of young vampires, and are unceremoniously killed by the main villain(s).

Oh, and they both have absolutely no impact on the plot. Great choice of character to rip off, Smeyer.

Writing Bree was the first time I’d stepped into the shoes of a narrator who was a “real” vampire—a hunter, a monster.

I would normally argue that none of Smeyer's toothless vampires are "real" vampires. But I'm too busy being amused that even she admits that her vampires aren't "real" vampires.

I got to look through her red eyes at us humans; suddenly we were pathetic and weak, easy prey, of no importance whatsoever except as a tasty snack.

So… basically the same as her "good" vampires.

In fact, that's not too different from how Bella sees humans, or how Smeyer portrays them. The contempt for humans pretty much drips off any scene with "ordinary" people without supernatural powers.

I got to submerge myself in a totally different breed of vampires: newborns.


Here's a simple tip, Smeyer: the word "breed" is not synonymous with "type" or "kind." "Kind" or "type" can have whatever distinctions you want it to have. "Breed" on the other hand, means a subgroup of a species that has had specific traits emphasized genetically. That is why people refer to different kinds of dogs as "breeds" - the pug, for instance, has had traits like a squashed face, round head, fine coat and friendliness to children BRED INTO THEM.

The newborns? They are a LIFE STAGE. You don't refer to purebred puppies as being a different "breed" from their parents, do you?

Here's an example with vampires. I doubt Smeyer has ever seen the movie Blade II because it's violent and bloody and doesn't subscribe to her sunshiney sparkly worldview. Also, the vampires in it aren't particularly elegant, sexy and/or white.

So the basic story behind this is that a new BREED of vampires pop up and start spreading their ravenous bloodsuckingness across… uh, somewhere in Europe, I think. It's not terribly clear where the characters are, but I think it's Prague. Anyway, this new BREED is known as the Reapers, and they are still vampires (they need blood, even more than normal ones; they reproduce by biting). However, they have several characteristics that set them apart from "normal" vampires.

Unlike Smeyer's newborns, being a Reaper is not a life stage. They don't grow out of it. Once they become Reapers (since both vampires and humans can be infected), THEY ARE THAT WAY UNTIL THEY DIE.

Watch Blade II. It's badass… like how this series is NOT.

The newborn life was something I hadn’t ever gotten to explore

And whose fault is that?!?!?!?!

even when Bella finally became a vampire. Bella was never a newborn like Bree was a newborn.

Of course not! Bella is so wonderful that she could never be a NORMAL newborn! She has to be a speshul sparkling Sue who dazzles everyone with her amazingness!

I wonder how you will feel about Bree.

Confused and bored? Cuz seriously, nobody EXCEPT Smeyer and a small die-hard group of fanatics remembered who the hell Bree was when the book came out.

She’s such a small, seemingly trivial character in Eclipse.

Uh, no. She's a small, DEFINITELY trivial character. She has no impact on anything.

And yet her story is so important to an understanding of the novel.

… no, it's not. She's in one scene, mentioned exactly one time after she dies, and even then it's just so Bella can bleat about her favorite topic: herself.

did you ever think about what has brought Bree to that point in time?

No. And judging from how many people remembered who the character even was, I think not many others did either. Why? Because she's there just so Smeyer can show how cartoonishly evil Catholics Volturi are.

As Bree glares back, did you wonder what Bella and the Cullens look like to her?

Since Smeyer is writing this, blah blah chagrin sparkle Adonis etc etc.

But even if you did, I’l bet you never guessed her secrets.

Spoiler alert: She really doesn't have any.

You know this: it doesn’t end well for her.

She ends up becoming a professional Jell-o wrestler.

But at least you wil know the whole story. And that no perspective is ever really trivial.

Unless you're a book character who has absolutely no purpose, accomplishes nothing and is barely even remembered. In that case, your perspective is totally trivial.

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