Movies,  Novels,  Writing World

So This One Time, I Watched A Movie Or Whatever…

So, about a year ago, I watched all 5 Twilight movies in two days.

Anyone who knows me can tell you I almost had a nervous breakdown over this series. As a longtime writer of vampire stories, I was…offended. I was angry. I was jealous. It made me feel like I couldn’t write about vampires anymore. Not if I wanted to be published. It forced my hand, if you will, and I was VERY upset.

Given this, why, OH, why, did I watch the movies? For one, I was sick that weekend. For second…well…let’s see if I can explain it.

First let me start off by saying, I never wanted to read the books. Well, I wanted to because I fell in love with the cover of Twilight, the original one with the stupid apple on the cover. I tried to talk myself into buying it, that’s how much I loved the cover. But the inside pages just didn’t appeal to me. When the first movie came out, I remembered how I didn’t want to read said book and decided to pass on the film as well. No big deal. Just a decision I was making based on the fact that I thought it’d be a little gooey and mushy for my taste, as that’s why I didn’t want to read the book. I had no problem with the franchise or the author or anything. I’m always happy when books get turned into movies. I love the interpretation, and quite frankly, I would love it for myself one day.

Fast forward a few months and everyone started bugging me about it. And by everyone, I mean EVERYone. Strangers, friends, family. It was constant. If I told people I wrote about vampires, they jumped on me: “Have you read Twilight? Have you seen it? It’s the greatest thing ever! OMG, you HAVE to watch it NOW!!!!” And no, I’m not exaggerating. Strangers, people. Sometimes I wouldn’t even say anything about vampires. I would just say Hi and they would shove it down my throat. Not exaggerating.

At first it was just annoying. Then it made me mad. By the end of the year, I was one bitter, bitter melon about it. I went from simply not being interested and forgetting about it to hating the series, the writer, the scriptwriter, the cast, the production studio, the directors (didn’t even know anyone’s name, mind you). I hated the whole franchise and every time I saw or heard anything about it I wanted to bitch-slap someone. It was just like, leave me alone, already!! And for the next 5 or 6 years, I refused to even watch 3 minutes of it.

It became a button. Guaranteed to send me on a raging RANT. So bad, my siblings had to mouth the word “twilight” around me or I might burst into a hysterical fit of tears.

Then I came across “Reasoning With Vampires,” a tumblr blog that broke the book down and then ripped it to shreds. Some of it was nitpicky stuff, some of it was legitimate. At the end of the day though, I just found it a little unnecessary. I mean, it’s fine. She hated it and needed to vent. No problem. But I found myself almost wanting to defend it. I mean, I hated that book. I seriously blamed it for ruining my life. (Yes, I’m dramatic.) Picking on Meyer for horrible description and sentences half a page long is one thing, but jumping down her throat over a sentence fragment or a misplaced comma? I mean, does the sentence still make sense? Is it really a big deal? Shouldn’t she had been more angry at the editor who let that crap slide? Like really. It’s not the author’s fault that she doesn’t know her grammar shiz. The editor’s hands are on it last, right? They should know their mechanical stuff, right? I mean, really. But all the nitpicking was making me kind of want to hug Stephanie Meyer, and it was messing with my brain! So I stopped reading it lest I pick up the book and start reading it myself.

So yeah, after that blog, I started to calm down some. SOME. I still wanted to bitch-slap people for bringing it up, and I still wanted to burn the movies whenever I crossed paths with them. However, I no longer feared I’d have a psychotic meltdown over it. Progress. I guess I have the blog to thank for that.

So back to the movies. I had this random dream one night, about 7 months or so after visiting the blog. I found myself in a writing slump, like really unmotivated and crap. I was becoming a little unglued to be honest. That day, I had talked to a friend, vented to my mom, and passed out on the couch from exhaustion. That night I had a dream that someone slipped Twilight into my suitcase while I was on vacation. (I had not been thinking about the book, but earlier that day a friend did randomly bring the last movie up at the coffee shop — yakked about how much she loved it. Pissed me off a little.) Anyway, I read the book and loved it!

Now, this was a dream. I still didn’t want to read the book in real life; I’m convinced it would drive me crazy. But I started thinking…I could watch the movies. And I wondered something…have I been cured of this bitter-crap? Like really, did God reach down a hand and just take it from me while I slept? Only one way to find out. (Yes, I believe dreams have healing powers sometimes.) So…I watched the first movie. Felt no rage whatsoever. I even enjoyed most of it! gasp Then I watched the rest.

So…these aren’t great movies, but they are entertaining. I laughed a lot, sometimes at it. People were right. Kristen Stewart had 3 expressions: disgusted, constipated, and pain. Jacob is way hotter than Edward, but I understand why Edward is “the one.” Edward watching her sleep is actually not as creepy as I’d heard, though I would have liked for someone in the movie to have acknowledged the creep factor, at least! And Dude, those movies are too long. Lots of boring bits. BUT overall, I though they were interesting and I liked them (though I will admit to having a high tolerance for stupid…as long as the movie is entertaining, I have no problems.) So yeah…

Afterwards, I was shocked to find that I was actually okay! I didn’t even feel like railing on Kristen Stewart anymore. I don’t think she has a ton of range, but I don’t think she’s terrible. It’s amazing, it really is. I wish you could feel what I felt after I watched them. It was like, the sweetest relief ever. I wasn’t bitter anymore! And I didn’t even find it weird that it just went away so fast.

I really feel like watching the movies freed me. It helped me admit one kind of big thing (for me): it’s possible that my vampire book (that I had gotten so hung up on) is actually not that good. It’s possible. And maybe…just maybe…it was okay for me to move on.

Before this whole Twilight fiasco, I was burned out on vampires. I loved my characters though so I told myself this: I would write this series for them and then I was moving on. Maybe not forever, but I wanted to write about something else like really bad. Then Twilight happened and it made me feel like I’d been pushed out. Like it wasn’t my choice anymore. And I hated it. And myself.

But I chose not to finish my vampire series. Not because of rejection. Not because of Twilight. It was because I didn’t want to do it. I was burned out! I was exhausted. I felt terrible about it and fought against it. But it’s true. And that was the hardest thing of all to admit. I still love vampire media, I just didn’t want to write about them anymore.

So…it helped me dig down and find some dormant courage so I could get back to writing and submitting again. All of my excuses were gone. I’m a writer. Writer’s write. And I couldn’t hide behind bitterness anymore, it was gone. I might actually try to read Twilight one day. I mean, I know everything about it, how bad can it be? 😛

I know it might sound crazy to say a dream did all this, but it really did! A year later, I can honestly say that I’m not angry anymore. In fact, I was so confused about the mixed feelings I had for the series that I made a list of what was good and bad about it so I could understand why I was entertained (except for those boring parts I almost fell asleep on, and on the second to last movie, I actually did fall asleep, but I was sick so…yanno).

But making those lists, is what inspired me to tear apart everything I had ever written and make a list of my likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, and those lists are 100% responsible for the stories I’ve cooked up since then. I can focus on the right ideas now because I know what I like and what I’m good at and what I’m drawn to.

I actually meant to post this last year, but it never happened. Probably because this post is really long. But I wanted to post it now because I need the reminder. I need the reminder that I write because I love it. I need the reminder that I make progress with every single story that I write. I need the reminder that it’s okay to have creative downtime. And I need the reminder that when I trust myself, I do my best work.

I trusted that the dream meant something, and it did. I had no proof and nothing to go on except a feeling, deep in my gut. If I had trusted my gut when it told me I was burnt out on vampires, I probably could have avoided a lot of stress and watched those damn movies a long time ago.

And right now, I need to trust that no matter what happens with this revision I’m working on, that it’ll be okay. I’m not going to fall apart this time, because I KNOW I will keep writing, whatever happens with it, because writing is what I do. I’ve loved other stories before, and I will love many, many more. 🙂


  • Michelle Tran (@michelletwrites)

    So interestingly enough, Twilight was conceived by a dream. At least that’s what Meyer said in the plethora of interviews she was in when her books hit it big. I actually have to admit something though… I’m currently rereading the series 😛 Though people are so over it, I am not ashamed. They are good stories because they are actually inspired by classics: Pride & Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights, etc. I think it’s great that it became a phenomenon. Anytime a writer is able to encourage an audience to read is a good thing. Yeah their were mechanical errors in grammar, but to that I kind of roll my eyes. Every writer breaks those rules. I break those rules. Poetry, breaks those rules. Not saying that it should be an exception, but it’s something not to get too hung up on (jeez that blog sounded so mean. Imagine her doing that to one of our own stories. The horror! I’d give Steph a hug too.). I think it’s great you gave it a shot. I don’t really like the movies though. I thought the books were always better (I’m one of those people who actually like long paragraph descriptions of thought processes).

    • krystal jane

      You know what, that is really interesting. I read her inspiration behind it on her website when the movie first came out.

      The blog is really mean. Some of it is funny. But I personally could call myself sentence fragment royalty. If it makes sense, that’s all that matters. It’s how people talk, and the beauty of creative writing is that you can do that. I’m rather annoyed by grammar nazis in general.

      I tried reading the book a few months ago. Originally I read the first chapter back before I got so mad about it to see if I wanted to read the rest. I keep zoning out. But to be fair, I had a really hard time reading through the first two chapters of Hunger Games.

  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    Don’t get me started on the Twilight thing. I read them all because it was a short series, threw the second one on the floor, and wondered where the plot had gone in the last one. My friends and I basically hate-watched the movies, which I found unintentionally funny, and I actually loved Reasoning With Vampires. I learned a lot of grammar on there. You have to know the rules to break them–and you have to know when to break them as well. But beyond the mechanics of the books, the characters…like, does Bella actually have a personality? Ambitions? Friends, other than supernatural ones that are trying to kill her all the time? And maybe it’s because I don’t read YA and I’d been reading romance for nearly ten years when I read the books, but I didn’t find the love story believable. I didn’t feel it, so it made everything less believable for me. But obviously, she struck a chord in a lot of people because they sold well and became super popular.

    • krystal jane

      I read in every genre, now and when I was growing up, but I can’t speak to the believability. It is what it is. But trying to figure out what was likeable about it is why I pulled it apart.

      I do have a hard time reading grammar nightmares, because I am a lifelong English snob. It always came easy for me so I don’t understand how some of that stuff just slid by. I just know that site made me feel bad for her.

      But quite honestly, mechanics, characters, plots, none of that stuff matters. The only thing that matters is if the book is interesting and entertaining enough to sell. Even when I hated it, I still wanted to know what it was that made people like it so much because I could learn from that. It doesn’t matter how great my writing skills are or how awesome my protagonist is if I’m boring people to death.

  • Tonja Drecker

    The only reason I read the Twilight books was because my brother was making so much fun of the movie (his wife loved it). And since movies tend to be so different than books, I wanted to get to the bottom of things and see what I thought. The books, I thought, were okay. I’ve read worse. I’ve read better. The movies – a catastrophe. I’ve only seen 1 +2. The rest would have been a waster of my time. Originally, I found them boring. Now, I laugh my head off – bad acting, horrid scene setting, they’re downright hilarious!
    As to Meyer, I read that she submitted the MS originally as a romance comedy, but the agent’s suggested revisions pushed it out of that category. As for the book itself, the writing isn’t amazing but so what? As said, there are writers who do a lot worse. And I’m glad she hit a nerve that brought her so far. What author doesn’t dream of that? And obviously, most people love it. I might not, but there are tons of books which aren’t my thing. So I really have no negative feelings toward her or her series. And yes, she did change the ‘standards’ on vampires, but as a writer, we know she didn’t realize that this was going to happen. She was as clueless as the rest of us. And don’t we dream that our books might the same result? As to letting it influence your stories – no way. Vampires have a long tradition, one that even Twilight won’t over shadow for too long.
    Have I babbled enough???? 😉

    • krystal jane

      Yeah, she said that it was intended to be a “suspense horror comedy romance” with romance being the most important part. I did find the movie hilarious, but as a writer of vampire fiction, I know how many agents stated explicitly that they didn’t want any vampires whatsoever. Sure, vampires will come back, but at the time, my options were grossly limited. I had spent the entire last decade of my life writing about vampires. Of course I was going to be a little upset about it, even if people hadn’t shoved it down my throat. Of course no one can ever know what will happen to their book, but I just call it divine intervention. I clearly needed to write about something else. The vampires really were holding me back, I was completely stuck on them. I just don’t like being told what to do. Lol!

  • Jodi

    I read the Twilight Saga way before it was a “thing.” I’m glad I did because I was able to casually pick up a random book I had never heard of before and formulate my own opinion about it without all of the insanity that surrounds the series today. Back then, before the era of Twi-hards,Team Jacob/Edward, etc., my thoughts after finishing the series were simply “That was an entertaining series. I wish Bella hadn’t been so drab.” And then I moved onto read other books. That was about it. Today I feel like I’m not even allowed to have this opinion because it’s not strong enough. Something must be wrong with me if I’m not either fan-girling over Twilight or hating it with a fiery vengeance. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve struggled to understand the strong feelings surrounding Twilight, but reading your post really enlightened me. I actually felt little pangs in my chest for how much this series was tormenting you! I’m glad your dream prompted you to take steps to overcome your revulsion to Twilight and move on with your writing.

    • krystal jane

      Thank you so much, Jodi! ^_^ You have no idea! <3 I totally know what you mean. I think if I had read the books before it was such a ruckus, I really don't think it would have been life-changing or anything like that. We read so many books, and of course some stick out a lot more than others, but I can't think of anything I've read that I hated SO much I could hardly stand it. It really doesn't make any sense why people got so worked up and over the top about it. I knew a lot of Harry Potter fans long before I ever picked up the book, but no one ever shoved it down my throat. Though I did have some crazies tell me I wasn't allowed to say "Voldermort" out loud. Lol!

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