Episode 205 – Setting Goals For The Year To Come
This week Terry and Justin talk about overcoming writer’s block, focusing our efforts, and setting goals for the new year. We hope you enjoy this episode, and that you have a safe and happy holiday season.
This week’s promo: IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, a podcast novel from Seth Harwood
Here’s the BUFFY VS EDWARD video we mentioned in the show. Thanks to Alison. Also look for her email in the comments section of this post.
Here is Alison’s email:
Dear Dead Robots,
I only recently was able to listen to your “Supporting Twilight” episode. As an outspoken opponent to the Twilight series/saga, I had hesitated to listen previously but finally decided that I must hear what you all had to say.
While I must concede certain points to you, I am still not a fan. I will admit that I have only read the first book and I have not seen any of the films. I am basing all of my opinions on the first book, to be fair, but I have at least read one of the novels.
I am not a fan of first person novels, to begin with. For me, as an individual, to enjoy a first person book, it needs to be incredible well written and I could not say that about Twilight. The overuse of adverbs was distracting. I felt like I was being beaten over the head with them. What does it mean to “walk meekly” and why couldn’t S Meyer be bothered to actually SHOW us, as opposed to telling us almost everything?
The POV shifts were distracting and poorly done. Like you mentioned, Bella knew things that she had no way of knowing and she had an understanding of things that she couldn’t possibly know. The author’s slip into omniscient mode was distracting and poor writing craft.
I hated that we don’t get to see the epic fight at the end of the book. As I have said before, Bella gets knocked the fuck out and so we don’t get to see Edward battle to save her. That’s frustrating, because as a reader, I’ve been waiting for that climactic battle and I don’t even get to see, even after that many pages, plus the stupid baseball scene (which, honestly, could have been a scene from a Chris Claremont X-Men comic from the 80’s/early 90’s but I digress).
On top of all of that, we don’t even really get into the meat of the plot (the evil vampires that want to kill Bella or whatever) until almost the end of the book. I mean, really? If there was any real setup earlier in the story, it felt tacked on, like it had been added later during the editing process and did not feel organic to the story as a whole.
I didn’t care for Bella. Perhaps it’s that I read these books as an adult but everything about her made me cringe. She has all the hallmarks of a Mary Sue character in fanfiction with out the awesome fandom to be shoved into, if that makes any sense. I mean, she gets told that she’s so much older than her years all the time (barf), and she’s clumsy and never had a boyfriend, yadda yadda, and yet EVERY BOY in Forks wants her. She is a wish fulfillment character for a wish I never had.
I do understand that there are women and girls out there who DID have these feeling and who DO see themselves in Bella and that makes me sad, because Bella is pretty wishy-washy in the first book. She is either reacting to things, and thus not expressing an agency, OR she makes incredibly stupid decisions that are later given credence as a good decision. The fact that someone would aspire to be that boring, flat, and lacking in real gumption is depressing to me.
I found her to be a less than desirable character to spend 300+ pages in her head, because she was either boring me or totally pissing me off. Her blandness got old pretty quickly because I just didn’t give a shit about what choice she was going to make- it was pretty clear from the get go what she was going to do- and I just felt like she was along for the ride, as opposed to actively making choices for her own future.
That on top of the fact that she is only 17 and she’s trying to convince everyone that she’s ready and capable of making a major decision like becoming a vampire. I know what happens in book 2 and her attempts to kill herself do not sound like the actions of a rational, clearheaded adult who can be trusted to make life decisions for herself. In fact, it simply reinforces, at least to me, that she isn’t ready to make those choices and needs to grow the fuck up.
And then we come to Edward. Who is my worst nightmare- I’m telling you right now, if my daughter brought home a guy like that I’d have an intervention and get her counseling. And then call the cops. The dude is creepy. I don’t find a single thing about Edward to be romantic, in any way. He’s a stalker. I disagree so much with Krista’s opinion about the scene where he sneaks into Bella’s room, uninvited, to watch her sleep- it is creepy, it is stalky, it is rapey (thank you Dean Winchester) and it is exactly the kind of thing we’ve been trying to teach teenage girls to avoid for years. Why? Because that kind of behavior is the beginning of controlling, abusive behavior. This is the kind of guy that you take a restraining order out on, not try to tie yourself to forever.
Justin, you brought up Buffy and I actually think it’s a good comparison, at least in terms of comparing how a certain situation could be approached. In season 2, Buffy thinks she’s so mature and in love and it doesn’t matter that Angel is so much older than her. It is Meant To Be. So they have sex and he loses his soul. And suddenly, he’s brushing her off and acting like an asshole. She thought he loved her and now he’s acting like he’s gotten everything he wanted, so he doesn’t need her anymore.
But then he starts stalking her. Showing up in her bedroom, until they can reset the invitation to the house (restraining order metaphor???). Running into her friends. Threatening her friends. Killing their fish. Becoming scary. And we realize that he’s changed, he’s dangerous and she needs to get rid of him. You might think you know someone but honey, you are way too young to understand that people aren’t always what they appear to be and sometimes, they are so much worse that you have to take extreme measure to get safe and away from them.
To me, that’s the kind of story Twilight almost is, except instead of seeing that Edward is scary and dangerous and could hurt her, Bella just keeps diving in and wants more. She ignores all the warning signs and just brushes them off, because Edward would never hurt her. I mean, come on, it’s not like he hunts bears and mountain lions for dinner- oh, wait… S Meyer paints his behavior as romantic and don’t you just wish you had a guy acting like that about you? No, actually, I don’t. My older sister dated a guy like that and he beat the shit out of her before she could get out of the relationship. She was 17. I don’t think she would think this kind of thing was sexy or romantic and I’m not entirely sure why S Meyer does.
I find the power differential between Bella and Edward upsetting as well. While most relationships have an uneven power base, the fact that his power and control so outweighs Bella’s is unsettling. You could argue that her emotional hold on him is great and that could balance it out a bit more. However, I would say that his actual age, his pushiness, his controlling nature and his physical abilities that could easily overpower her in a second (even more so than between a normal human man and woman) make me wonder just what would Edward do if Bella wanted out of the relationship? What would he do if she wanted to be with someone else? Would be let her go? And if he decided that she couldn’t leave, what recourse would she have?
Perhaps I’m reading more into this than S Meyer ever intended. But to me, this just stood out as something incredibly disturbing and immeasurably unsexy.
Clearly, there is something here that has connected with many people. Books don’t sell that many copies without having something that speaks to people on a guttural level. But lets be super honest here. Just because something sells a lot of copies or gets a lot of butts in seats at the theater doesn’t make it GOOD. I point you to the Jackass films as an example. The Saw franchise, Transformers I-III, Titanic- they all brought in the big bucks but they aren’t good. At all.
I know this is like the longest e-mail ever and I don’t expect to have this read on the podcast, or even discussed on the air. I just needed to get it all out there and let you know my opinions on the matter, mostly because I am not one of those that hates the series because it’s popular, but because it’s creepy and disturbing and not in that good, Stephen King kind of way.
BTW, have y’all seen the Buffy vs. Edward video? If not, please check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZwM3GvaTRM I would LOVE to hear your opinions on this vid, because it is totally awesome. You should follow the link and read the essay that the video creator wrote regarding his choices because I think it was very enlightening and powerful.
Thanks for a great, interesting show guys (and ladies)- looking forward to catching up on the rest of the episodes I’m behind on.
– Alison from Los Angeles
(PS- I am SUPER SAD that I missed the 200th episode. *sobs* I love you guys!)
I’m trying to plan out my writing schedule for this year, and so far it looks like this:
• Publish and podcast my debut novel
• Revise, publish, and podcast the novella I wrote during NaNoWriMo
• Start revising the first of two novels I’ve written in a series
• Possibly publish and podcast one of those.
• Write and Podcast one short story a month
• Revise & edit those short stories, then publish them as eBooks on Kindle and Smashwords
Great episode and I’m excited for 2012!