This week’s question from the blogroll:
If you could rewrite any piece of fiction, what would it be and why?
This is a toughie. You would think that since I read so much (and have run across some real ringers), I’d have lots of books I would like to see rewritten. Yet, I’m drawing a huge blank on any that I would want redone, which is sad since within the past two or three months I’ve checked out at least one book that I put down before I came close to finishing it because it was so poorly written.
However, since I can’t remember any recent examples, I’m going to fall back on one that is a source of much controversy: Twilight.
I know that lots of people love the series and have read all four books. Unfortunately, it took everything I had to make it through book one, and it left me desiring never to read Stephanie Meyer again.
My issue with the book (aside from vampires sparkling, which I just couldn’t get behind) is that, to me, none of the characters were compelling in the slightest. They had very little depth. Everything felt flat. So much so that by the end of the book, I had a hard time caring whether or not Bella bit the big one, and you could have escorted Edward outside to be decapitated and I would not have minded. I just couldn’t connect emotionally with them.
So if I were to rewrite it, I would spend more time on the characters. And not just Bella and Edward; the supporting cast had such a monotonous feel and was so one-dimensional that I would start with them. People need something to care about aside from puppy-dog eyes or big hair or whatever. And not necessarily ‘care’ in a positive way; people love to hate a well-written baddie or flawed character — Look at the number of Snape fans out there in the Harry Potter fandom!
Sure, an action-packed novel can sometimes distract from flat characterizations that leave you wondering where the beef is. Unfortunately for Twilight, there wasn’t anywhere near enough else going on to keep me from noticing.
Ah, I remembered another, less controversial work: Dan Brown’s Deception Point felt the same way to me; at the end of that novel, all of the main characters could have frozen to death in the Arctic Ocean or something and I would have shrugged and gone about my day in peace.