Monthly Archives: May 2009

Twilight: Journey Into the Abyss (Part Seven)

Chapter Six

All in the Details: I have, to this point, managed to escape noticing that one of the group of vampires family members is named Jasper.

A vampire named Jasper. That is just all kinds of awesome.

Getting Worried: I’m beginning to wonder if this book is negatively affecting my personal sense of taste. I just passed over the phrase “I couldn’t stop the gloom that engulfed me” and it didn’t even register until I looked over the sentence again.

This is not a good sign.

A Point of Pride: If this story is the kind of thing that captures the hearts of young people today, then I’m glad I’m from a different generation. I don’t want to sound like an old person or anything, but this book is frighteningly full of depression and gloom and moping and sorrow and self-abuse. There’s nary a hint of happy anywhere to be found.

I suppose it’s fairly normal for most young people to go through a phase like this at some point, but I’m fairly sure none of the things I was fascinated by when I was that age wallowed in self-pity quite as much as this book seems to.

I feel a little bit sorry for the people raised by this style. It can’t be good for your health.

Notable Quote: “Of course [Charlie – Bella’s father] knew the names of all the kids going, and their parents, and their great-grandparents, too, probably.”

This has nothing to do with the “living in a small town” thing. He’s just a crazy stalker with a mind for details.

Personalities Made of Cardboard: Seriously, where is Steph’s sense of character? Bella is traveling with a number of other students on some camping trip in a plot device that seemingly only exists to delay the actual story even further and continue the plot’s meandering path to nowhere in particular. Every time Bella starts talking about her fellow students, all I can help thinking is how absolutely shallow they all are. There’s not even the tiniest hint of depth.

Mike is absolutely obsessed with Bella and practically dies in a fit of swooning every time she so much as glances at him.

Jessica/Lauren (two names used for superficially different characters that are, in fact, the exact same personality) is also obsessed with Bella, but seems to hate her for no reason in particular. Or there could have been a reason but it was just too fleeting and stupid for me to bother remembering.

There are a number of other students she mentions by name (Lee, Eric, Tyler, etc.), but they’re so ill-defined I had to look them up to even remember so much as their names.

At least Bella and Edward have some hint of depth to their characters, if only in the form of severe schizophrenia that sends their personalities careening all over the place in a completely unpredictable manner depending on what’s needed for a particular scene.

Hey, it’s a step above all the other characters.

It’s a talent: When Steph does decide that it’s time to actually describe a scene and puts aside her precious exposition for a few moments, she has the remarkable talent to spend two or three paragraphs throwing out descriptive sentences that are so bland that you’re left with perhaps less idea of where the characters are than when she started. It’s pretty amazing, actually. The more you reread them, the more the already vague picture in your head begins to fade away even more.

Which reminds me, I don’t have the slightest clue what any of the characters in this book look like, save for their hair and the occasional person’s eyes. Well, all right, pretty much everyone’s eyes. That’s really not a whole lot to work with.

In all fairness, there could have been plenty of descriptive sections and I just zoned out when they came along. That wouldn’t surprise me either. Steph’s previously mentioned descriptive talents work the same for characters as they do for environments – almost astonishingly ineffective.

Possessive: “[Jessica] turned to [Mike] and claimed his attention.”

My attention! Not yours! Mine! Give it back!

What?: “…some of the boys wanted to hike to the nearby tidal pools. It was a dilemma. On the one hand, I loved the tide pools. On the other hand, I’d also fallen into them a lot.”

I mean absolutely no disrespect with this comment, but I’m beginning to think that Bella might be mildly retarded. This level of clumsiness (and fear of clumsiness) is simply not normal in a person.

She fell into them a lot as a kid and now she’s afraid to go near them? Maybe I’m just missing something, but even for a clumsy person I just don’t see what’s so mortally terrifying about falling into a tidal pool.

What the hell is the bloody point?: Why am I being dragged to this stupid camping trip? Why was this left on the plot outline?

Nothing is happening! Bella is hanging out with her cardboard friends (none of whom she actually likes, of course), they do pointless things for a while, visit some terrifying tidal pools, and Bella sighs and wonders about Edward a bit.

There’s no point to any of this – no character development, no important revelation, no intriguing twist. It’s just an overly long, totally pointless, expositional recounting of a boring as all hell camping trip with a bunch of non-friends.

Who plots a book this way?

Gah!

Notable Quote: “ It was relaxing to sit with Angela; she was a restful kind of person to be around — she didn’t feel the need to fill every silence with chatter. She left me free to think undisturbed while we ate.”

Oh great, that’s just what this book needs – more time for Bella to think.

I was plum tuckered out from all of the breathless action that’s been jam-packed into this story so far. I’m not sure I could handle any more. Thank goodness Stephanie Meyer knows when to giver her readers a rest.

Whew.

Self-important: “However, my positive opinion of his looks was damaged by the first words out of his mouth.
‘You’re Isabella Swan, aren’t you?’
It was like the first day of school all over again.”

Stupid little freaks getting my name wrong. Who do they think they are!

IT’S BELLA GOD DAMNIT! How many times to I have to tell you ignorant little hick-people? I’m clearly the greatest person in school, how long is it going to take for it to sink into your thick skulls? I can’t take this anymore! This town is filled with ungrateful nimrods who refuse to graciously accept the magnificence of my presence and bow before me. All it takes is remembering one little nickname, but nooooo, that’s just too hard for you isn’t it?

Oh… Uh… I mean…

Hi. Nice to meet you.

Odd insertions: Why, in the middle of a halfway decent conversation (I know, like totally wow, right?), is it necessary to randomly say, “He had a pleasant, husky voice”? What does that have to do with anything and why are you telling me now? Shouldn’t that perhaps have come a little earlier, rather than bringing the conversation to a stop for no reason in the middle of a scene?

Ego inflation: “[New character – Jacob] flashed a brilliant smile, looking at me appreciatively in a way I was learning to recognize. I wasn’t the only one who noticed.”

Ah, it’s so nice to have everyone adore me. I’m just so darn likable. I don’t know how everyone else can stand not being me. It must be miserable.

Also: How does she know that anyone else noticed his smile? Is Edward not the only psychic character in this story?

Very fishy: “‘How nice.’ She didn’t sound like she thought it was nice at all, and her pale, fishy eyes narrowed.”

Fishy eyes? I must say, I think that’s a new one.

It does sound more like a deformity than a description of a pair of normal, human eyes, though.

If the string of terrible eye descriptions must continue, maybe she will at least throw in the occasional gem like this that is not only totally stupid, but also original as opposed to hackneyed, horrible, and beaten to death by countless terrible writers before her.

Gold Star: “‘You mean Dr. Carlisle Cullen’s family?’ the tall, older boy asked before I could respond, much to Lauren’s irritation. He was really closer to a man than a boy, and his voice was very deep.”

Congratulations, Bella! You can tell the difference between a post- and pre-pubescent male! You get a gold star in basic biology.

But wait, there’s more!

You also get a shiny FAIL in not sounding like a doofus when trying to describe other people.

Bella’s Turn to be Creepy: “I had a sudden inspiration. It was a stupid plan, but I didn’t have any better ideas. I hoped that young Jacob was as yet inexperienced around girls, so that he wouldn’t see through my sure-to-be-pitiful attempts at flirting.”

I know Bella is technically only two or three years older than Jacob, but I still find something really, really creepy about this situation.

Or it could be the fact that Bella is only seventeen (I think) and already using seduction as a means to get what she wants out of men.

Way to be a role model.

Skank.

Flirtation Fail: “‘I love [scary stories],’ I enthused, making an effort to smolder at him.”
Hahahahahahaha.

Hahahahahaha.

Hahahahaha.

Hahahaha.

Haha.

Ha.

Oh, man. That’s great.

*Wipes tears out of eyes*

Yeah, that’s it. I’m done. There’s more to this chapter, but that does it for me today. That’s all I can take. My ribs hurt. I seriously can’t stop laughing.

Made an effort to smolder at him.

Hahahahaha.

Damn. Just damn.

There’s a plus?: When I do manage to stop laughing and take a breath again, it looks like the chapter might be about to finally get to the point and uncover the reason why the stupid trip was taken in the first place.

Only seven pages or so of totally wasted space, and we’re finally getting to the actual point, which, by the looks of things, could have been made without going on this ridiculous, unnecessary trip at all.

Goody.

A mini installment will follow this one with the last few pages of this chapter, should I find anything worth making a mini installment for in that short span of pages.

I almost assuredly will.

Once I stop laughing, that is.

Made an effort to smolder at him.

Damn that’s funny.


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Twilight: Journey Into the Abyss (Part Six)

Chapter Five

Notable Quote: “Jessica babbled on and on about her dance plans … completely unaware of my inattention.”

Oh she’s aware of your inattention. It’s just become such an ever-present specter over every conversation you’ve held with another human being that people just take it for granted now.

Why these poor folk don’t find other, less elitist people to talk to continues to baffle me.

Notable Quote: “It was hard to believe that someone so beautiful could be real. I was afraid that he might disappear in a sudden puff of smoke, and I would wake up.”

First off: *gag*

Secondly, this better not be Stephanie Meyer’s idea of foreshadowing, because if it is, I will personally track her down and punch her in the face.

Notable Quote: Edward: “‘I think your friends are angry with me for stealing you.’”

Bella has friends? When did this happen?

Variety Please: I know as well as any other writer how tempting lame phrases like “I could feel their stares boring into my back” can be, but seriously Steph, this is the third or fourth time you’ve used some variant on that line in a couple of pages. How fast did you write this shlock, anyway?

Follow-up to Above Quote: “‘I may not give you back, though,’ he said with a wicked glint in his eyes.”

Oh give me a break, is this where this book is going? I’ve read more convincing love dialog in Harlequin novels.

Yes, I’ve read Harlequin novels.

It was for a writing class.

Shut up.

He’s got chameleon eyes: What the hell is wrong with Edward’s eyes? They’re ocher now, apparently. They’ve been at least black, gold, and yellow at varying points, and now they’re ocher which, and I looked this up, is close to gold but a decidedly different shade.

Twilight has spent countless paragraphs now describing what Edward looks like, but I still can’t get a mental picture because most of it is either contradicting previous statements or repeating the same two lines about his eyes or mouth ad nauseam.

I think if one were to make a character sheet listing all of Edward’s traits (as some writers do), it would probably be about half a page long and half of that would be about his damn eyes.

Oh, and there would also be a note at the bottom: “Note to self: just for good measure, include all of the opposites of the traits listed above as well. It’ll make him all mysterious and crap.”

Drop the act: Look, we’re five chapters into the book now. This forced mysticism is getting old. You’re trying way too hard to be secretive here and, frankly, you just come off as looking like kind of an idiot. Not to mention the fact that it’s providing for some of the cheesiest dialog I’ve ever read in a piece of fiction.

We all know what’s going on, Steph. It’s really time you just came out and admitted it.

Or, to be fair, it’s entirely possible that you wrote this section before you had even plotted what was going to happen later and were flying totally blind and just never bothered to fix it. That’ wouldn’t really surprise me either.

Hooked?: They told me in writing classes that you’re supposed to hook the reader from the first chapter, nay, the first page, with something amazing so they can’t put your book down.

I’m no expert on the mind of a young person, but I’m five chapters in and I’ve seen nary a hint of anything that would fit that description.

Is this really what young people these days find captivating? Have they gotten that much more gullible? If this book is any indication, I could fascinate an entire audience of tweens for hours by grabbing one of my old yearbooks and systematically telling them the eye colors of everyone inside.

Hold that thought: Edward’s eyes are gold again. Just thought you’d like to know.

Psychic: “‘No,’ I disagreed quickly, my eyes narrowing, ‘I can’t imagine why that would be frustrating at all — just because someone refuses to tell you what they’re thinking, even if all the while they’re making cryptic little remarks specifically designed to keep you up at night wondering what they could possibly mean… now, why would that be frustrating?’”

Once again, Stephanie Meyer shows an uncanny ability to turn the reader’s exact frustrations into a line of dialog.

Notable Quote: “I had to look away from the intensity of his stare. I concentrated on unscrewing the lid of my lemonade.”

Aw, the poor dear has to concentrate just to be able to unscrew her lemonade. I feel sorry for her all of a sudden. It certainly explains a lot, though.

Notable Quote: “‘Aren’t you hungry?’ [Edward] asked, distracted.”
‘No.’ I didn’t feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full — of butterflies.”

Badum tish!

Nonsensical eyeballs: “His eyes still smoldered at me.”

God, really? What does that even mean?

Indestructible: “He smiled playfully, but his eyes were impenetrable.”

Bella casually picked up the pencil she had used to complete her biology homework and forcefully jammed it into Edward’s eye socket.

“Yup,” Bella said, “definitely impenetrable. Just as I thought.”

“Ow,” Edward replied.

Bella, Master of the Obvious: “‘You’re dangerous?’ I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitively realized the truth of my own words. He was dangerous. He’d been trying to tell me that all along.”

For my readers offended by profanity I offer a preemptive apology.

No shit, really?

Wait, wait, wait: What high school does Bella go to that allows her science class to prick the students’ fingers and take a blood sample as part of an in-class experiment? My high school practically needed permission slips for the teacher to talk to us.

Blood Test – ur doin it wrong: “‘Put a small drop of blood on each of the prongs.’ [The teacher] demonstrated, squeezing Mike’s finger till the blood flowed.”

Ummm, yeah, I don’t think blood is supposed to “flow” out of a finger when pricked with a small pin. That’s… something’s wrong there. I hope this guy’s not tenured, because I don’t think he needs to be working there much longer.

Strange Reactions to Fear #3: “I closed my eyes, trying to hear through the ringing in my ears.”

Now fear make’s Bella’s ears ring.

Sure, that makes sense. Why not?

Bad Omen: Now we find out Bella nearly faints at the sight of a tiny drop of blood.

Great. Just great. She’s getting more neurotic by the second and she’s being carried to the nurse’s office for her blood sighting fainting spell by a vampire.

This is going to be a weird book.

Creepy: Edward: “‘Honestly — I’ve seen corpses with better color.’”

I imagine you probably have, Edward.

*Backs away slowly*

Bella, this is what we call a “subtle hint”. Take the vampire’s advice and get away from him.

Before he gets hungry for Bella blood.

Awkward: “‘I smelled the blood,’ I said, wrinkling my nose.
‘People can’t smell blood,’ [Edward] contradicted.
‘Well, I can — that’s what makes me sick. It smells like rust… and salt.’

What’s unfathomable is how terrifically awkward this conversation is. I don’t even know for sure which one of them is right (I haven’t gotten the opportunity to sniff any blood lately), but based on a tiny bit of research, I think it might be the vampire, which just makes this situation all the weirder.

Just bite her on the neck (or wherever the fruity vampires in this universe bite people) and get it over with, man. Nobody’s going to miss her.

Also: What in the ruddy hell is an unfathomable expression? Another favorite yet totally meaningless phrase of Steph’s.

Notable Quote: “Fainting spells always exhausted me.”

Oh yeah, those bloody fainting spells. Tell me about it. Such a pain.

Woah: After the previously mentioned fainting spell, Edward gets Bella out of gym class and offers to drive her home. When they get to the parking lot and Bella goes for her car to drive home (feeling well enough to do it herself), this is the response from Edward:

“‘Where do you think you’re going?’ he asked, outraged. He was gripping a fistful of my jacket in one hand.”

He proceeds to threaten her and basically all but shove her into his car as she contemplates running away just to escape his angry outburst of pushiness.

Truly the attack of the schizophrenic love interest.

What is wrong with this guy? No tact at all.

I think Edward really might be dangerous, and not just because he’s a vampire. Talk about control issues.

Something’s Not Quite Right: “I stood by the car, fuming. It was raining harder now, and I’d never put my hood up, so my hair was dripping down my back.”

Is it the water that’s running down your back or is your hair actually dripping? I think those are two very different things that we should probably get clear. One is perfectly normal, while the way it is phrased above would seem to indicate a serious medical condition.

Run Away from the Creepy Man: Edward and Bella are together in Edward’s car after Edward’s outburst from moments ago. This is a question Edward decides to ask:

“‘How old are you, Bella?’”

You’re an underage girl trapped in a car with someone who just physically forced you to come along with him instead of go home by yourself and then he asks you how old you are while you have no hope of escape.

What would your reaction to this situation be?

If you’re a healthier person than Bella, hopefully to scream and make some attempt, however futile, of running away.

Edward just gets creepier and creepier.

It only gets better: Shortly after Edward’s jailbait check, he asks her whether she thinks he could be scary and follows that up with, “‘Are you frightened of me now?’”

Apparently Bella isn’t, but I sure am.

Farewell: I don’t really have anything more to add this time. This crap is exhausting. I have no more thoughts left. See you next week.


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Twilight: Journey Into the Abyss (Part Five)

In this ongoing feature (*gulp*) I delve into the world of Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer, a work that is dreaded by serious writers the world over. I fear what terrible horrors, what mutilations of the English language, what unbelievably poor excuses for story construction await me.

What follows are my thoughts, my color commentary if you will, on the book as I go along.

So, Stephanie Meyer, give me your best shot. I’m all yours.

Chapter Four

Notable Quote: “No one seemed concerned about Edward… With chagrin, I realized the probable cause — no one else was as aware of Edward as I always was. No one else watched him the way I did.”

So Bella likes Edward.

The sheer scale of this revelation is simply shocking.

Notable Quote: “Edward was never surrounded by crowds of curious bystanders eager for his firsthand account. People avoided him as usual.”

That’s because he’s shiny freaky stalker creep! I can’t really say I blame them. I think you have a screw or two loose from wanting to go anywhere near him.

Though he did kind of stop you from getting flattened by a car. I hear women have this strange attraction to people that save them from certain death. Weird. Well, I guess she has an excuse now, in any case.

Observation: Bella keeps making a big deal about how the vampires emo kids in the corner never eat anything. She also repeats constantly how beautiful they all are.

Hmmm….

Eating disorder?

Notable Quote: “When he sat next to me in class, as far from me as the table would allow, he seemed totally unaware of my presence.”

Yes. Totally unaware. Except for the fact that he’s cramming himself against the edge of the table to get away from you.

Other than that, yeah, totally oblivious.

Frustration: Just when I had thought we might have been making a little progress with Bella and Edward becoming slightly less schizophrenic and the story inching ever so slightly toward actually going somewhere, the characters now appear to be even more erratic than ever.

I’m starting to get the sinking feeling that this problem won’t go away. I’m beginning to think Edward and Bella will bounce back and forth from one awkward nonsensical emotion to the other for the rest of book.

I so, so hope I’m wrong.

I’m so not.

Notable Quote: “…now and then, when his fists would suddenly ball
up — skin stretched even whiter over the bones…”

Um, ewww.

Notable Quote: “He wished he hadn’t pulled me from the path of Tyler ‘s van — there was no other conclusion I could come to [for Edward’s deliberate avoidance of Bella in class].”

That or he thinks you’re repulsive and is trying to push his beautiful, superior self as far as humanly (vampire-ly?) possible away from your ugly, psychotic waste of an existence.

Memory problems: Bella is apparently growing depressed at Edward’s continued silent treatment.

I don’t care. That’s not really anything new.

Bella is growing increasingly obsessed with everything Edward does and is unable to stop herself from watching his every move at every opportunity. She is even dreaming about him.

I still don’t care. This is also not new.

What is new is that someone named Renée has apparently noticed her depression through Bella’s emails and phone calls.

Reading this, it dawned on me that I was supposed to know who Renée was.

Oops.

Her brilliant characterization must have somehow escaped my notice. Darn.

Ignorant hicks: I was about to chide Bella’s male classmates for trying to go after such a stuck-up, psychotic, obsessive freak show of a teenager, but you know, with the pickings as slim as they appear to be in their poor excuse for a town I guess I can’t really blame them.

At least she’s a novelty.

I still think they should really know better by now though.

Notable Quote: “And Edward was staring at me curiously, that same, familiar edge of frustration even more distinct now in his black eyes.”

Edward’s eyes are black now? I hate to break it to you Steph, but you’ve spent a nice chunk of this chapter so far, and most of the story to this point as a matter of fact, describing how stunningly golden his eyes are. Must you take even this small consistency away from me?

Notable Quote: “I couldn’t believe the rush of emotion pulsing through me — just because he’d happened to look at me for the first time in a half-dozen weeks. I couldn’t allow him to have this level of influence over me. It was pathetic. More than pathetic, it was unhealthy.”

And the truth shall set you free!

Or, you know, doom you to an endless cycle of repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again because you’re too much of an obsessive weirdo to actually change anything or make good on your words.

Yeah, I’m going to go with that last one.

But seriously, it’s at least nice to know how much time has passed. Thoughtful of Steph to mention that at some point.

Sonofa…: JUST ADMIT YOU LIKE THE FREAK ALREADY!!!

Stop dancing around the truth, stop pretending you’re angry or something, stop trying to make sense of it, and just admit that you’re desperately, stupidly in love with this complete jerkass freak who has done nothing but show contempt for you and start learning to deal with it.

Damn.

Notable Quote: “‘You don’t know anything.’ [Edward] was definitely mad.”

Why, thanks for telling me Edward’s emotional state. That’s a good thing to know.

Next time, perhaps try to be a tad less blunt. Try a little description.

Not much, not much. I know it’s hard.

But just try throwing in a blip or two about how his face looks. I know you like talking about his face. Work with that. Give me an angry facial feature or two.

Don’t push yourself too hard. We can work on mannerisms or other complex things later. Let’s just take this slowly and see where things go.

A Challenger New Trait Approaches!: Apparently Bella is clumsy now. This seems fitting somehow, yet is something that Steph just now decided to grace me with actually demonstrating. Bella ruined a perfectly good angry exit after a chat with Edward by dropping her books all over the floor and apparently trips all over herself in gym class even though she doesn’t do anything and no one ever throws her the ball.

So she’s a very determined klutz, then.

“When nothing stands in her way, when she isn’t doing anything at all, when adversity is taking a smoke break out back, Bella will find a way…”

“A way to look like a complete asshat for no reason at all.”

“Bella Whateverthehellherlastnameis is: The Klutz. Coming this summer.”

Notable Quote: “Today I was worse than usual because my head was so filled with Edward.”

Oh God he’s in my head! Get him out! Get him out! It hurts!

Oh dear God the pain!

Three people?: Three separate people, and I might be forgetting someone, have just asked Bella to the spring dance within a very short span of time.

You know what? Forget what I said earlier. What the hell is wrong with these people? Get away from this girl! She’s obviously too full of herself to want anything to do with you.

Some seriously masochistic young men in this town, lemme tell ya.

Notable Quote: “I drove home slowly, carefully, muttering to myself the whole way.”

Oh man, she’s talking to herself now.

Definitely not a good sign.

Progress?: While chopping chicken (long story) Bella thinks to herself that perhaps Edward is being so dismissive because he wants her to go the hell away and he’s not interested in her and please leave me along you neurotic wacko.

I’m paraphrasing.

While this is still clearly far from the truth, this is at least a more logical reaction to the situation. Perhaps we’re making some progress?

Notable Quote: “I wasn’t interesting. And he was. Interesting… and brilliant… and
mysterious… and perfect… and beautiful… and possibly able to lift full-sized vans with
one hand.”

No comment here. That is just, quite simply, the best fawning-over-someone sentence I think I’ve read in my entire life and I thought I should pass it along.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Notable Quote: “Seattle is a big city — you could get lost,” [Charlie] fretted.”

And you could learn how to properly use italics for emphasis if you plan to keep on using this annoying trick.

Notable Quote: [Bella to Edward] “‘Do you have a multiple personality disorder?’ I asked severely.”

Huh? Well that’s interesting.

Bella might be more observant than I thought.

Yes, dear. Yes he does. I’m glad you’ve finally noticed.

Also: Stop it with the unnecessary adverbs, Steph. It’s just getting silly. We both know your dialog is terrible, but these tacked-on words aren’t doing you any favors in that department.

Notable Quote: “[Edward] enunciated every syllable, as if he were talking to someone
mentally handicapped.”

Ummmm…..

Nah, too easy.

Word usage amusement: Bella has just been asked by Edward if she would like a ride to Seattle. She was going there anyway and is soon going to get all dreamy and accept. That’s not the part that caught my attention.

He offers because he has a Volvo that he says will get much better gas mileage than her truck. Aside from sounding like a Volvo ad, my question is this:

When Bella thinks to herself, “Stupid, shiny Volvo owner,” is she calling him a shiny owner of a Volvo or the owner of a shiny Volvo?

Both happen to be true in this case, but it piques my curiosity all the same.

Adventures in Awkward Description, Episode 47: “His eyes were gloriously intense as he uttered that last sentence, his voice smoldering.”

His voice, his voice, his voice is on fire!

Farewell: So the slow, excruciating snail’s pace of progress continues, but there is still progress to be had. The two lovebirds are now talking to each other again and have even finally, FINALLY managed to sort of/kind of almost acknowledge that there is something between them.

I thought the day would never come.

And apparently they’re even going to Seattle together. Should the book ever decide to progress far enough to actually show me this point, I will try not to be too bored by a trip to a city I have no interest in taken by two people that I despise.

Good times are coming, I can feel it in my bones.

I will reluctantly admit, however, that after analyzing the chapter once I had finished reading it, the amount of boring narration has been significantly reduced. It didn’t really strike me as I was reading it, as the pace is still glacial, but while it remains almost completely devoid of traditional scene structure or in-the-moment action, there is a lot more dialog in this chapter to help prop things up.

See, I even acknowledged a positive. I just hope it keeps up.

I mean, I think the dialog is terrible, but it’s better than Bella prattling on to herself and revealing the whole story via poorly written diary entry.


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Apocalyptic Graduation

The realization was slow to set in, but now I am sure of it. I am graduating into the apocalypse.

Swine flu is going to kill everybody.

The recession is going to make the world’s economy collapse.

People will soon begin to ransack abandoned buildings for sustenance. Black markets will spring up around goods that have been stolen from stores that can no longer protect their own merchandise.

The Middle East is probably going to blow the world into smithereens any day now with its expanding nuclear weapons arsenal that’s in the news more and more frequently these days.

Swine flu is likely going to make my university, mired in unchangeable tradition, alter course and not conduct business quite as normal during graduation, like so many other universities have already announced, due to swine flu concerns.

I’m not going to be able to get a job after getting my degree, leaving me a failure at life stuck mooching off of my parents until I can figure out how to live off of unemployment checks and secure my position at McDonalds, if I am particularly lucky.

My graduation ceremony itself will probably be rained out, stuffing us into a smaller space which will:

All of this not to mention more long-standing concerns. For instance, the fact that global warming is going to slowly but surely melt all the ice on the planet ending life as we know it. Or the fact that solar activity that is going to kick up in the next three or four years will destroy our power grids and cause civilization to collapse (if there’s any civilization left after the swine flu kills us all, of course).

Plus the Mayans predicted the world was going to end in 2012 anyway, so I figure that they lived long enough that they could have been off by a few years. It would be understandable. I wouldn’t hold it against them.

Also, I’m willing to grant that the actual period of the apocalypse may not be as immediate as everyone expects. Perhaps I am simply graduating into the beginning of the apocalypse and the real thing will come in 2012 or so. I’d say that still fits my definition. It’s just semantics at that point. After all, the beginning of the apocalypse is still the apocalypse.

Well, at least I’ll get to graduate before the world comes crashing down around me. How much would it suck to be a junior when the world ends?

So close, then kaboom. No more world to graduate into.

There’s always someone worse off than yourself, I guess.


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Twilight: Journey Into the Abyss (Part Four)

In this ongoing feature (*gulp*) I delve into the world of Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer, a work that is dreaded by serious writers the world over. I fear what terrible horrors, what mutilations of the English language, what unbelievably poor excuses for story construction await me.

What follows are my thoughts, my color commentary if you will, on the book as I go along.

So, Stephanie Meyer, give me your best shot. I’m all yours.

Chapter Three

Notable Quote #1: “When I opened my eyes in the morning, something was different.”

Your entire personality? Please please please?

“It was the light.”

Rats.

Notable Quote #2: “I jumped up to look outside, and then groaned in horror.”

That sounds really awkward. Groan in horror? Is that like the sound a zombie makes?

“Grrrr, Bella want brains!”

Notable Quote #3: “…I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being lonely.”

Reveling in the aloneness… God, she is so freakin’ emo. I mean seriously. Not “enjoying the solitude”. Not “pleased by the extra time I was afforded to be by myself and ponder things”.

No, she “revels in the aloneness”.

Wow.

Snooze: If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to doze off for a few minutes while Bella obsesses over both Edward and her obsession over Edward for a couple of pages. Back in a few.

Notable Quote #4: “I wasn’t used to being taken care of, and Charlie’s unspoken concern caught me by surprise.”

Oh my ever-loving Lord, my father cares about me! Shock of shocks! Horror of horrors! Whatever strange, cruel fate shall befall me next?

Notable Quote #5: “ I was standing by the back corner of the truck, struggling to fight back the sudden wave of emotion the snow chains had brought on…”

You have no idea how long I laughed at that sentence.

I know, I know, I should be more empathetic. I knew a couple that divorced once over snow chains. Their kid was just never the same again. Any time he saw a chain the poor thing just burst into uncontrollable tears.

Fraught with trauma, those snow chains.

Thought: Is Mrs. Meyer ever going to learn how to actually display emotion, rather than simply stating that her character is having one? You know, like when Bella is having her emotional breakdown over snow chains, she has a “wave of emotion”.

How about actually demonstrating one of those emotions for us, huh? Getting us into the character’s head a little? Using a few of the five sense for a change?

No?

Oh, ok then. Have it your way.

Amazement: Wait, so Edward just leapt halfway across a parking lot in an instant, stopped a gorram car skidding across its icy surface, left a giant dent in the side of the thing, saved Bella’s life in the process, and still no one notices that anything is slightly odd about him?

Get on with it already, woman! We’re three chapters into the book and you’re still dancing around the truth like it’s some kind of great secret. It’s printed on the back of the damn cover. Seriously, look:

“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire.”

See? The marketing people can do it in two sentences. What on Earth is taking you so long? Would it be too much to ask just to set the damn story in motion already?

And how stupid are these small-town, inbred freaks not to have noticed that something is up by now?

Sheesh.

Notable Quote #6: “He unleashed the full, devastating power of his eyes on me, as if trying to communicate something crucial.”

First of all: gag.

Secondly, he is trying to communicate something crucial. Namely, he’s not some super-strong vampiric freak with shiny skin, terrific reflexes, and immortal life, and you’re an idiot for suspecting that and stop asking questions and believe what I say instead of your own eyes you silly tart.

Notable Quote #7: “‘Trust me,’ he pleaded, his soft voice overwhelming.”

Again: gag.

You know, coming up with some new metaphors probably wouldn’t kill you. Hell, at least reuse some better ones than that.

Notable Quote #8: “It took six EMTs and two teachers — Mr. Varner and Coach Clapp…”

*snicker*

Notable Quote #9: “ I tried to think of a logical solution that could explain what I had just seen — a solution that excluded the assumption that I was insane.”

But why exclude that which is so obvious?

Notable Quote #10: “No matter how many times I tried to convince him [Tyler, driver of the skidding truck Edward saved her from] I was fine, he continued to torment himself.”

Well, he did kind of almost crush you to death in horribly violent, painful way. I think I can forgive him a little self-torment for that one. If Mr. Perfect McDreamboat hadn’t been there to save you, you’d be little more than a grease stain on the parking lot.

Creeped Out: So Edward’s father just entered the picture, and the description Bella gives of him sounds like an introduction from a bad romance novel straight out of Freud’s worst nightmare. I don’t care how good-looking the man is, you shouldn’t make your young, teenage protagonist describe her love interest’s father in quite so appealing a fashion.

It’s a tad creepy.

Confused: Bella has spent a couple of pages now repeating at every possible opportunity that she is, in fact, “fine” after her close call in the parking lot and refusing help from every direction.

Now I know she’s supposed to be all independent and emo and loner, but she’s clearly showing signs of the possibility of a concussion. What’s really so bad about accepting the tiniest bit of help when you might have just received a brain bruise?

She’s told everyone she’s met fifty gazillion times she’s fine and almost fell on her ass due to dizziness trying to walk out of the hospital room. Is this really a great example to be setting?

“No doctor, I’m perfectly fine. I know it may look like I’m bleeding profusely out of my left eye socket, but I’m just fine. Really. Fine. Absolutely. I SAID DON’T HELP ME YOU RUDDY LITTLE BASTARD, I’M TRYING TO BE EMO HERE!”

Notable Quote #11: “His eyes were cold.”

Ew, you touched his eyes? Gross.

That’s not very polite you know. That feels extremely uncomfortable. Have you ever had someone get all touchy-feely on your eyes?

It’s not a pleasant sensation. Have a little respect for others.

???: “It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel.”

What the fuck?

Notable Quote #12: “‘Why did you even bother?’ I asked frigidly.”

Unnecessary adverbs are fun!

Desperate plea: Please, please stop describing Edward’s face. Please stop telling me how many contradicting adjectives it is and how many conflicting emotions it then makes you describe to me.

I get it. You like his face. Can you stop attaching adjectives to it now?

Please?

Realization: Bella has been angry a number of times in this chapter, yet I see no inexplicable tears streaming down her face as I was promised a chapter or two ago.

I was looking forward to this particular neuroticism of Bella’s, yet I am now being denied this pleasure.

I’m just looking for a little consistency here. I was promised tears with every outburst of anger, and I’m not getting them. I feel cheated.

Don’t tell me you just came up with that character trait on a whim because it was convenient for the current scene and are not planning on seeing it through, Mrs. Meyer. Surely you wouldn’t pull a trick like that.

Notable Quote #13: “I was consumed by the mystery Edward presented. And more than a little obsessed by Edward himself.”

No kidding, really? I hadn’t noticed.

Maybe you should harp on that fact a little more. You know, make it more obvious in case your masterful subtlety up to this point might have escaped someone’s attention.

Don’t want anyone to miss out.

Farewell: I continue to be amazed by how much of this book has gone by without anything actually happening. It’s kind of remarkable, in a sad sort of way. As I stated in my last farewell, I’m not truly looking forward to the start of the story proper, but at the same time I cling to the faint hope that perhaps once things get going I’ll see fewer awkward paragraphs spent describing Edward’s face.

I think I must also prepare myself for the possibility that, for this book, this may be as “going” as the story gets. I do not yet think I am mentally prepared to accept this as the truth, for fear I may break down in (angry?) tears and lose my will to continue with this project. For now, for my own mental health, I will continue to pretend that there is a possibility things might eventually pick up and get better.


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