Friday, April 16, 2010

New Prolofgue and New Chapter 1: Enter the Whinging

“I stared without breathing across the long room” The “without breathing” should be a clause beginning the sentence.
“Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved.” This could be a good lead-in, except it’s only based on her stupidity. She doesn’t die in place of anyone, nor does she even remotely have to. She just kind of randomly decides that she can handle an immortal killing machine and goes skipping tra-la off to meet him, saving no one and accomplishing nothing but putting herself in huge amounts of danger.
“When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.” Which kind of establishes that Bella only defines life by her romantic relationships and is nothing without a man…

The writing is heavy handed, but doesn’t really give an inkling to the true horror that lurks. The problem with it is it attempts to do the epic introduction at the height of action, but kind of fails. We know from reading the book jacket that it’s about a chick who falls in love with a vampire… and we know from the prologue that it isn’t Edward who attempts to kill her, which is what everyone was wondering. The fact that someone else tries to kill the vampire loving girl defeats the tension of the entire premise.

Chapter 1:

“I was wearing my favorite shirt — sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.” This just doesn’t flow very well.

“It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United States of America.” No, it doesn’t, and also, first establishing that Bella is a stuck-up little snob. Phoenix = good, Forks = bad.

“It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old.” Escaped? Seriously, she makes it sound like Forks is the Warsaw Ghetto.

“It was in this town that I'd been compelled to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen. That was the year I finally put my foot down; these past three summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for two weeks instead.” I think this is supposed to make us sympathize with and like Bella. Instead it makes me want to smack a bitch. She only sees her father two weeks a year, and she has the gall to insist that they can’t see each other in his home town?

“It was to Forks that I now exiled myself— an action that I took with great horror.” And here it is established that Bella is a verbose little nit whose every minor emotion is a cataclysm. But this is still supposed to be making her likable.
“"Bella," my mom said to me — the last of a thousand times — before I got on the plane. "You don't have to do this."” Stephenie Meyer should be fined for over and improperly using dashes. And no, she really doesn’t have to do this, but how could she play the martyr if she didn’t? I also love how all this nastiness about the town correlates to nastiness about Bella’s father.

“My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines.” And what do you look like? Explain, book, EXPLAIN!

“I felt a spasm of panic as I stared at her wide, childlike eyes.” And sexism rears its ugly head on page 4. Renee wouldn’t be a sexist caricature if she was the only female to be childish and silly, but she’s not. Edward always treats Bella like a child, Alice is described in terms of dancing and chirping and playing, while the men get more dignified movements.

“How could I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained mother to fend for herself ?” How did she manage before you were born? How did she not accidentally bake you into a pie when you were a toddler?

“Of course she had Phil now, so the bills would probably get paid, there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, and someone to call when she got lost, but still…” First instance of a man being the wise, load-bearing one, while the woman is flighty and silly.

“But I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind the promise.” What sacrifice? From the terms you’ve described her in, I could imagine your mother forgetting you exist the moment you’re out of her sight.

“Flying doesn't bother me; the hour in the car with Charlie, though, I was a little worried about.” Well, we know nothing about her father, except she apparently hates him for his choice of living location. Maybe he’s a really nasty person who yells a lot, or something else horrible… except that we find out pretty quick that he’s a really decent kind of guy who’s stuck with a doltish daughter.

“Charlie had really been fairly nice about the whole thing.” She now goes on to describe him being extremely nice, but it’s still not good enough for Princess here.

“He seemed genuinely pleased that I was coming to live with him for the first time with any degree of permanence.” Bad phrasing there. Just wanted to point it out.

“Neither of us was what anyone would call verbose” Oh, Bella, you lying bitch. If the only thing I said all day was ‘The rancorous breath of Boreas is markedly gelid this forenoon’, I would not be talkative, but I would be verbose. Talkative and verbose do not mean the same thing.

“and I didn't know what there was to say regardless.” Maybe you could try showing some interest and trying to have a conversation?

“I knew he was more than a little confused by my decision — like my mother before me, I hadn't made a secret of my distaste for Forks.” Considering that you threw a tantrum at age 14 and refused to ever set foot in the city again, I think ‘distaste’ is a rather mild word.

“I'd already said my goodbyes to the sun.” Oh, woe. Overdramatizing brat.

“This I was expecting, too.” ?

“My primary motivation behind buying a car, despite the scarcity of my funds, was that I refused to be driven around town in a car with red and blue lights on top.” Bella refuses to do a lot of things…

“I wasn't allowed to call him Charlie to his face.” And here begins the cycle of her treating Charlie like dirt for no apparent reason. He’s shown as nothing but a kind, considerate, and loving father, and she acts like he keeps her chained up in the basement.

“Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for Washington.” I wonder if she’s referring to her Hazmat suit or her deep-sea diving equipment. I think the word she’s going for is ‘light’ or ‘thin’.

“"What kind of car?" I was suspicious of the way he said "good car for you" as opposed to just "good car."” And here she is being an ungrateful little bitch for the first time!

“"Do you remember Billy Black down at La Push?" La Push is the tiny Indian reservation on the coast.” Terrible authorial intrusion there. If someone cared, they could look it up, or they could wait for it to be explained later.

“That would explain why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.” Because hanging out with Indians is so icky. Almost like getting raped or being stuck in a trench being mortared. How can people not want to smack some manners into Bella?

“"He's in a wheelchair now," Charlie continued when I didn't respond, "so he can't drive anymore, and he offered to sell me his truck cheap."
"What year is it?" I could see from his change of expression that this was the question
he was hoping I wouldn't ask.” Actually, if it were me, I’d be stunned that my own flesh and blood, upon being told that an old family friend was in a wheelchair, only cared about the car. Bella completely lacks even a semblance of human compassion – even if I didn’t know the family friend well or even if I didn’t particularly like them, someone being confined to a wheelchair is a sad thing that deserves at least a question.

“"Well, Billy's done a lot of work on the engine — it's only a few years old, really."
I hoped he didn't think so little of me as to believe I would give up that easily. "When did he buy it?"
"He bought it in 1984, I think."
"Did he buy it new?"” She’s just been told that an old family friend will never walk again and that she’s gotten a free car. And all she can harp on is how old the car is. Seriously, we’re supposed to like her and identify with her?

“"Ch — Dad, I don't really know anything about cars. I wouldn't be able to fix it if anything went wrong, and I couldn't afford a mechanic…"” It’s true she doesn’t know anything about cars, or she would know that a late 50’s – early 60’s pickup truck is way easier to repair than just about anything made since.

“The thing, I thought to myself… it had possibilities — as a nickname, at the very least.” Bella has done nothing but complain from page 2 onward. Since the prologue is supposed to establish her as self-sacrificing and noble, how are we supposed to trust anything the book tells us?

“"Well, honey, I kind of already bought it for you. As a homecoming gift." Charlie peeked sideways at me with a hopeful expression.
Wow. Free.” I can hear your enthusiasm, you ungrateful snot-nosed punk.

“No need to add that my being happy in Forks is an impossibility.” And random switch in tenses!

“He didn't need to suffer along with me.” Maybe, just as a suggestion, you could try not to be so down on everything. Seriously, I get pessimism, but Bella isn’t a “glass half-empty” gal. She’s a “the glass is half-empty with toxic waste that is rapidly draining into the abyss of the 9th circle of hell” gal.

Page 6: Conversation is capitalized randomly. Also, why has she still not asked about the poor guy in the wheelchair?

“Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves.” I think you mean the sun. Air is only visible in certain large cities.

“It was too green — an alien planet.” No comment, just more complaining.

“To my intense surprise, I loved it.” First thing you haven’t complained about in this book.

“Now my horrific day tomorrow would be just that much less dreadful.” …. BAWW SOME MORE!

“I wouldn't be faced with the choice of either walking two miles in the rain to school or accepting a ride in the Chief's cruiser.” Because, gah, can’t let people know who my father is! Ew!

“There was only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which I would have to share with Charlie. I was trying not to dwell too much on that fact.” Jesus Christ, could you cool it with the Charlie being a freaky child abuser!

“not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape.” So you can see how Bella easily won the title of Forks High School Miss Congeniality.

“I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the coming morning.” Not because she thinks the other kids are going to be mean to her, but because there aren’t enough other kids. Wow.

“I would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity, a freak.” I could understand worrying about that, but when the old kids practically throw a parade in her honor, all she can do is whine about that.

“But physically, I'd never fit in anywhere.” You’d fit in just fine at any Hot Topic in the world.

“Instead, I was ivory-skinned, without even the excuse of blue eyes or red hair, despite the constant sunshine. I had always been slender, but soft somehow,” This is supposed to establish that she feels awkward and ugly, but why then does she use terms of glowing beauty? Someone who thought their white skin was ugly would call it ‘fish belly white’, ‘dead white’, or ‘pasty’. If she thought she was too thin, she’d say ‘stick-like’ or ‘scrawny’. Instead of soft, she’d say ‘flabby’ or ‘weak’. No one who thinks they’re ugly describes themselves like this.

“Maybe it was the light, but already I looked sallower, unhealthy.” Maybe it comes from being such a sad sack.

“And if I couldn't find a niche in a school with three thousand people, what were my chances here?” Except she’s lying, because when everyone tries to be friendly, she immediately shuts them down, or just thinks nasty thoughts about them.

“Even my mother, who I was closer to than anyone else on the planet, was never in harmony with me, never on exactly the same page.” Okay, that would be good telling in a more self-aware book. Bella is the center of the universe: she is a grade A speshul snowflake, and she thinks everyone needs to conform to her.
“You could never see the sky here; it was like a cage.” Bella has the worst case of SAD ever recorded.

“I thanked him, knowing his hope was wasted.” Except it isn’t, but you still pretend it is.

“then one of the three of us in the hospital after I was born, taken by a helpful nurse, followed by the procession of my school pictures up to last year's. Those were embarrassing to look at — I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while I was living here.” HOW CAN MY OWN FATHER DISPLAY PICTURES OF ME!? Oh the humanity!

“It was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom.” Well, maybe you should try talking to him about it. Except you don’t, and he’s stuck loving the two most inconsiderate women on the planet.

“I donned my jacket — which had the feel of a biohazard suit — and headed out into the rain.” Blah-de-blah, Bella is a brat. Lather, rinse, repeat.

“The engine started quickly, to my relief, but loudly, roaring to life and then idling at top volume.” Quick question. If Bella isn’t coordinated enough to walk down a hallway, how is she coordinated enough to drive stick?

“Inside, it was brightly lit, and warmer than I'd hoped.” Yes, because it’s cold and rainy outside in Forks, the people keep the inside lights dim and the A/C on all year.

“Plants grew everywhere in large plastic pots, as if there wasn't enough greenery outside.” Maybe these people have learned to live in harmony with nature, rather than hating it for existing.

“"I'm Isabella Swan," I informed her, and saw the immediate awareness light her eyes.” Someone was using a thesaurus without bothering to use a dictionary.

“I was expected, a topic of gossip no doubt.” Or it could be because your father registered you at school already. Just a wild guess.

Typo, page 8: “She brought several sheets to the counter to show [b]roe[/b].”

“No one was going to bite me.” Har.

“My plain black jacket didn't stand out, I noticed with relief.” Why would it? Were you expecting the other kids to show up in neon?

“At least my skin wouldn't be a standout here.” Since you’ve been complaining since page one that the sun never shines in Forks, were you really expecting this to be a problem?

“He gawked at me when he saw my name” Meyer’s opinion of small town people is showing.

“It was fairly basic: Bronte, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Faulkner. I'd already read everything.” Except this is never really mentioned again. She never thinks about anything she’s ever read, unless she can twist it to be about Edward. This also shows that SMeyer thinks already having done the work makes a person seem smarter. Hint: it doesn’t.

“He looked like the overly helpful, chess club type.” Ew! How dare he be nice to me! He’s all ugly and stuff!

“"I'm headed toward building four, I could show you the way…"Definitely over-helpful.” Wait, a page ago you were worried about having to wander around with your nose stuck in the map. So someone being nice is automatically a burden.

“"You don't look very tan."
"My mother is part albino."” This is supposed to be her making a joke, but instead it comes off as rude and snippy for no reason.

“He studied my face apprehensively, and I sighed. It looked like clouds and a sense of
humor didn't mix.” Maybe because that wasn’t funny.

“My Trigonometry teacher, Mr. Varner, who I would have hated anyway just because of the subject he taught, was the only one who made me stand in front of the class and introduce myself. I stammered, blushed, and tripped over my own boots on the way to my seat.” Because girls don’t like math!

“I tried to be diplomatic, but mostly I just lied a lot.” And she was so worried that she would have no friends. All day people try to make friends with her, but she just dismisses them.

“I couldn't remember her name, so I smiled and nodded as she prattled about teachers and classes.” And here’s Jessica of the Big Hair, trying to be nice, while Bella completely ignores her. Why can’t she tell that Bella is just better than she is?

“I forgot all their names as soon as she spoke them.” But she doesn’t care enough to try to remember them. Why would she? After all, she was lying through her teeth when she said she wanted friends and acceptance.

“The boy from English, Eric, waved at me from across the room.” Is anyone else bothered that only the boy gets a name?

“They weren't talking, and they weren't eating, though they each had a tray of untouched food in front of them.” Why do they bother buying and wasting food? It’s not a very good façade, that every day they buy lunch and then don’t touch it. It would actually make them stand out less if they just didn’t buy any food. Let everyone assume this rich snobs thought they were too good for pleb fare. Also, they just look even more suspicious by sitting around looking as sullen and rebellious and James Dean-like as possible.

“Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino. They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes — purplish, bruiselike shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose.” Now that’s attractive. They might as well be wearing signs that proclaim ‘Hi, we’re vampires!’

“They were faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine. Or painted by an old master as the face of an angel.” Because the two look so similar. Also, good establishing that Bella cares nothing about friendliness, conversation, camaraderie, or kindness. She cares about beauty.

“she dumped her tray” WHY!? Why, with people starving all over the world, do the Cullens waste food?

“My eyes darted back to the others, who sat unchanging.” Is this supposed to make them look normal and not suspicious? They’re glaring in every direction, not moving and not communicating, then one dances away, and they all continue glaring in random directions, not moving.
“In that brief flash of a glance, his face held nothing of interest — it was as if she had called his name, and he'd looked up in involuntary response, already having decided not to answer.” Meet Edward: snobby douchebag.

“Her voice held all the shock and condemnation of the small town, I thought critically. But, if I was being honest, I had to admit that even in Phoenix, it would cause gossip.” Finally, she admits that this is something that’s a bit weird, not just that Forks does everything wrong.

“With the glances she was throwing at their adopted children, I would presume the reason was jealousy.” Or maybe it’s because they’re a bunch of creepy snobs.

“"I think that Mrs. Cullen can't have any kids, though," she added, as if that lessened their kindness.” Or maybe she’s explaining why there are five adopted teenagers.

“Pity because, as beautiful as they were, they were outsiders, clearly not accepted.” Maybe because they’re jerks.

“he was still staring at me, but not gawking like the other students had today” It’s okay for him to stare, because he’s gorgeous, and no one else is.

“"That's Edward. He's gorgeous, of course, but don't waste your time. He doesn't date.
Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him." She sniffed, a clear case of sour grapes. I wondered when he'd turned her down.” Obviously nothing to do with them being rude snobs.

“She was shy, too.” Except Bella is not shy. She’s whiny, self-aggrandizing, and has a martyr complex, but she’s never shy.

“Was this his normal behavior? I questioned my judgment on Jessica's bitterness at lunch today. Maybe she was not as resentful as I'd thought.” Finally, a rational reaction not based off of stereotypes and snark.

Typo page 13: “He was glaring down at me again, his black eyes full of revulsion. As I flinched away from him, shrinking against my chair, the phra[b] seif [/b]looks could kill suddenly ran through my mind.” Except she inexplicably finds this a turn on. He terrifies her at their first meeting, and that makes her fall head over heels in love with him Healthy!

“"That's my next class, too." He seemed thrilled, though it wasn't that big of a coincidence in a school this small.” But instead of talking with the nice boy, she instead thinks of him dismissively and fixates on why didn’t Edward like her? She told us that at her old school, nobody liked her, so why does she find it so weird that Edward doesn’t?

“Forks was literally my personal hell on Earth.”

“He was arguing with her in a low, attractive voice.” -_-

“his face was absurdly handsome” You’ve just found out that he’s a nasty jerk who hates you for no reason. Why are you still focusing on how good he looks!?


  1. Excellent work! I love it! I was putting something together myself, but yours is almost line by line. You wasted my writing. I have this bookmarked, can't wait to get through more of it.
    Since I had to comment before I was done reading even the first entry, I have to know if you commented at all about the whole chastity thing. I have great issues with the halo being painted over this series. Chastity is promoted yet killing and pressuring someone into sex is okay? Jacob damn near raping Bella is okay?
    What kind of moral standards does Stephanie Meyer adhere to?
    I'm so confused.
    Thanks again, this is stellar work. You have a bright future, don't let it slip by! I speak from experience.

  2. Why the re-set KB? Just trying to be more thorough?

  3. Pretty much. It was also to celebrate our shiny new Facebook fan page, and our shiny new webmaster/illustrator.