I first heard about the Twilight books from my sister while we were scoping a newly discovered book store. If you haven’t stopped reading already, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that this piece is not about Twilight and I am most definitely not a Twihard. The first Twilight book was displayed prominently at the front of the store, the haunting cover with the pale hands holding a bright red apple naturally grabbing my attention as I love reading horror, thrillers and supernatural fiction ( Stephen King is an all time favorite!). I asked my sister for a brief synopsis and what she told me seemed anything but original – a typical teenage fantasy novel – but my sister insisted there was something special and unique about the story. It was different, she insisted, gazing dreamily behind my left shoulder. If you ask her now, she will never admit to saying that. Never.
Fast forward to the movies coming out. I had never gotten around to reading the books so I decided to watch the movie that people all over the world were going crazy over. After the watching the first movie I didn’t know what to think. Not only was the story line way below par, bad casting and atrocious acting made for a dreadful movie experience. I was more surprised than disappointed – surprised at it’s huge success. The subsequent movies were more, if not just as successful as the first, despite terrible reviews. Now I must admit there are a lot of movies that I like despite bad reviews ( e.g the first three X-men movies) but Twilight was just….Twilight….I don’t know what to say about it honestly! I was baffled by its popularity but a passing comment from a friend made me realize what made the books and movie such a huge success. “Do you know how I know that Twilight was written by a woman? The vampires shine, like diamonds, when sunlight hits them,” she said. Ah, the age old stereotype of women being obsessed with diamonds (I am cursed when it comes to diamonds but that is a story for another time). But it got me thinking about why Twilight was so popular. Isn’t it almost every woman’s dream to have a handsome, seemingly invincible and dangerous man (or maybe woman)sweep them off their feet (literally in this case) and make them the center of their world, to have this brooding,hellishly strong introverted (and therefore eliminating competition) man be hopelessly in love with her? Although in today’s world, women don’t need to be taken care of or need a man to survive and the feminist in me screams as I admit that I think most women, myself included, still have that little princess, perhaps pushed to a tiny corner at the very back of their heads, that still yearns for Prince Charming. And that’s what Twilight honed in on – wishful thinking.
I’m writing about this now because the other day, I watched a promo for a new series called Hindsight which hones in on another popular concept in wishful thinking – going back in time and living your life again knowing what you already know now. Think of all the wrongs that could be made right, how much better (and maybe even perfect) life could be. It tickled my interest but once again the acting and concept seemed a little cliche so I think I’ll pass, although I do wish I could go back in time and un-watch Twilight.
In conclusion, I think a surefire way to write a successful novel or short story or series or whatever, is to pin-point an idea that a majority of the population (or as much as you need to get your desired amount of fame and money) wish for but cannot really have. Concepts embedded in the wishful thinking of the readers (and of course some minimal skill in written English) is sure to bring success! There you go all you serious writers – your free advice of that day! Let me know if it works out for you!:P