August 28, 2008
As some of you may have heard, my partial draft of Midnight Sun was illegally posted on the Internet and has since been virally distributed without my knowledge or permission or the knowledge or permission of my publisher.
I have a good idea of how the leak happened as there were very few copies of Midnight Sun that left my possession and each was unique. Due to little changes I made to the manuscript at different times, I can tell when each left my possession and to whom it was given. The manuscript that was illegally distributed on the Internet was given to trusted individuals for a good purpose. I have no comment beyond that as I believe that there was no malicious intent with the initial distribution.
I did not want my readers to experience Midnight Sun before it was completed, edited and published. I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being. As the author of the Twilight Saga, I control the copyright and it is up to the owner of the copyright to decide when the books should be made public; this is the same for musicians and filmmakers. Just because someone buys a book or movie or song, or gets a download off the Internet, doesn't mean that they own the right to reproduce and distribute it. Unfortunately, with the Internet, it is easy for people to obtain and share items that do not legally belong to them. No matter how this is done, it is still dishonest. This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control.
So where does this leave Midnight Sun. My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn't like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything. If I tried to write Midnight Sun now, in my current frame of mind, James would probably win and all the Cullens would die, which wouldn't dovetail too well with the original story. In any case, I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight Sun. and so it is on hold indefinitely.
I'd rather my fans not read this version of Midnight Sun. It was only an incomplete draft; the writing is messy and flawed and full of mistakes. But how do I comment on this violation without driving more people to look for the illegal posting? It has taken me a while to decide how and if I could respond. But to end the confusion, I've decided to make the draft available here (at the end of this post). This way, my readers don't have to feel they have to make a sacrifice to stay honest. I hope this fragment gives you further insight into Edward's head and adds a new dimension to the Twilight story. That's what inspired me to write it in the first place.
I do want to take a moment and thank the wonderful fans who have been so supportive of me over the past three years. I cannot begin to tell you how much each of you means to me. I only hope this note will stop all the confusion and online speculation so that the Twilight universe can once again become the happy escape it used to be. After this incredibly busy year, I am now focusing on spending more time with my family and working on some other writing projects.
Midnight Sun Partial Draft (if you are having problems viewing it, please click here .) This material is copyrighted by Stephenie Meyer. Any retranscription or reproduction is illegal.
June 2008 Update: In response to the outrageous number of emails that I have received with questions concerning Midnight Sun, I talked to Stephenie this weekend and she asked me to let everyone know that Midnight Sun is her next project. She has not yet finished writing it (and there is no timeline set up, so we all need to put a lot of effort into being patient for a while longer), but she is definitely still planning on having it published. And, after
Breaking Dawn comes out, Stephenie will have much more time to focus on writing Midnight Sun.
Midnight Sun is an exercise in character development that got wildly out of hand (as do many of my projects).
While I was procrastinating some real editing work (I'm always at my most creative when procrastinating), I started to wonder how the first chapter of Twilight would read if it were written from Edward's perspective. There is so much more to his side of the story than there is to Bella's in that first chapter. After all, Bella only knows that an incredibly gorgeous boy is looking at her funny. Meanwhile, Edward is suffering through one of the most momentous days of his very long life! First there's the shock and frustration of not being able to hear Bella's thoughts, then the wild, monstrous reaction to her scent, followed by the incredible expenditure of self-control that it takes to not kill her. His side of Bella's first day at Forks High School is a hundred times more exciting than her own.
Though I didn't have time to work on it right away, the idea of letting Edward have his chance to speak stuck with me. I couldn't shake it. I found myself thinking his words in the middle of the night and jotting down phrases he would use while I was waiting in line at the post office. As soon as I finished my real work, I sat down and let Edward get his say.
Writing chapter one, "First Sight," from Edward's point of view was an exciting experience; I actually had my pulse racing as I typed. When I finished, I was truly pleased with my creation. Here was the other side of the story that no one knew. Here was the truth of what Edward had been through. I felt like I knew my Edward even better, and I was sure his dialogue would be more insightful in future novels. The end. Exercise over.
Ha ha. It wasn't long before I was thinking about Edward in Alaska, Edward upon his return to Forks, Edward's side of that fateful conversation in Biology. Chapter two started to write itself in my head, while I kept telling myself that I didn't have time to write a book for fun when I had real books to write. (My mother seconded that opinion—she thinks I work too hard).
But when a story demands to be written, there's no way to resist. And the more I wrote, the more I became convinced that Edward deserved to have his story told. At first I was planning to post it all here on my website, but I changed my mind for two reasons, the most important being that Edward's version is much longer than Bella's—Edward over-thinks everything. I'm not even half way done, and the page count is near three hundred. The second reason that I changed my mind is a little bit silly—I just would really love to have a pretty, matching, bound version of Midnight Sun to put beside Twilight on top of my desk. So I'm going to try to have it published as a complementary novel to Twilight. It will take a while, because I can only work on it between editing stints, but I hope that someday I'll be able to see Midnight Sun on the bookstore shelves next to Twilight. New Moon. Eclipse. and etc. (Fueling my belief that Midnight Sun is worthy of publishing is my mother's about face—after reading the first eleven chapters, she thinks it's magic and says I should go for it.)
And here I was going to write just a short paragraph of introduction. You see what I mean about things getting out of hand?
Because I just can't wait out the years it will take to reach publication for people to begin to understand Edward, here is my original character development exercise, Edward's version of Bella's first day at Forks High School, the first chapter of Midnight Sun *:
Midnight Sun Chapter 1 (if you are having problems viewing it, please click here .) This material is copyrighted by Stephenie Meyer. Any retranscription or reproduction is illegal.
*Please remember this is an unedited rough draft. It is full of typos and all the other flaws that unedited manuscripts have. Enjoy it for what it is, but know that the final copy will be infinitely superior.