My Thoughts On The Meyer Midnight Sun Leak

I'm sure most of you know by now that chapters from Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun were leaked. I saw it, I knew where they were but I resisted. I didn't know that it was the real thing and to be honest I suspected it was mostly a lure to a boatload of nasty viruses that would come along with the download. But even it it wasn't, I wasn't interested. I'm all for advance copies and all, but I want them to come from a real source like a publisher.

I don't follow her blog because well, I honestly don't care enough to read what she has to say on a semi-regular basis. But I saw this post at Biblioharlot Bookshelf about Meyer's reaction to the leak. Yeah, Meyer did have a bit of a tantrum and like I said in my comment, I'm not surprised. It's got the same "It's NOT FAIR!" element that she had in her reaction to the spoilers that filtered out about New Moon. I understand that she feels angry and betrayed but the "killing the Cullens" statement in her official response was too much for an internet statement. I think I understand why she feels that way (I'll get to that in a moment) but just like there are "indoor" and "outdoor" voices there are "internet" and "IRL" voices too. The anger and the betrayal could have been expressed without the Cullens comments and I think she would have served herself better if she had.

I think that the problem with this whole thing can be summed up as this - Meyer thinks that the Twilight series and all of its characters are hers. Yes, she is the one that created them and wrote about them. She owns the rights to them and only she can publish them. But the minute that the first book was published they moved beyond her. They are now partially owned by the fans. Meyer knows the fans and I think she has a love/hate with them because they think that they own the rights to them as much as she does and in a way they do. It's a double-edged sword, this sudden popularity and the fandom that comes with it.

In essence what it seems that Meyer is doing when she says "if I tried to write Midnight Sun now, in my current frame of mind, James would probably win and all the Cullens would die" is that she is reminding everyone that this is HERS and if things don't go her way the fans won't get anything. Yes, it's juvenile. Yes, it's a tantrum. But I don't think that we should be surprised, Meyer has always been very possessive of her characters. She lends them out to us but in the end they are always hers and we will never know them like she does. These books to her are like Edward's protectiveness/stalkerness toward Bella - one part well meaning, one part way over the line. She's reminding us that she calls the shots.

After reading her post I took her up on her offer to download and read the leaked chapters. Which, unlike the possessive Cullen killing statement, was a bloody brilliant move on her part. Because now all the curious but cautious people, like me, had her permission to read it. We had twelve whole chapters of Edward. Twelve whole chapters. But only twelve chapters. She's like the drug dealer that gives you that first taste of crack for free to get you hooked only instead of dealing in drugs she's dealing words (ok in her case, the characters, not the words). It conveniently did not make it to the scene in the meadow.

If it were not for her tantrum I would swear that this whole thing was a setup. It's brilliant publicity.

Think about it - the Twilight series, for all intents and purposes, could end right now. Yes, there would be some complaining but basically the story she set out to tell is done. I imagine there are some people who are wondering about how successful a retelling of the story from Edward's point of view could really be. I mean, there's a Return the Book campaign for Breaking Dawn.  "Let's leak a few chapters and see what happens." Which of course was a storm of downloading as it circulated through the internet and got fans whipped into a frenzy. "Look at all the downloads," one could say. "There's a market for this."

Yes, if it wasn't for her reaction I'd be theorizing that this is what happened. I do love a good conspiracy theory. But Meyer's reaction is so very Meyerish that I know it's not.

Meyer will write Midnight Sun. She'll finish it and she'll release it. Possibly even a bit sooner than originally intended. Why do I say this? Simple. Since she gave readers her permission to do so I downloaded and read her leaked document. And now I want the rest of the bloody freaking thing and if she doesn't finish it and release it I'm going to be pissed.

There will be fans who read it and gush and talk about how they need to have it and they want to have it right this minute. They'll compliment her and stroke her ego telling her, "OMG! It's the most awesome thing ever!" She'll recover. She'll publish it. She'll guard future drafts like a hawk (and I'm thinking that I would not want to get between her and the person who leaked it in a dark alleyway).

She'll release it. I'm going to hedge my bets for a late 2009 release.