And so the endings, to me, are always inevitable. You get to a point where there‘s no other way it can go.
SH: I think that, with certain kinds of stories, if you preplan a happy ending, it feels so false. I have had a couple stories like that, where I decided: This is not going to be the happy ending people are going to want, but we‟re just going to have to live with it. And then a character swoops in or something happens to change the problem and take it out of my hands. I think that kind of ending can feel more real and satisfying. You can‘t force it, though.
SM: No. Usually, the endings become impossible to avoid, because of whatever is growing in the story. There‘s nothing you can do after it‘s set in motion—it just keeps going.
Sometimes I don‘t see something changing at first. It‘s like... say, when you change direction by one degree, and you end up on a completely different continent, even though you turned just the slightest bit. Things like that‘ll happen that change the course. But by the time you get to the end, there‘s no... there‘s no more leeway for changes.
And so the endings, to me, are always inevitable. You get to a point where there‘s no other way it can go. If I tried to do something different, I think it would feel really unnatural. But I rarely try. [Laughs] It‘s like: Let‘s just let this be what it is. This is the way the story goes.
It gets complicated because, as the author, I see the first-person perspective from more than one person‘s perspective.
SH: Now, with New Moon, there was a way that it could have ended that was very different. And what changed the course of those events was happenstance.
SM: It wasn‘t altogether happenstance—whether you‘re referring to the paper cut or the cliff-jump or what have you. With the characters being who they are, it‘s only a matter of time before Bella bleeds near Jasper, and then the outcome is inevitable. It‘s only a matter of time before Bella finds a way to express her need for adrenaline in a way that nearly kills her, and it‘s pretty good odds that Jacob will be somewhere close to Bella at that time, clouding up Alice‘s visions.
It gets complicated because, as the author, I see the first-person perspective from more than one person‘s perspective. I started writing Bella in the beginning, but there are several voices that are first-person perspective for me while I‘m writing. So I know everything that‘s going on with those people. Sometimes it‘s hard for me to write from Bella‘s perspective only, because Bella can only know certain things. And so much of that story was first-person- perspective Edward for me.
I knew it was going to be a problem if Edward took off. [Laughs] I mean, even though Twilight had not come out yet, I was aware enough at this point that this is not the way you write a romance. You don‘t take the main character away—you don‘t take the guy away. [SH laughs] But because of who he is, he had to leave—and because of the weakness that he has, he was going to come back. It was his strength that got him away, and it was the weakness that brought him back. It was a defeat, in a way, for him—but, at the same time, it was this triumph he wasn‘t expecting. Because he didn‘t see it going the way it does in the end.
He‘s such a pessimist—oh my gosh, Edward‘s a pessimist. And one of the fun thingsabout Breaking Dawn for me was working through that with him, till he finally becomes an optimist. That‘s one of the biggest changes in Breaking Dawn, that Edward becomes an optimist. So many things have lined up in his favor that he can no longer deny the fact that some good will happen to him in his life. [Laughs]
And so for me, New Moon was all about what Edward had to do to be able to call himself a man. If he hadn‘t tried to save Bella by leaving, then he would not have been a good person, in his own estimation. He had to at least try.
And it was really hard to write, because I had to live all that. Oh gosh—it was depressing! I was into listening to a lot of Marjorie Fair. [Laughs] But I was able to do some things as a writer that I was really proud of, that I felt were a lot better than what I‘d done in Twilight. I was able to explore some things that felt really real to me—even though I‘d never been in Bella‘s position. It didn‘t feel like sympathy; it was empathy. Like I was really there, like I really was her. And so that was an interesting experience... but it was hard. It does take up the majority of the book, and that was tricky. It‘s gratifying to me that, for some people—a minority—New Moon is their very favorite book.
SH: I have a book like that—Enna Burning—which has been my least popular book all around. But there is a core of people for whom that is their favorite. And it is tremendously gratifying, because that was a difficult book to write for me, too. It‘s a dark book, and I poured so much into it. I‘m really proud of that book. But to find that it spoke to someone else besides me makes me feel not quite so lonely as a writer.
SM: As a writer I don‘t think you always realize how lonely it is to feel like you‘re in this world all by yourself. That‘s why you end up sharing it, because there are some people who will get it.