So you've read The Twilight Saga books, you've seen Twilight and New Moon... probably multiple times, you've watched interview after interview with everyone involved, but did you ever wonder where the whole thing started? Stephenie Meyer, bless her heart, seems to be very happy to share just about everything with her fans, regardless of the certainly hectic schedule she has faced ever since the phenomenon started. She is a Brigham Young University graduate where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English. Stephenie dabbled a little into writing, but admits that she never got very far with any of her stories, anything she had written had ended up being only a few chapters. Once Meyer gave birth to her first child, writing went out the window completely for six years, until the day she woke up from a very lucid dream that she couldn't shake and Twilight was born.
It was June 2, 2003 and Stephenie Meyer had just awoken from the image of a couple, one an average female human being, the other an absolutely gorgeous male with sparkling skin, a vampire. The twosome was lying in a meadow in a wooded area, discussing the extreme difficulty of their undeniable love for each other due to the vampire's lust for the scent of her blood and the instinct within him to kill her. Chapter 13 of Twilight is the closest transcript of that dream, according to Meyer. Stephenie was so moved by the dream that she didn't want to forget it, so she sat down at her computer and started writing the story of the couple from her dream simply calling them "he" and "she", pouring in as many of the details as she could remember. She quickly grew close to her characters and eventually they started becoming voices in her head, ideas flowing through her that even took a toll on her sleeping at night.
The Beginning of The Twilight Saga
Stephenie started from the scene in her dream, wrote out the end of the story from there, then went back and wrote the beginning until everything flowed together. Meanwhile, Meyer started searching for names for the characters and settings of her story. She found the name "Cullen" off of 17th Century tombstones in England, named Edward after romantic characters from Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen novels, came up with names for the other characters, and then she struggled to find a perfect fit for her leading lady. She tried on various names but nothing seemed to fit this girl's personality, so she gave her the name that she had been saving for the daughter she never had, Isabella. For some of the other characters she found inspiration closer to home with each of her sibling's names, Emily, Heidi, Paul, Seth, and Jacob, finding their way into the writing.
Stephenie needed a location that was known for being frequently rainy and she found it in the Olympic Peninsula. She Googled maps of the area and then focused on finding a rural, dense area when she stumbled across the tiny town of Forks, Washington. The images she saw from the Forks area only made her more giddy on how lucky of a finding she'd come across. In this same search, Meyer stumbled upon La Push and the Quileute tribe. Finding the tribe fascinating, she felt like she had to find a way to intertwine a few fictitious characters from this tribe into her story as well.
When Stephenie had finished writing Twilight, her big sister, Emily, encouraged her to send it off to some publishers. Meyer's younger sister, Heidi, also helped her out by suggesting a website for writers where she eventually stumbled across Writers House, the literary agency that referred her to Megan Tingley Books of Little, Brown, and Company. MT Books signed a deal with Stephenie Meyer and on October 5, 2005, Twilight was unleashed. Up to the point that MT signed Meyer, she had written 300 pages into a sequel, Forever Dawn, which ended up serving as a rough draft for Breaking Dawn in later years. The only problem was that her novel had unintentionally picked up a young adult audience and she realized that the themes in Forever Dawn, staged post Bella's high school years in a more mature point of the couple's relationship, were in fact going to be too grown up for the audience she'd drawn.
Meyer had written a number of epilogues once she finished the ending to Twilight, realizing she just wasn't ready to let go of Bella and Edward's story. With the deal signed, she began to mold a sequel more appropriate for the young adult audience, and that's when it hit her that Edward's character was going to leave, which is why she chose the title New Moon, referencing the darkest point in Bella's life, a night with no moon. Meyer actually had to put herself in Bella Swan's shoes and live through the pain that Bella would feel with Edward's absence, at times even writing through tears as real as any that Bella herself would have cried. With Edward gone, Jacob Black's character began to take on a frontal role that Meyer had not planned on when writing Twilight and she liked where it was going, so she went back during the editing of her first book and weaved Jacob and Billy more centrally into the story. The thing about Jacob that stuck with Stephenie was the life of his character and her favorite image from writing Twilight was the dream Bella had of him transforming into a wolf to protect her, although Meyer is adamant that she didn't plan on Jacob Black being a werewolf, it was just a subconscious way that Bella's mind articulated the situation of him protecting her.
The Big Screen
So with that visual image in mind from Twilight, Stephenie Meyer started seeing pieces falling in place like a puzzle. Jacob's "legends", the real-life Quileute legends, would be true and he would unfortunately suffer the downfall of that trait. Meanwhile, Twilight was receiving rave reviews, debuting at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List, being voted "Best Book of the Year" by Publishers Weekly, and being chosen as one of the top ten young adult books of the year by the American Literary Association. New Moon made its launch on August 21, 2006 rocketing to #1 Bestseller and holding that position for 31 weeks straight. With Twilight's explosion into the scene, Hollywood had taken notice with Summit Entertainment picking the rights up to transform the books, while Meyer hunkered down for book three.