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The beauty of writing fiction is that it is not real. You can create a world as similar to or as far from reality as you please. You can defy the laws of gravity and science and no one can tell you you are wrong. Or can they?
I have been following an interesting discussion on goodreads.com, where Twilight readers (I don’t think I can really call them all fans), have been discussing Stephanie Meyers’ approach to explaining how it was possible for Renesmee to be born. For those of you that have never read any of the Twilight books or seen any of the movies, Renesmee is a vampire/human hybrid born to Edward (a vampire) and Bella (his human wife). Despite what you might think, the discussion doesn’t focus on the idea that a vampire baby in general is impossible, but rather the inconsistencies in Meyers’ explanation of how Renesmee’s existence is even possible.
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The thread is particularly interesting to me, because I am writing a series where the main character is a single mother, who also happens to be a vampire. I was interested to find out the general opinion on vampires having the ability to procreate. My beta readers didn’t even seem to bat an eye at the idea and one reader even mentioned that they appreciated this factor. If there are readers that feel contrary, I’d like to hear their reasons why and see how those opinions compare to my work. Of course, you can’t please everyone, but why intentionally put people off if it can be avoided without changing the integrity of the story.
Why is this even an issue, you might ask. Well, it seems that the readers are having difficulty with the fact that Meyers tried to use real world science to explain how Renesmee came to be and in doing so, went against the “rules” of the world she had created. In the discussion thread, the readers express (in quite an entertaining fashion) how Meyers’ own rules contradict each other, making Renesmee’s existence impossible and hard to swallow. One particular participant, who goes by the name of Rel8tivity, wrote
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“If she had stuck with magic and some kind of vampire mojo that made babies, it would have been fine. But she started going into how many chromasomes a vampire had, so we’re stuck with Mendelian genetics, and she didn’t make it work in that regard. You can’t have it both ways.” When challenged by other participants, who stated that the story is a work of fiction and thereby the author has the right to do or say whatever she wants, Rel8tivity counters that the label of fiction or even fantasy, does not give the author a “blank check” to contradict their own rules whenever convenient.
While many people feel the discussion is examining the story far too deeply, it brings up a very valid point. When we create a world where
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the impossible is possible, is everything possible? A world without rules leads to chaos, so as an author, it is up to us to define what is possible and what is not. But when our own rules make a particular plot point impossible, do we have the right to defy those rules and force the reader to accept that this impossible thing, even by our own standards, is happening just because we say so, waving the flag of fiction as our free pass to do so?
When I began writing my series, I added the element of vampire children from the very beginning. I knew that this is something that would be questioned and offered an “explanation” of how it is possible. It’s funny, but prior to reading the goodreads thread, I worried that readers might find my “vampire mojo” explanation to be a cop out. Guess I can stop worrying about that now.