Lately, I’ve found myself doing a lot of accidental reading. I do not commonly consume any kind of fanfiction, nor do I concern myself with any of the actual text of Twilight (haven’t tried to read it in ages). But I read tropes when I’m stuck somewhere and don’t have the energy or time to find my place in a book.
That’s one of the places where I reach my accidental reading. I found some Twilight fanfiction that had the express purpose of making fun. The book bored me, I can relate.
But some of the people poking fun are even worse.
Before I get started though, I want to explain what I mean by my post title. An angry parody is, in my opinion, a parody that hints at a list of ills that the fan/anti-fan has with the original work. They are each addressed, often with a heavy hand. And a person who has an agenda or wishes to attack details in the original, is more likely to accomplish these petty goals than to write something interesting.
Unless the retelling or parody is inherently silly with no intention of doing anything but mocking. In these cases, you can get by with talent and a knack for humour. Even then, it can be a crap shoot. (my favourite is still TMPBITWW)
The (possibly famous) fic “If Bella Were Sane” starts out well, rather interesting if formatted quite poorly. It’s a short fanfic, so I suppose it’s too much to expect more than a brief snippet for an entire day’s fictional diary entry. And they did get longer.
They also got further away from the goal of “improving” the original story. Given the missive, “rewrite Twilight or otherwise retell the events as if Bella were not a manipulative sociopath,” I would think that some of the events would actually have to change.
Went to Port Angeles with some friends. It was going fine until Jessica and Angela somehow disappeared and four guys started following me.”
You can’t just nullify the reasons or thoughts behind an action and expect the original action to still make sense. It takes more work than, “um, I’m not a moron in this version, so that important story event just happened!”
Why can’t the Sane!Bella have argued with her friends? Teenagers do that. It doesn’t have to be a good reason to fight. She could have also stayed behind to pay for something and then gotten lost. It’s not that complicated. When you’re actually using the phrase, “somehow disappeared…” I don’t wish to finish that thought.
This same piece also seems completely unaware of the fact that Bella already knew Jacob before she moved to Forks. I didn’t even finish the book and I know that. Maybe it isn’t necessary to read a work you intend to parody, but if you get something like that wrong, people who are better acquainted with the original work will look down on you.
The other parody/rewrite I read is a little more illustrative of what I think made both of these fics fail to different degrees. Luminosity, dubbed a “re-imagining” is, sad to say, even more painfully boring than Twilight.
Its premise, rather than Bella simply being “sane”, is that Bella is introspective and self-examining. Unfortunately, the story is quite clearly a third party catechisation. It never sounds like a first person account, despite the use of the Almighty I. Her behaviour is being analysed and commented on by someone else using a blank character.
She is also still a Mary Sue in Luminosity. I gag whenever I read stories about a character who fills up notebook after notebook. You can’t even defend that it didn’t come from you, writing a character who is obsessed with writing.
I know it’s impossible to turn Twilight into a real story without giving Bella hobbies and interests, but writing does not lend itself well. Something that you can slip in without much upset would suit so much better. One of the few flashes of character I saw in what I managed to read was excitement over owning a vehicle, and I think she restores a motorcycle.
Having seen a rewrite that failed worse than the original, I feel a deeper appreciation for successful parodists, and even the original work in this case (did not think that would happen). It’s not easy.
And I’ve probably rambled on enough and annoyed someone or everyone. Time to wonder why the Garrett Files and the Dresden Files are like twins separated at birth.