I have a few very important announcments to make concerning the Lexicon. First of all, for those of you that visit the message boards, you may have noticed a few changes afoot. We’ve been cracking down on net speak and one word posts as well as spammers and it’s become too big of a job for two people to do. Thus, we have enlisted the help of a few moderators for various areas of the boards. You can read all about it in this thread.
Now, for an even bigger announcement. I feel a little like Mr. Darcy when I say that in vain I have struggled and it will not do. For the last few weeks – since just before I got my ARC of New Moon – I have been hiding a secret that I simply can’t keep under covers any longer. I think most of you know that Stephenie and I have grown to be friends though e-mails and phone calls. What you probably don’t know is how often those e-mails and phone calls happen. I get, on average, 2-3 e-mails from her a day and we talk on the phone 2-3 times a week. There is a very good reason for all of this correspondence, which I will now make public for the first time.
You see, somewhere in the writing of Lion and the Lamb, Stephenie got very frustrated at the fact that she could give me feedback, but I couldn’t give her any in return for Midnight Sun. In what I image to be a gesture of throwing her arms up in the air and saying, “Oh, to heck with it,” she started sending me portions of Midnight Sun to look at and gasp at and totally growl in disgust at my own inability to truly capture Edward’s inner character. I treated these bits of text with great respect, but I responded to them the way I would any piece of fiction sent to me for a beta read. I turned on my “track changes” option and started commenting on the various things I liked and the few – VERY FEW – things I didn’t.
Little did I know that what I was sending Stephenie was something that she craved – the thoughts and opinions of an adult who cherished these characters almost as much as she does, and who has some semblance of what it takes to make a story work. In between the squeals of delight, the ohhhhs and ahhhs, and the gasps of surprise, I found myself making comments on the subtext or missing moments or general things that still had me confused. I had no idea that Stephenie was taking those comments – all of them – even the ones of great praise – to heart so deeply that she would make me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
About the time I received my ARC of New Moon, Stephenie told me that she had a very daunting task in front of her that had her rather stressed. She was facing having to rewrite Eclipse for what would essentially be the third time, which, to my understanding, was a very troubling task for her. She had mentioned on the phone how there were issues with the ending and things she needed to add in here and there and how she was having trouble keeping things straight in her head and just knowing which way to go in some cases. She told me that what she really needed was someone she could trust with her story – someone she could tell it to and get the feedback she needed. Someone who would listen to her whining and fussing and help her work through the big decisions she was facing. Someone…like me.
Now please, don’t start thinking that I’m here to simply brag about my own abilities. I have been totally humbled by the whole experience so many times, I can’t even begin to count! I don’t consider myself a great writer by any means. But I think in this case I was the first person that Stephenie came to meet who had tapped into something in her stories and understood them on a different level. Stephenie and I have so many things in common – our age…families…religion. We’ve clicked in more ways than just a love of Edward. For all these reasons and more, she asked for my help.
In plain English – what all of this lead to is me officially helping Stephenie with Eclipse. My official title is “editorial assistant”, but that sounds much more important than it really is. What I do is this – Stephenie writes something, I read it and make comments as I would normally make when beta reading. I send it back to Stephenie and she takes the comments I make and either uses them or ignores them.
An even simpler way to describe it is to say that I’ve pretty much read everything Stephenie has written that pertains to the Twilight universe. I have read all of Midnight Sun as far as she has written it – which stops somewhere in Port Angeles. I have read all of New Moon – obviously – as well as some out takes from the first draft of New Moon. I read the entire first draft of Eclipse, which is now being reworked. I have read Forever Dawn because the plot covers events that happen in Eclipse and book four. I have even read a few bits and pieces of what will potentially be books five and six. Someone at MySpace asked a while ago as a joke not knowing the real answer – “Alphie, what of Stephenie’s stuff haven’t you read?” Well, to be honest, I haven’t read The Host, but I know some of the plot and she should be sending it to me in a few weeks.
What does this mean for the Lexicon and for Lion and the Lamb? Well…that’s tricky. For the Lexicon itself, I have no worries. The only things posted on the official Lexicon are things that Stephenie has allowed. It’s in the message boards where I have difficulty. I’ve stayed silent so that I could keep commenting and writing as just as a fan rather than as someone “in the know.” But in recent weeks I’ve found it more and more impossible to do just that. I’ve been dragging up my old thoughts and feelings and idea that I had before I had read all of these wonderful stories in order to post honestly. Everything you have read from me in recent weeks has been based on those old ideas and thoughts. I have been BEYOND careful not to spoil anything or let a plot line slip. Many times I have been in the middle of writing a post and found it too difficult to continue. There are so many things I want to comment on and I simply can’t because I know too much.
As for Lion and the Lamb…well that’s been much easier than I thought it would be. You see, Lion and the Lamb doesn’t have anything to do with the plot of New Moon or Eclipse. The only “spoilers” I risk letting out are things to do with other characters that haven’t been introduced yet. For example – the Denali coven. I’ve read all about them. I’ve “met” them, so to speak. I could write about them, but I have chosen not to for fear of spoiling anything. But as for the actual plot of my own fan fiction, I’ve strayed so far from the real deal that there is no way I could truly ruin Midnight Sun at this point. So it is my intention to keep writing Lion and the Lamb with the understanding that I know I am wrong, but I am going to portray “wrong” in the most believable way I can. However, I’ve been so busy helping with Eclipse that I haven’t had time to write much of my own. I will update again, but it might be a few weeks.
Believe me when I say that I am truly humbled by this experience. From the attention my fan fic has received, to the popularity of the Lexicon, right down to the fact that I am helping to work on a piece of fiction that will soon be in the hands of millions of fans. It’s a little dumbfounding and sometimes over whelming. I don’t want anyone to start thinking of me differently. I’m the same Alphie who fell in love with the same book that you all did. God – for I do believe God had a hand in all of this – has just placed certain opportunities in my path that six months ago I wouldn’t have even dared believe. It’s been an awesome experience all around. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and I’m very grateful for my new friendship with an awesome person like Stephenie.
Lastly, please do not ask me for any information about the future of the books. I know – I KNOW what you are feeling because I was right there with you all. But the thing is, I signed a nondisclosure agreement, and under this contract I can’t divulge any upcoming storylines, new characters, anything that Stephenie does not allow me to reveal. Simply, I intend to uphold this position of trust.
So, to sum it all up, you’ll still see me around the Lexicon and a few other sites, but I won’t be posting as much as I used to. All I can do is assure you all that you will LOVE what’s coming up! I PROMISE as a fan that the books will be well worth the wait.
I have posted this same message on the message boards. Feel free to comment on it over there.