For other uses, see Twilight (disambiguation).
|Date(s):||2005-2008 (books), 2008-2012 (movies)|
|Country of Origin:||US|
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Twilight is a series of four novels by Stephenie Meyer, named after the first book in the series, focusing on the relationship between Bella Swan, a sixteen-year-old human girl, and Edward Cullen, a centenarian vampire who appears to be a teenager.
Twilight fandom is notable for having attracted many first time (and feral) fans. The outside perception, e.g. in the media, is that its demographic consists solely of teen fangirls and middle aged women who identify themselves as "Twimoms."
While Twilight and its fans are the focus of a lot of mockery, thefourthvine talks about her happiness at seeing young women being openly and publicly fannish:
And, you guys, it was so awesome. Because I cannot remember the last time that I saw a lineup like that, of pretty much all fangirls, all young, all just - being fans, out there in public, like they had a total right to do it. Usually that is a privilege reserved for teenaged and twenty-something boys and sports fans! And they were so cute, all happy and waiting to see their own true love. (Which, admittedly, is not one I know much about; I know that Edward is a sparkly vampire, Bella is a clumsy mortal, and Jacob is a werewolf. I mean, Jacob doesn't even get an adjective, that's how little I know about Twilight.) And wearing their t-shirts proclaiming their allegiance to Jacob or Edward. (I guess there is no Team Bella? Or is that not how that works?) I kind of felt like I had found my people, even though there was no one wearing a t-shirt reading TEAM EDWARD DOES JACOB, which is, let's be honest, probably what my actual people would be wearing. 
Twilight: The Movie
Soon after its opening, the movie adaptation of Twilight was seen as a step forward for female fans and moviegoers, in terms of being recognized as a valuable, desirable demographic by TPTB.
The Twilight movie had been expected to gather between $35 million and $60 million for its opening weekend, but actually made $70.6 million. (For comparison, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace came in at second place that weekend, making $27.4 million, although to be fair, it was not QoS' opening weekend.) It was the biggest opening day gross ever for a non-sequel and non-summer movie.  The success of the Twilight film was seen as an astonishing breakthrough for a movie based on a book by a female author, with a female main character, aimed primarily at an audience of teenage girls, with a female director (Catherine Hardwicke) and screenwriter (Melissa Rosenberg).
- "Teen girls rule the earth," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. "If you look back at the 'Hannah Montana' movie, how well that did, and now this movie, the teen girl audience will never be ignored again or underestimated. It was always teen boys who were the coveted ones, but someone finally caught on to the idea that girls love movies, too, and if you create something that they're into, that they're passionate about, they will come out in big numbers and drive the box office." 
Although some fans were pleased by this, seeing it as a step forward,  others wished that this success could have been achieved by a good movie, or at least a movie where the female protagonist has goals besides making a guy fall in love with her. [citation needed, but I know I saw an entry like this somewhere on friendsfriends]
Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined
In 2015, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the publication of the first Twilight novel, Stephenie Meyer released Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined: a rewritten version of Twilight with the gender roles reversed. Bella Swan was reborn as Beau Swan, while Edward Cullen became Edythe Cullen.
Meyer stated that she wrote the book in order to address criticisms made of the original series that Bella Swan was portrayed as too weak and in need of constant rescuing, adding that:
I’ve always maintained that it would have made no difference if the human were male and the vampire female - it’s still the same story. Gender and species aside, Twilight has always been a story about the magic and obsession and frenzy of first love.
Fan and critical reaction to the book was mixed, with Mashable's Aliza Weinberger writing that Life and Death "achieved something I never thought possible ... I was finally able to enjoy Twilight again." and Bustle's Emma Oulton writing that "The release of Life and Death has started a massive conversation about gender roles in our culture — and this kind of discussion can only ever be a good thing."
However, other publications slammed the rewrite, including Jezebel, in an article entitled Stephenie Meyer Is Not Your Friend and You Shouldn't Buy Her Dumb New Gender-Swapped Twilight. Many fans also expressed disappointment over the lack of new writing in the book (which was largely word-for-word the same as the original Twilight, with name, pronoun and minor wording changes) and commented that the gender swap made the novel lose a lot of what made the original romance work. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon.com:
I think a big part of the appeal of the Twilight series was a self-professed "ordinary" girl getting the gorgeous, unattainable guy who was totally into her and her alone - and having another gorgeous werewolf also in love with her. Since the readership of Twilight was predominantly female, the average reader was able to project herself onto the more or less blank canvas of Bella and put herself into the story as the ordinary girl who gets the extraordinary guy. Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner being cast as the two male leads didn't hurt, either.Now we have a gorgeous female vampire in love with a totally ordinary guy and....yawn. Who needs more descriptions of gorgeous, perfect women? You can open up any fashion magazine or Hollywood tabloid and read about them. There is no way for the average Twilight reader to put herself into this story - especially since "Beau" is a totally unappealing character and "Edythe" is just making me picture Rob Pattinson in drag.
Due to the prevalence of gender swapping as a fanfiction trope and the derivative nature of the new Twilight novel, many fans and commentators referred to Life and Death as Stephenie Meyer "writing fanfiction of her own novel". Others theorised that this may have been Stephenie Meyer taking aim at E.L. James, an author whose Twilight fanfiction, 'Master of the Universe', became the phenomenally successful novel Fifty Shades of Grey.
In 2020, Meyer released “Midnight Sun”, another rewritten “Twilight”, this time written from Edward’s perspective instead of Bella’s. The book had been originally drafted in 2008, but Meyer had postponed publishing it indefinitely after a draft had been leaked online.  Briefly, Meyer put the leaked chapter up for free on her website so that "readers don't have to feel they have to make a sacrifice to stay honest." It was only after 12 years that she finished writing and published the novel in full.
Meyer describes it as a writing exercise that developed into a full project, and notes that she found being constrained to a prewritten script of events to be harder to write as the project continued, which contributed to the book’s delayed release.
At the very beginning, writing from Edward’s point of view was just a fun exercise. I was struck one day with how boring the experience of Bella’s first day of school was compared to what Edward’s experience had been. She’d just gone to a new school and seen a really pretty boy who wasn’t nice to her. Edward had his whole life destroyed and very nearly committed a mass murder. So I wrote that first chapter from his side, and yes, it was much more exciting. It was so thrilling to write, too! I put that chapter up on my website because I thought the readers would get a kick out of it. And because it was fun, I kept going with the project. (Fun is my primary motivation.) As the story progressed, though, it got harder and less fun. That really slowed me down. [...] It’s hard to describe how frustrating it is to write a very long book where you can’t create anything new, where everything is already scripted for you and you have no ability to go off that script. When I write, I’m fueled by creation. That’s what pulls me in and pushes me forward. And there wasn’t very much creation in this book. 
The Twilight series seems to have generated almost as much mockery or hate as it has enthusiasm. For example, Cleolinda's humorous reviews of the books have become very popular, as have the sparkleful accounts of Stoney321.
Some of the actors in the film have also expressed scepticism, over both the quality of the books, and the enthusiasm of their fans .
Anti-Fandom LJ Communities
In addition to the "for the lulz" brand of anti-fandom, there has also been quite a bit of critical discussion by genuine fans of the books. For example, the LJ community twilight_ndnz was created as "a place for native fans -- urban or rez, full- or part-blood, Traditional or not -- to talk about what we like about Meyer's handling of her native characters, but also what we don't like." 
The main canonical ship Edward/Bella is the most popular pairing in fandom as well, e.g. the LJ community Lion & Lamb has over 10,700 members as of November 2008 and over 17,800 as of June 2010. The Jacob/Bella pairing was also highly popular, and there is fan activity for a wide variety of pairings and characters, both major and minor, canonical and not.
Fanfiction.net is a popular archive choice for Twilight fans. In November 2008 there were over 45,600 stories archived.. By January 2010 there were over 125,000, making it the third largest fandom on the site (after Harry Potter and Naruto) . By June 2010 there were over 150,000 Twilight stories on ff.net. However there are a couple of archives using eFiction as well.
Twilight authors almost exclusively ignored Fanfiction.net's TOS regarding explicit, or MA rated fiction. Bouts of explicit stories reported and pulled from the website was often met with confusion and wank. Some authors began archiving their explicit fic on private websites, blogs, or livejournal, but a mass exodus never occurred.
Some twific authors archived on livejournal from the very beginning. These fans tended to be those who had experience in other fandoms prior to Twilight.
The majority of Twilight fanfiction is written in first person point of view, likely because the source is also first person. Many fics alternate the POV, changing character chapter by chapter or even scene by scene. Sometimes entire chapters or stories are rewritten in another characters POV.In Twilight fandom, fan writers pulling their fanfiction off the Internet, lightly filing off the serial numbers and then making it available for sale to their fans through micropresses is apparently quite common, which can lead to antagonistic attitudes around sharing deleted fanworks:
"Twilight is almost completely feral--I think at one point we figured out that over 65% of the fandom has never even read in another fandom, much less written/participated in one. Very few members archive at A03, use livejournal, or know about the OTW. And consummate with that, people have created this entire genre of OOC fics that are not at all in the Twilight universe--basically, romance novels.
This genre has led to three epublishing micropresses to spring up for the purpose of republishing these fanworks with the names and locations changed. (Each of these presses is owned and operated by people from the fandom, with the biggest coming from our biggest archive.)
So what we've created in our neck of the woods are people using their fanwork to gain a huge audience, then removing the fanwork, filing it, publishing it, and sending cease and desist letters if the fanwork is shared. (The published works are then marketed back to the fandom via author profiles and banner ads on the archives.) Naturally, this created an angry backlash from readers--there's a google site now where nearly every popular fanfiction is saved in PDF. No one is confused about the purposes of that archive--it exists only to spite the authors and to essentially prevent them from taking their stories away.
[...] the CULTURE has become that fanwork is not created for any sort of archival purpose. Most popular fanfics in our fandom are removed from the internet within a few months of finishing. This has meant that readers save the fics as their default, and that they don't read stories in-progress because they're afraid they will be taken down. Because it hasn't become an issue of editing for publication or a chance of publication--if the fic is popular, it will be accepted, even recruited, by one of these micropresses--taking them down is the norm instead of having them available.
Plus, anyone who takes her fics down for personal reasons ends up publicly crucified, which, IMO is a direct result of those who've removed their stories in order to sell them back to the fandom. No one trusts anyone to be telling the truth any longer.
[...] The Twilight fandom, as far as I'm concerned, is locked in a spiral where pulling begets reposting which begets more pulling and that whole situation just leaves authors and readers at each other's throats with pitchforks."
Twilight fandom produces a variety of fanart. Traditional drawings in both realistic and comic/manga styles are popular, and the movie release added sources for photomanips and icons. Many Twilight artists archive their works on deviantART, and founded groups there.
Outside of deviantART the most visible form of fanart is photomanipulated banners that serve as cover art for fic. On some forums and blogs 'blinkies' (animated gifs) advertising fics and websites are popular. Many fans find blinkies annoying.
twificpics.com (domain no longer registered), run by ms. ambrosia, was a popular forum for photomanip artists until 2012 when many fans began drifting into other fandoms. The forum is now multi-fandom and located at ficpics.com.
Much of the interaction among readers and writers of Twilight fanfiction occurred on Twitter, or forums such as Twilighted and A Different Forest. Contests were popular (usually run directly on fanfiction.net), also award websites, and rec blogs.
Livejournal communities were plentiful, however many fans stuck to one or the other. Attitudes toward pairings, and AU or AH fic, differed greatly between those who hung out on Livejournal and those who hung out on Twitter and posted on FFn.
- My Own Twilight (now defunct)
- Twilight @ ff.net
- Twilight Archives (Fanfic and Fanart)
- Twilight Fan Fiction: exclusive archive
- Everglow (Edward/Bella Fanfic Archive)
- A World Beyond: Twilight AU fanfiction, invite only.
- Twilight fanworks @ AO3
- Twilight podfic @ Audiofic Archive
- The Twilighters Are Mad, And They're Not Going To Take Our Crap Anymore, Archived version, Hortense Smith (2009)
- That Girl: Bella, Buffy, and the FeministEthics of Choice in Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Catherine Coker, for Slayage (2009?)
- Fifty Shades of Grey: The Reddit Origins Essay (2014)
- Fifty Shades of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Less Wrong, Archived version (2014)
- Fan Phenomena: The Twilight Saga, edited by Laurena Aker (2016)
- WE LOVE YOU, EDWARD (Accessed June 30, 2010)
- Verrier, Richard. 'Twilight' leaves its box-office mark. Los Angeles Times, November 24, 2008. (Accessed 24 November 2008)
- Wikipedia, Twilight (2008 film) Box office Accessed November 23, 2008.
- Associated Press article, 'Twilight' takes $70.6M bite out of box office Accessed November 23, 2008.
- Claudiagray, Teen girls rule the earth Posted November 23, 2008. Accessed November 23, 2008.
- Stephenie Meyer swaps genders of lovers in new Twilight novel, The Guardian, published October 6, 2015 (Accessed August 20, 2017).
- We read the gender-swapped "Twilight" so you don't have to, Mashable, published October 8, 2015 (Accessed August 20, 2017).
- 6 Things The Gender-Swapped Twilight Book Teaches Us About Sexism, Bustle, published October 16, 2015 (Accessed August 20, 2017).
- Customer Review: 'Meh', Amazon.com, published October 8, 2015 (Accessed August 20, 2015).
- Tweet by @forthereading, Twitter, published October 6, 2015 (Accessed August 20, 2017).
- by Jenny Trout, Twitter, published October 6, 2015 (Accessed August 20, 2017).
- Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight retelling Midnight Sun comes out after 12 years, The Guardian, published August 4, 2020 (Accessed March 18, 2021).
- Stephenie Meyer. Midnight Sun: Edward's Version of Twilight (Accessed 24 November 2008)
- Frequently asked questions: Midnight Sun, Stephanie Meyer (Accesses March 18, 2021)
- Cleolinda's First Twilight Review
- Stoney321's review
- Cleolinda's gathered interviews
- twlight_ndnz community info, (Accessed 24 November 2008)
- Lion & Lamb Community Info (Accessed 24 November 2008)
- For a metafic parody account of shipwars and high-running passions in Twilight fandom, see Supernatural RPF/Twilight crossover slash crackfic Live Free or Twihard by poor_choices.
- Twilight category on ff.net (Accessed 24 November 2008)
- Twilight category on ff.net (Accessed 6 January 2010)
- From a comment by giselle_lx about fic-deletion practices in Twilight fandom, 18 Apr 2011. (Accessed 1 Jan 2012)
- British Erotica Series Catches Hollywood's Eye, Publishers Weekly.com, 9 Jan 2012. (Accessed 10 Jan 2012)
- More information and fans' reactions in Twilight Fanfiction "Master of the Universe" to become a movie thread at Fail-Fandomanon (Accessed 10 Jan 2012)
- Twilighters-Forever deviantART group (Accessed 24 November 2008)
- Twilight-fan-club deviantART group (Accessed 24 November 2008)