It’s happened before. In fact, it happened to J.K. Rowling a couple of days before the release of Book Seven in Harry Potter–someone posted the entire manuscript illegally on the Internet.
But this time around it’s a bit more painful for the author. The author is Stephenie Meyer, and the manuscript that was leaked is an unfinished draft (unedited, unrevised) of “Midnight Sun,” the novel we “Twilight Series” and Stephenie Meyer fans have long known she’s been writing in her hours of procrastinating revisions of “New Moon,” “Eclipse,” and “Breaking Dawn.”
“Midnight Sun” is basically “Twilight” told from Edward’s perspective. Several years ago Stephenie Meyer released the first chapter of “Midnight Sun” for fans online. But that was it. (Of course, I eagerly read it.)
Someone who had a partial draft of “Midnight Sun”– Meyer has often hinted she would finish and likely publish as a fifth book associated with the “Twilight Series“–was released illegally online last week (I refuse to link to it). ALL 264 PAGES OF IT!
How do I know it’s 264 pages if I refuse to link to the leaked draft? Well, because Meyer released a statement on her website to fans–and then decided to post a LEGAL link to the unfinished draft herself for fans to read. Meyer commented on her heartbreak about the leak in the following statement:
“I did not want my readers to experience Midnight Sun before it was completed, edited and published. I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being. …This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control. So where does this leave Midnight Sun? My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn’t like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything. If I tried to write Midnight Sun now, in my current frame of mind, James would probably win and all the Cullens would die, which wouldn’t dovetail too well with the original story. In any case, I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight Sun, and so it is on hold indefinitely. I’d rather my fans not read this [leaked] version of Midnight Sun…It has taken me a while to decide how and if I could respond. But to end the confusion, I’ve decided to make the draft available here (at the end of this post). This way, my readers don’t have to feel they have to make a sacrifice to stay honest. I hope this fragment gives you further insight into Edward’s head and adds a new dimension to the Twilight story. That’s what inspired me to write it in the first place.”
As a writer myself, I can imagine the utter horror and heartbreak for Meyer to experience this violation of rights and privacy. I can also understand why she would want to put “Midnight Sun” aside indefinitely after this–though it breaks my heart to see her say this, since all throughout the writing of the Twilight Series she’s talked about how much joy she has found writing “Midnight Sun” in between the other books. How sad to have this happen!
The new dilemma Twilight fans face: to read or not read the version Meyer released online for us? Though I admit, I am dying to read “Midnight Sun,” however unfinished it may be, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt about doing so, even with her blessing.
What do you think about this situation? Will you read “Midnight Sun” Or do you think it is wrong to do so? Should we read something that Stephenie Meyer was pushed into releasing only as a last resort? I can’t decide….and I’d love to know what other fans think and what advice they have.