As you all know I recently read Twilight. And as most of you Twilight readers probably know, the first book has the first three chapters of New Moon at the very end. So, that was able to hold me over until I could run to the book store to pick up the next book. Last night, I was finally able to buy New Moon and was very excited to begin reading when a thought occurred to me... (but please do NOT read on if you do not want the ending spoiled for you...)
I thought... Hey wait a minute! Bella didn't save herself in Twilight!!! True, she stood up to the antagonist of the book, but ultimately it was Edward and the others who save her and kill the Tracker.
This goes against EVERYTHING we are taught. We are told our MC must battle the antagonist him/herself. The MC must conquer the antagonist (or not -- a novela noir). No adults are supposed to help, and this is true from PB all the way up to YA.
JK Rowling broke a lot of rules but mostly about page count and she wasn't afraid to show a very evil antagonist in a MG novel or to show a child hero fighting. Obviously, by the end, Harry was a YA and was intended for a YA audience. But, her rule breaking, I feel, was for the betterment of children's literature.
However, to write that your MC does not win the battle scene from her own wit and cunning, I am not sure how I feel about this. Bella does, on her own, go with the intention of fighting, even if that means ultimately her death. She does fight as hard as she can, but in the end, fails and needs to, unknowingly, rely on the others to save her. Plus, SM doesn't even show us that battle scene.
Is this how she makes it OK? We see Bella's intention to battle the Tracker and even though she loses, as we are reading it, we still felt satiated for some reason. Maybe it is because we never see how the others fight and win. If we did, it would become their battle scene. Is this how she got away with breaking this rule and leaving us almost unaware that her MC didn't fight the ultimate battle scene... because it was never shown. Even Bella (written in first person...) doesn't know the battle scene, which is why we cannot know the true battle scene.
This reminds me of what my screenwriting teacher used to say... Know the rules, so you can break them. I guess this is exactly what SM did. We can all argue that eventually, if Edward and the others always save Bella, this will become a glorified fairy tale with a fair maiden waiting to be saved by her man, but as you know... I am way behind all of you and have not yet read past chapter 4 of New Moon - so please do not give too much away...
What do you think about this? Why were we still satisfied at the end? What do you think about breaking rules? Do you think you are doing that in your WIP? And what is the difference between us doing it and hearing at every SCBWI event that we can't break those rules and yet here are these two great writers who not only did, but are laughing all the way to the bank? Please share your thoughts about this, I really want to hear what you have to say...