The story behind twilight
The Twilight Series, Book 1 | Release Date: October 5, 2005 | Buy the book
The Story Behind Twilight
I get a ton of questions about how I came up with the story of Twilight and how I got it published. I may be killing my FAQ page by doing this, but here is the whole story:
(Warning: there are Twilight spoilers contained in the following; if you don't want to ruin the suspense, stop reading…..now. Warning #2: As you might have guessed from the length of my book, I can't tell a short story — this is going to take a while. You have been warned.)
The Writing: I know the exact date that I began writing Twilight, because it was also the first day of swim lessons for my kids. So I can say with certainty that it all started on June 2, 2003. Up to this point, I had not written anything besides a few chapters (of other stories) that I never got very far on, and nothing at all since the birth of my first son, six years earlier.
I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately. For what is essentially a transcript of my dream, please see Chapter 13 ("Confessions") of the book.
Though I had a million things to do (i.e. making breakfast for hungry children, dressing and changing the diapers of said children, finding the swimsuits that no one ever puts away in the right place, etc.), I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple's story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description. (Also, the vampire was just so darned good-looking, that I didn't want to lose the mental image.) Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write — something I hadn't done in so long that I wondered why I was bothering. But I didn't want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters "he" and "she."
From that point on, not one day passed that I did not write something. On bad days, I would only type out a page or two; on good days, I would finish a chapter and then some. I mostly wrote at night, after the kids were asleep so that I could concentrate for longer than five minutes without being interrupted. I started from the scene in the meadow and wrote through to the end. Then I went back to the beginning and wrote until the pieces matched up. I drove the "golden spike" that connected them in late August, three months later.
It took me a while to find names for my anonymous duo. For my vampire (who I was in love with from day one) I decided to use a name that had once been considered romantic, but had fallen out of popularity for decades. Charlotte Bronte's Mr. Rochester and Jane Austen's Mr. Ferrars were the characters that led me to the name Edward. I tried it on for size, and found that it fit well. My female lead was harder. Nothing I named her seemed just right. After spending so much time with her, I loved her like a daughter, and no name was good enough.