About a year ago, I read The Twilight Saga, and it resembled something like crack (I’ll spare you the cheesy ‘brand of heroin reference.’ Oh, wait…). I read it…and then read it again…and then again. From the get go, I loved certain characters and others had to grow on me a bit, but as a whole, the Cullens took over a spot in my heart and mind. Say what you want about Steph’s writing or the choices she made with the plot of these four novels: the characters own a little bit of each of us. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be writing fanfic, or reading it, for that matter.
When I initially found fanfiction, I was blown away at the sheer volume of stories, but not surprised in the least to see that Bella was the focus of a huge percentage of them. Rose and Esme were rarely used, which I almost expected, but my then second favorite Cullen was not featured often either…and I was severely, severely disappointed. And when she was utilized…well…I’ll use some of my beloved HMonster04’s words, from her write up on Emmett:
“[He] is one of the most maligned characters in fan fic, second only to Alice the chirpy shopping obsessed pixie.”
Oh, fic Alice, what have we done to you?
I won’t even ask how many of you want to gouge your eyeballs out at the sight of the word “pixie” now. Believe me; I get it, although my all-time favorite descriptor for fic Alice is most definitely ”the caffeinated crack fairy shopaholic,” which I picked up from the lovely stolenxsanity.
Put simply, I am chagrined.
How on Earth have we taken a beloved character like Alice with so many admirable qualities and discounted her so? She’s gone
Despite the terrible injustices done to Alice, there are some fantastic characterizations out there, but let’s start with the one that initially pulled us in, shall we?
Canon Alice, Best Friend Extraordinaire:
(Who Just Happens to Care About What You’re Wearing and Live on the Blood of Animals)
Sigh. I can’t lie. I probably have a bit of a girl-crush on Canon Alice. She’s smart, witty, and affectionate. She’s there when you need her and always upbeat. Alice can tell you your future if you’ll only just make up your mind regarding what your next step will be. She’s honest and strong when you can’t be, and well…she’s got Jasper, and frankly, that’s some shit to be jealous of, right there. In short, she’s fabulous, and on top of all of that, she makes sure you don’t look like a bag lady when you go out in public. Oh yeah, and when she lets it out, she’s one ‘frightening little monster’ (Jasper Hale, Eclipse, page 396). Anyone remember that scene in Em’s Jeep in Twilight? Thought so.
For me, Alice always provided a sense of joy, of hope, in the Saga (which is why it killed me that she and Jazz were gone in Breaking Dawn), despite the fact that she remembers nothing of her human life. From the first time we hear tell of her and Jasper’s story, of how she met the Cullens, of how excited she was to foresee a future in which Bella was a vampire, one message emanates from her: love and patience. She waits for Jasper, knowing he would be her beloved. How many years did she sit through visions of Carlisle before she made her way home, finally? She waits in excited anticipation for the day that Bella can join her in immortality. Why? Because she loves her family and friends with fervor and knows that time passes, and if the end result is something wonderful, if waiting is a necessity, then so be it. This is a far cry from the lunatic versions of her we see so often in fic.
I asked the fabulous reader and reviewer Legna to provide her thoughts on canon Alice, and she provided the following (all of which I agree with, by the way):
Mandi1, author of “
You’ve Kept Me Waiting”, a pre-Twilight story that most have heard of (and is fabulously done), put it this way:
Although “Crack Fairy Alice” is the unfortunate norm these days, there are some memorable (and fantastic) Alice Characterizations out there. Here are a few:
Alice, the Catalyst
An excellent example of this, I think, is the Alice that so many of us have come to love in “
Tropic of Virgo” by
In.a.blue.bathrobe. She’s energetic and fun but, for me, one of the most important bits of her characterization is that Bella is, seemingly unknowingly, pulled into performing by her. Sure, Bella sings for a short period with Rosalie in her room. Bella knows that the band wants her to sing with them and that they think she’s incredible, yet she is nervous to perform in front of a large crowd. Alice is the member of the band who
Another example of a Catalyst Alice could be found in
Deconstructing Dracula.” There, Alice’s words make more of an impact later, but still, her effects are visible in the end.
Alice, the Voice of Reason
Whether it is Alice telling a slightly chauvinistic Jasper how it is in “
Left Holding the Bag” (yes, that’s my collaboration. Sue me.), Alice quietly stilling Jasper’s fears about his best friend dating her brother in “
Just One of the Guys,” or even breaking things down for Bella and Edward out of self-preservation in “
Mutually Assured Destruction,” Alice can often be counted on to tell it like it is.
Alice, Queen of Slash
Skin Deep” by
Isabel0329, we witness an Alice who falls madly in love with a very OOC Bella, only to find herself neck-deep in a toxic relationship. But unlike so many other women - not only in fic but fiction in general - Alice is strong, stands her ground, and leaves, knowing that both she and Bella deserve better, despite the difficulty of the situation. Even after this shift in their relationship, when she finds Bella in need, Alice steps up and saves the day. Of course this story is (way) out of canon. But this, in and of itself, is incredibly reminiscent of Canon Alice – strong, able, and unafraid – which is why I chose to mention the story here. The characterization is real, relates indirectly to canon, has depth and has you rooting not only for Alice but for her well-being from the very start.
I asked Isabel0329 what made her write the character this way and here’s what she had to say:
Again, I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s words.
FicDiving for Alice
Openhome, chronicles Alice’s story. Yes, there are a zillion Alice, Pre-Twilight fics out there, but this one is complete and well-written and caught my eye. It begins when she is thirteen, at which point her parents have her committed to the asylum in their town. The POV’s switch around a bit at the beginning, but it is canon and wonderfully done. Openhome’s writing makes you feel everything from Alice’s fear and loneliness in the face of her father’s disapproval to the longing she feels for an unnamed blond man who continues to appear in her mind’s eye.
My ficdive also uncovered an intriguing Alice/Jasper fic by
Feisty Y. Bedencalled “
In the Days of Auld Lang Syne: Fix You.” I dug a bit deeper and found that “In the Days of Auld Lang Syne” is a set of stories by a group of authors that all involve the same characters in different points of view but don’t necessarily have to be read in tandem.
Fix You,” told from Alice’s perspective, Alice has a dark past and meets Jasper at a New Year’s Eve Party. After her last minute costume change, they are conveniently dressed as Alice in Wonderland and The Mad Hatter. Aside from an introduction between the two of them that is 100% win, the voice that Feisty has given Alice is, at once, self-preserving, snarky, and entertaining. She is hiding something from everyone, and Jasper immediately seems different. His voice is confident and sweet, sexy and, as ever, the epitome of a Southern gentleman.
However, on top of a really enticing Jasper, from the get-go, this Alice flies in the face of the majority of the characterizations of her in fanfiction:
Fucking Rosalie. No, that wasn’t fair—I’d been excited about tonight’s fairy tale masquerade theme too. I loved dressing up; I loved pretending I was someone else and slipping into a different skin. I mean, didn’t I do that every day anyway? The party was an opportunity to put on a different face than the one I wore every day: happy, bubbly, perky, skippy, multitude-of -adjectives-ending-in-a-cutesy-diminutive-Y fucking Alice. Maybe I’d show them the real me, I’d thought. No one here knew that girl. Maybe it would be fun to imagine what my life would have been like, before… it would be safe to let her out because everyone would think she was just a character. I could be vulnerable and sad, and they’d all say, “That’s so Alice to be all fucking Stanislavski with her costume.” And no one would know.
Go read them! I know the authors would appreciate it.
We all have close friends. We talk to them every day, know everything about them, can probably predict how they’ll react to certain things. We know them, intrinsically. And though we love them dearly, it seems that when they fuck up…they fuck up big time. It’s all we can pay attention to, probably out of sheer disappointment.
Perhaps this is what’s going on with Alice. Perhaps we are so comfortable with her that we are magnifying flaws. Or perhaps the entire fandom is as upset as I was when she and Mr. Hale jumped ship in Breaking Dawn and, as a result, we’ve made her into the thing she has become. Whatever the reason, let’s backtrack, shall we?
Inundate Twilight Fic with kick ass Alice stories. I know you can. And I’ll beg if I have to.