When Christine and I sat down to write this character exploration, we found it could be summed up in the following conversation:
Caitlin:I still haven't found a single Jared story that I like
are you only looking at Jared and Kim stories?
you know how I feel about couples and the canon-ness of them
Caitlin:its just that they're all the same
Jared's the jerk who never noticed her, Kim is basically Bella or a Mary Sue
and then he has to win her over after he's imprinted
there's never any plot or story
PLEASE write that
Caitlin:in the article?
Christine:we'll get an awesome response back because that's pretty much what I'm going to say about Paul
I love it
Christine:I think our article could be summed up into "Read all of Alice Laughed's Quil stuff and someone write a good Jared or Paul canon story with an actual PLOT!"
lets post that
I like it
:brushes hands together:
well, that was easy
Caitlin:we should push the button
Christine:the red button?
Caitlin:yeah, the easy button
Caitlin:maybe I'll start looking around for some more Quil stuff
really though, I want JARED
good JARED fic
Chrisine:have you tried livejournal?
Caitlin:no, I suck at finding fic on LJ
we should hunt down Claire and see if there's a good pack community to scope out for fic recommendations
Caitlin:I think there is.....
Caitlin:there's only one Jared fic
Christine:apparently I'm a member of this community
and didn't know it
you're so crassssy
....that works better when actually talking
Caitlin:either way, I said "crazy" oddly
(as seen by Caitlin)
He is still in high school but is probably older than Jacob, as he was the first one to transform after Sam. Jared is one of the wolves Bella sees cliff jumping near the beginning of New Moon.
And he is one of five wolves to imprint. (That we know of.)
The only time we see Jared and Kim together in canon is in chapter 11 of Eclipse. They are at the bonfire where Bella first hears the story that makes her freak out with a rock at the end. And it is the descriptions here that I believe fuel my interest in this character.
Bella goes on to describe how through watching Jared look at Kim she sees Kim differently. There is something very powerful in that.
Imprinting is such an interesting subject, one that I feel we have not delved deep enough into in fanfic. A lot of the Jared fic out there write him as not even knowing Kim's name before imprinting on her (the impossibility of this in such a small school is never addressed) but once he does, she is his everything.
I have tried reading probably around twenty Jared and Kim fics this week alone. And I'm never able to get further then the second chapter. Most of these fics are written from Kim's point of view, and she is basically Bella. Quiet, shy, smart - but not a genius, with a normal family. And, of course, she's been in love with Jared since kindergarten, or whenever, but has never spoken to him. And then he imprints and follows her around, and that's about when I give up.
It strikes me as unrealistic that Jared would give in that easily. He doesn't even know this girl. Never looked at her before in his life.
And I have yet to read a fic where the writer really captured the depth of imprinting. My feelings on the rest of Breaking Dawn aside, I loved seeing Jacob imprint. I loved the first person perspective on it. The way everything shifted, and reality was different. And he was tied to her, anchored to her, in a completely unhealthy way.
A fic that comes close to inspiring that same "wow" feeling in me is
Jared and the Sociopath He Imprinted Onby yay4shanghai
I couldn’t move and I was frozen in an awkward position, my mouth now half open in a stupid grin. I half stood/half sat, gaping at the world’s most beautiful, most perfect, amazing, important girl.
I felt like laughing at myself, how could I ever even imagine destroying her, she was everything; she was perfection, if she were gone—the world would have no axis to rotate on.
Kim turned away, and the loss of eye contact was hurting me. I coughed beside her, trying desperately to grab her attention again. My chest hurt more and I needed to see her face before I exploded.
The Kim in this story is a little too abrasive for me (I know, I'm the most picky reader that ever existed) but she isn't Bella, and she isn't a Mary Sue.
A lot of the fic I read with Jared imprinting doesn't show his point of view at all, and all we see is the Kim basically getting herself a very loyal puppy dog. There's no complications on his side.
I want some complications. He's a teenage boy, the second one to transform. He wouldn't have a pack, or a family yet. Just a leader, an alpha, who is in his head all the time and who he is physically unable to say no to.
Then he goes to school and is irrevocably tied to a girl he didn't even know previously.
His life has got to suck for awhile.
We know that Stephanie loves to give her characters happy endings, and that holds true for Jared as well, but we never did see his story. Just his ending. I want to see his story.
(as seen by Christine)
- Same age as Jacob
- Little bit of a temper
- Turned wolfy around the same time as Jared
- Imprinted on Rachel Black
You're probably thinking to yourself, "And you expect me to create a character out of this?!"
After reading every single summary that involved Paul in some way (all 350 of them) and clicking on more than half of them, I found only three stories that follow canon enough that I can get behind them -- that means a younger Paul imprints on an older Rachel. He doesn’t imprint on an OC or Bella, and definitely not on Leah. (And yes, I only used Fanfiction.net because guess who’s not listed as characters on Twilighted.net? That’s right, Paul AND Rachel. *facepalm*)
The reason I dismissed many OC stories out right is because I wanted to see how authors took the relationship between two largely uncharacterized people and created a story out of it. Not just with their imprinting, but with the other issues that arise from them being together.
Rachel is a year or so older than Bella, which makes her three/four years older than Paul. Basically, Paul’s jailbait and damn if that doesn’t make this a great story already. Then there’s the problem between Paul and Jacob. They antagonize each other, which makes them natural adversaries and adds unneeded tension to Rachel’s involvement with Paul.
Dreaming in Black and White, author of
‘When Lightning Strikes’
These two boys – who are, despite a common misconception, the same age – don't like each other for whatever reason. You probably have a Paul to your Jake; the person you do not get along with, and whom you refuse to see any good in whatsoever out of sheer obstinacy. Consequently, the view we're left of him from the books is one of a violent, lazy hot-head – but that's just how Jake sees him. Paul could in actuality be one of the nicest people you ever meet, but with a short fuse and an intense dislike of Jacob Black. I'm not saying he is, but...the thought's there.
Clichesbullet, author of
‘Bada Bing, Bada Boom’
Actually, taking himself way too seriously is the problem that causes Paul to explode (literally) so much. All the other boys are laughing and making jokes about it but (even though he plays too and all that) you can tell he's quite aware of his mission. When Jake leaves the pack, he's very worried about warning Rachel and Billy. I know Paul doesn't seem like the type but I'm pretty sure he's the most mature of the pack along with Sam and Jared. Weird, huh?
Don’t you see? The boy’s just misunderstood and needs someone to take him by the hand and show the rest of us how great and “mature” he can be. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*
Which brings me to my recs:
‘When Lightning Strikes’is the story that started my Paul love. Dreaming in Black and White does a great job of sticking with canon and showing Paul and Rachel’s relationship develop in between everything that’s going on around them. What I really like about it is its cuteness. Rachel and Paul are just cute together, and since I love the fluff, this is one of my favorites to read.
‘Bada Bing, Bada Boom’is a lot more random. It’s not as spot-on canon, but it’s pretty funny in its own right. Apparently Rachel used to terrorize Paul when they were younger and now he’s afraid of her. He imprints on her, which leads to him fighting it because he doesn’t want to be imprinted on the spawn of Satan. Plus she keeps calling him ‘Pauline’. Not exactly the best way to start a relationship with your soul mate, but then again, nobody’s relationship is perfect.
And last there’s
‘Smart Girl: The Rachel Black Autobiography’by addisonj, which was submitted for the Love for the Unloved Contest. It’s just a one-shot, but to me it says a lot about Rachel and the sacrifices she had to make to stay in La Push with Paul. It’s not completely canon, which the author admits in her a/n, because in BD we learn that Rachel graduated early from Washington State but here she still has a year of school left. If you’re willing to overlook that one fact, it’s a great characterization of the girl behind the guy, which to me is like seeing the other half of the puzzle.
To sum up, Paul is virtually an unknown character. With just a little thought into him, however, he could become the next great fanfic fling. I mean, have you seen the guy who's going to be playing him in the movies?
That right there is motivation enough for me.
(as seen by Caitlin and Christine)
Christine: Finding out Quil had imprinted on a two-year-old was very memorable for a lot of us. When you think about it, it's a TWO-YEAR-OLD. It doesn't get better the more times you say it. But once you actually think about it, it could be worse... maybe. Quil's life is now defined by Claire and what she needs from him. He's her best friend, her brother, her protector, and when she finally grows up, he'll be whatever she wants him to be. If that's her boyfriend, lover, husband, he'll be that. His relationship with Claire can pretty much be summed up in a scene from Breaking Dawn:
Jacob: Wow, I'm really sorry I wasn't around to see that.
Quil: Don't worry, Emily has pictures. Actually, I look pretty hot.
Jacob: You're such a patsy.
Quil: Claire had a great time. That was the point.
Caitlin: As much disturbing fic as we have featuring Edward and Bella, I'm (pleasantly) surprised I've never come across a disturbing one with Quil and Claire. The potential is certainly there. But authors seem to rise to the challenge of getting these two together without it being creepy. And what a challenge that is. In normal relationships, if Quil had helped raise Claire, the last he would want to be when she was an adult would be a love interest. But he will be, if she wants him to. But we never really hear about whether or not he wants to.
Christine: That's true. It's always a given that he'll want the relationship to turn romantic once she's of age. You see it a lot in
'A Special Kind of Torture', which is Quil's point of view from key scenes in
'Dear Diary'by Alice Laughed.
Caitlin: I was wondering how long it would take you to bring up Alice Laughed. The author of two of my favourite Quil/Claire stories,
Dear Diary.Dear Diary, a series of diary entries from Claire starting when she is ten and ending when she is eighteen, details the change and growth in their relationship and shows the depth of Claire's feelings for Quil as she gets to know him in different ways through the years.
Broken is about a Claire and Quil that were separated after he imprinted on her. And the physical and emotional ramifications of spending eighteen years apart from your only reason for being alive.
Christine: Oh, I do love Broken. Another good one is
Early Imprint: Quil's Storyby IAmKate, which shows mainly Quil's point of view from the beginning of his imprint to Claire as a grown up. It's not the usual "Claire grows up and falls in love with Quil" story. There's some heartbreak in there, but it ends wonderfully and deserves a look if you're interested in seeing how their relationship would have sustained had Claire left La Push for college.
But it's also important to remember Quil as a person. He's just a teenage guy, trying to be fill all these different roles for the various people in his life. It's easy to lose sight of him when you just focus on one of his roles, which is why I love
'Bark at the Moon'by Stretch so much. Because you see Quil as just a guy. He goofs off, cracks jokes with Embry and Jake, and isn't ruled by the mood swings of a toddler.
Caitlin: I suppose Quil has been written about more than other male members of the pack because his situation is so odd and abnormal. Even for a werewolf. He's a teenage boy who has been given an ultimate "cool" card. He has natural muscle and build, he is part of an exclusive group that the elders of his tribe respect. He gets to save people. But instead of being able to use this, as most normal teenage males would, he is instead spending his free time with a toddler. She is, against his will, the most important thing ever to him. And authors know that there is a fantastic story to tell there.
Christine: If only we could find more stories that tell that fantastic story. What if Quil couldn't harbor romantic feelings toward Claire after taking care of her for her entire life? What if Claire's family refused to let him see her later on in life once they released how attached they were? What if Claire rejected Quil for a life outside of La Push?
There are so many ways their story could go because we only get to see the beginning of it. It's like Caitlin said for Jared - you see his ending, but not the beginning.
So, what kind of ending should Quil have?
This is what makes writing fanfiction fun because you get to decide.
The Rest of the Pack
I think Dreaming in Black and White said it best:
So the next time you want to write a Twilight ‘verse fanfic, take a chance on one of the Quileute boys.
You might be surprised what comes out.