Somehow Octavia’ Butler’s Fledgling came out the same year as Meyer’s first Twlight book, but to less acclaim. Butler’s book is so much more subtle than Meyer’s also compelling book. Butler adds dimensions of race, American history and first person narration that create depth from a quite similar plot line. Why then is Meyer’s book more popular? Setting aside (unjustly) the quirks of publishing and timing, I think Meyer simply succeeds in plot where Butler dwells in character. Against Aristotle’s advise, Butler privileges one character over plot that comprises many. I plowed through Twilight, skimmed the middle two books in the series, and admired Breaking Dawn. Meyer’s characters accumulate momentum between them and drive the book. Butler presents one character, Shori, intimately. This device repeats the basic structure of Butler’s earlier Kindred which also took you into the mind of a young women undergoing an unexplained and supernatural transformation. I enjoyed Kindred as I did Fledgling, but I could have put either book down half-way through or two-thirds of the way through with as much satisfaction as at the end. That’s because by then I’ve absorbed the details of the character’s peculiar situation and the premise of the novel. Beyond that, Butler’s plot is mere footnotes. As a poet, I worry that I will let language enrapture me at the expense of plot. But here is another potential trap: character and premise at the expense of plot. But plot alone makes only the Twilight series and not Woolf’s The Waves. I assumed there’s something good in between But what is it and how do I write it?