‘Twilight’: Why Stephenie Meyer Left a Detailed Description of Bella Out of the Books

Any fan of The Twilight Saga knows that books are packed with all types of details. Everything from the weather in Forks to the way Edward’s skin looks when the sunlight refracts off of it is described in great detail. But one description that is pretty lacking is the way the main character, Bella Swan, looks. Thanks to the Twilight movies, fans often think of Kristen Stewart when they picture Bella in their minds. But Stephenie Meyer, who authored Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, actually deliberately left a detailed description of her main character out of Twilight.

Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight books
Stephenie Meyer | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Generally, authors choose to go into great detail about the way that their characters look in their books. But Meyer chose to take a different approach. On her website, she revealed that she wanted her readers to feel as if they could fully embody Bella, so she chose to utilize only a few physical descriptors. “I left out a detailed description of Bella in the book so that the reader could more easily step into her shoes,” the Twilight author shared.

Stephenie Meyer didn’t include a detailed description of Bella in the ‘Twilight’ books

But just because Meyer left out a detailed physical description of Bella in Twilight doesn’t mean that the author didn’t have a clear picture of what the character looked like in her mind. After being badgered by fans, Meyer finally shared how she views Bella. But she was sure to stress that Bella’s looks are completley up to the interpretation of the reader.

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“In my head, Bella is very fair-skinned, with long, straight, dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. Her face is heart-shaped—a wide forehead with a widow’s peak, large, wide-spaced eyes, prominent cheekbones, and then a thin nose and a narrow jaw with a pointed chin,” the Twilight author shared, launching into a very detailed description. “Her lips are a little out of proportion, a bit too full for her jaw line. Her eyebrows are darker than her hair and more straight than they are arched. She’s five foot four inches tall, slender but not at all muscular, and weighs about 115 pounds. She has stubby fingernails because she has a nervous habit of biting them.”

Kristen Stewart, who was cast as Bella, explains her approach to the character

It’s interesting that Meyer made the decision to leave this detailed view of Bella out of Twilight. But perhaps that is one of the main reasons that so many fans resonated with the story, because they could imagine themselves in Bella’s position. Even Kristen Stewart, who played Bella in the movies, once admitted that bringing Bella to life was less about building a specific character and more about imagining what she, herself, would do in similar situations.

“I mean she’s not distinct and you don’t read her as like, ‘Oh, wow. That’s a character that I can really sink my teeth into.’ She’s the vessel in which you experience the story, through her,” Stewart confessed in an interview with Collider. Stewart continued on to share that her role in Twilight was quite the vulnerable one. “It’s really a self-conscious role. It’s entirely Kristen in the situation. I didn’t have a really distinct character to play. It’s just this girl caught up in an extravagant situation.”

Do other ‘Twilight’ fans imagine themselves as Bella?

Clearly, Meyer’s wish for her readers to imagine themselves in Bella’s shoes was successful in Stewart’s case. We wonder how many other Twilight fans imagined themselves in the character’s situation.