Controversy over Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series is nothing new. However, whether the books contain quality writing or are simply drivel, I suspect there’s a lesson or two that can be learned from them.First off, while I tend to think they’re more drivel, I want to be clear that it isn’t my intent to dissuade anyone from reading or enjoying the books. Everyone has different tastes and I’m not about to tell you what to like or dislike. Heck, I’ve even had friends whom I deeply respect surprise me by saying they really like these books. Additionally, I’m not sure my credibility on the subject is enough to where I can make a fair assessment. After all, I only read the first forty pages of the first book (I had to put it down after that; it simply wasn’t for me).
But for conversation purposes, let’s examine Twilight a bit, or more specifically, let’s look at the opinions across the web. I did a bit of research for well-articulated arguments about the quality of the books. Interestingly enough, it was very difficult to find many well-argued points in favor of the quality of Meyer’s writing (though that might have something to do with the fact that the majority of its readers are preteens). Even fans seemed to admit it wasn’t her strength. Anti-Twilight quotes and articles were easy to find; Stephen King has even been quoted as saying, “Stephanie Meyer can’t write worth a darn.” (Source).
Around the Net:
Why People like Twilight
- “…it is evident Meyer’s undisputed talents lie with writing tension and with the ability to portray and find the voice of a normal girl with an accuracy unmatched. It’s a gripping series. Any girl can relate to Bella, and every girl dreams of a love like she has. Every girl wants their Edward.” Full blog.
- “Girls in particular find Twilight particularly appealing, because what better scenario than an incredibly rich and handsome who sweeps you off your feet is there?” Full blog.
Why Twilight is ‘Awful’
- “The Twilight books are a case study in poor grammar and purple prose, have huge plot holes (although, really, there isn’t much of a plot at all,) fall back on lazy literary devices to get out of jams, lack any sort of character development, and break several other rules of fiction writing.” Full blog.
- “The most appalling element, however, is how popular this novel is. How many teenage girls are drinking this up and screaming for more. I fear for my gender’s future, for what they’re learning about love and relationships through this series.” Full blog.
From what I gather, the positives—or reasons behind its popularity—include:
- The young romance appeals to prepubescent teens
- Young girls like the idea behind Edward Cullen.
…and that’s it! I can’t find one other reason fans of the series enjoy it.
From what I can tell, there are many reasons why haters have a strong distaste for the series:
- Heavy on the purple prose and cheesiness.
- Poor writing quality.
- Not much of a plot and it doesn’t really come to light until the first novel’s near over with.
…to name a few.
So, let’s say those speaking loudest are right—the Twilight books are just plain bad. What does that mean to those of us trying to get published ourselves? It means the way of the publishing world has significantly changed. The attention span of readers is significantly less than even ten or fifteen years ago, which means ‘guilty pleasure’ reads may become more popular than timeless classics. The bottom line–marketability is often more important these days than writing ability or a strong ability to tell a story.
What are your thoughts on the Twilight series and its success? I would love to hear your comments and insight.