Stephenie Meyer: Bad Bestselling Writing

Stephen King said he’s not feeling writer Stephenie Meyer’s Twlight series. Interestingly enough, a fellow reader friend of mind shared this same “bad writing” opinion with me sometime ago. I wouldn’t know and the book isn’t on my reading list (which means I’ll never know). Sorry. Popular doesn’t mean Pulitzer, but is King wrong for bashing another author? Read more:

According to Stephen, “Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

While Stephen may not be a fan of Stephenie’s writing, he understands the appeal of the series.

“People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it’s very clear that she’s writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it’s not particularly threatening because it’s not overtly sexual.”

He further explains, “A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that’s a shorthand for all the feelings that they’re not ready to deal with yet.” (source)

Happy reading, y’all.

UPDATE: I found another interesting news story to add to this post.

Stephenie Meyer sold more books in 2008 than any other author (22 million, according to her publisher) and did what no else — not even J.K. Rowling — has done in the 15 years of USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list:

She swept the four top slots in 2008’s best sellers with her Twilight series about a romance between a girl (mortal) and boy (vampire).

In a year when publishers and booksellers struggled with a dismal economy, Meyer carried the holidays, accounting for about one in every five books sold since Thanksgiving. Her dominance has continued this year.

“Rowling’s achievement over seven (Harry Potter) books remains singular — for now,” says Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Lunch, a daily e-newsletter. “But Meyer had an astounding year and played as important a role for retailers.” (Read full article)

So I guess King’s opinion really doesn’t matter.

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20 thoughts on “Stephenie Meyer: Bad Bestselling Writing

  1. I can understand where King is coming from. However, I like to at least read a book to the end before I can describe why I dislike it. But I read the majority of the book and found myself waiting for something, anything to happen. Then I loaned it to a friend, who loved it. Now I’m just waiting to get the copy back so I can give a full review!

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  2. Hand Claps for King. He hit the nail on the head. She can’t write well at all. My friend (who is in her 30s) love these books. I on the other hand have only read one of them. I plan to finish the rest but only because I am doing a series challenge and they made a movie out of it.

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  3. i’ve read the first book, and i swear she used the word “incredulous” and its variants every five pages or so. the writing in general isn’t particularly special, but the story is entertaining.

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  4. I’m not super-qualified to leave an opinion because I only read an excerpt from the book. But here goes: the idea of fang-less, coffin-less vampires with Superman-like powers glittering like diamonds is original and Meyers seems very dialed into the feelings of teenaged girls. For that, she deserves the fame and money she’s getting. But the writing is too spare, choppy and didactic to be into the literary canon. It almost seems as if a thirteen-year-old wrote it. Well at least she got people reading.

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  5. My only contention with people who brutalize her less-than-literary writing is that many of us became exposed to such classics as 1984, Farenheit 451, Hawthorne, Faulkner, Twain, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Harper Lee in junior high, high school, then college. Your typical American doesn’t pick up anything other than a magazine rife with yelow journalism and the miniatue of a celebrities’ life. Some of us don’t even know who our state senators are or who the Secretary of Defense is.
    So the fact that this woman has tapped into something in many of our collective consciousness shows astuteness on her part.
    A number of people who criticize her work aren’t buying literature or books free of “purple prose” and grammatical errors in record numbers. Publishing companies who publish well-written manuscripts are struggling or simply folding.
    Think about this: people who write like her help keep the publishing companies afloat so that they can publish the more high-brow – but perhaps not as saleable – new writers that everyone claims are better than Stephenie Meyers but no one reads as much.
    Oh, and by the way Meyers has emphasized that she knows she is no Pulitzer prize winner.
    Just my two cents.

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    • Having looked at some of the young adult novels of late, I wish that the publishing industry would really stop and think. Is it really worth sacrificing integrity to get more money? Particularly since the reason that a good deal of publishers are going under is actually because of the economy and the fact that those who used to buy books can’t really afford to, right?

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  6. I think that Stephenie has some good ideas ( obviously since its touched so many teen girls, and their moms) HOWEVER, she’s a poor writer. I think that if people like her continue to sell books, its ruining the industry for those who CAN and DO publish quality work. Its insulting to have people like her, whose writing is full of purple prose, mary- sues, and cliches, be praised as being some AMAZINF literary GOD, when there are FAR better writers out there.
    I think that Stephenie should take some classes and really WORK with her editors to become a better writer.
    Otherwise, she should stop publishing.
    BTW- Stephen King is not jealous. He’s far more renouned and better known then Stephenie Meyer.
    Jk Rowling on the other hand… That’s an author who touched MILLIONS of people ( way more then Stephenie Ever did. EX: JK rowling has sold over 450 MILLION worldwide, Stephenie Sold: 27 Million WORLDWIDE)
    , and STILL remained a good writer. She worked with her editors. She’s won literary awards. She’s PRAISED for her prose.
    THAT is a true writer. Someone who can capture the hearts of people, and still be a skilled writer.
    JK Rowling is BY far better then Stephenie and so far… she’s YET to be surpassed.

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  7. Please stay with me through this preamble as I prepare to express an opinion about Stephenie Meyer’s work.

    It is far more difficult to create fiction than it is to edit or critique it. I know this because I am, after a number of decades, trying my hand at creative writing again. Also, I have been an editor off and on for most of my life and at one time wrote numerous book reviews for publication in newspapers and magazines. As a reviewer, I didn’t have the luxury of being charitable toward a developing writer’s problematic prose. However, due to that role, I learned the value of observing how an author’s writing improved over time. When asked to review one of Clive Cussler’s “Dirk Pitt” novels, for example, I noticed how much better it was than his first novel in the series. Similarly, if I hadn’t persisted with the very fine author John Dunning, I would never have got beyond his first mystery novel, which was poorly plotted and boring.

    I decided to read Twilight long after its publication, deciding that I wanted to write an article about why teens are so drawn to vampire fiction these days. (I write for Examiner.com as its Denver Metro Library Examiner.) Last week, I finished New Moon after reading it nonstop. I haven’t had a chance to read Eclipse or Breaking Dawn yet. I would be lying if I said that I only read the books for research purposes. Yet I would also be lying if I didn’t admit that certain aspects of the writing bothered me a lot, including trivial matters such as overuse of the words “snickered” and “chuckled.” I just couldn’t handle chuckling vampires. Also, although the opening of any sequel has to reestablish details and plot elements from its predecessors, I found the opening of New Moon to be tedious until Bella’s nervous breakdown in the woods when Edward disappears from her life. And then Meyer had me, had me by the throat! I was especially sucked in, excuse my clichés, in the castle of the Volturis when it became clear that the vampire clan was going to feast on a tour group of unwitting tourists.

    So Meyer’s writing may need to improve—and I feel certain it will over time—but her storytelling is already powerful. Although I have read a little of J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, I have never been drawn to either of those authors. In Rowling’s case, I don’t think it has anything to do with the quality of her storytelling or writing; it just ins’t my kind of supernatural. Regarding King, I greatly admire the movies Carrie and The Shining, which are among the scariest horror films I’ve ever seen. But I have never been able to tolerate the way he overwrites the horror in his stories. It always seemed to me that he didn’t show enough restraint and that this took away from the power of his words. So far, I haven’t felt this way while reading the Twilight novels.

    So, Stephenie, keep on writing and keep on improving. You may be earning a lot of money, but you also bear the heavy burden of all who ride your coattails. As Rhonea noted in her letter of May 26, the publishing industry has much to thank you for since your popularity helps to fund the publication of other writers. Educators certainly are thankful to you for making reluctant readers want to open a book. When the first Harry Potter book came out, I remember people diminishing its value by saying that it was successful, because it was written at a level sixth graders could appreciate. And now people are calling it great writing.

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  8. I Agree With Stephen King! Stephenie Meyer Is A Crap Writer. She Can Never Compete With JK Rowling The Only Reason She Has Sold So Many books Because SEveryone Is Following The Hype tbh I mean the Stupid Cow Had An Entire Chapter In Breaking Dawn Dedicated To The Pain Bella Felt When She Got Turned Into A Vampire! An ENITRE Chapter ><

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  9. I just finished reading ALL 4 books in the Twilight saga because I want to know what the fuss is all about. I’m glad that I did not waste my money on those books! (all borrowed). The plot is okay, I probably dig the human/mythical creatures forbidden love story (sparkling or not) if it was properly written. First thing that comes to mind mind i’m asked to describe the saga is ‘fanfic’ ‘coz it seems like the book is written by a 13-year-old. Yeah, I get how the book is targeted to female young adult BUT surely she doesn’t need to offend them by ‘dumbing down’ the book?

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    • Well that’s it though…she DID NOT dumb down the books…well not intentionally…this is basically how she writes. She (luckyly? coincidentallly?) tapped into a market of young girls who are more than eager to gobble up fanfiction that was masterfully marketed as a book and more or less was a product of the publishers. I personally was very resentful towards Meyer’s for being successful for something sooooo poorly executed and developed and of course written. I tried reading Breaking Dawn and it was painful trying to get from one page to the next. However, I realize that here is this woman who had an idea, wrote it out with whatever little ability she had and struck the major leagues. She never claimed to be a Gertrude Stein. She always claimed to be more of a story-teller and gave her audience what they wanted, what they craved. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Actually talented writers deserve the recognition she gets but the world just does not work that way anymore.

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      • “She never claimed to be a Gertrude Stein.”

        Well, maybe BEFORE her books were published. She’s been quoted saying that her work is better then some of the classics, which only adds salt to the insult of her getting published in the first place.

        I know what you are talking about, about how the fans are the kind that will gobble up the worst written fanfic out there and gush reviews on it simply because of the hormonal pleasure they are receiving.

        That said, that should make it very clear that the reason the book is being eaten up by these girls is because of wish fulfillment, not because they truly enjoy the characters or get something out of it. And most aren’t moving onto better stuff.

        Sad really.

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  10. J.K. Rowling is a superior writer, though Stephenie Meyer seemed to find an untapped nerve that the YA public hadn’t touched on at the time—and it just happened to be the right book at the right time. Her writing was just acceptable enough to scrape by and create a sensation.

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  11. I am a 30 something avid reader and absolutely LOVE the Twilight books. I enjoy fiction/nonfiction of all genres and diversified settings and plots. I am so shocked by so many negative comments given by professional authors. I believe that the main goals and desires for any author should be to create an enjoyable reading experience. The proof is in the pudding. (In this case, sales, popularity, etc.) I love to read and Stephenie Meyers has fulfilled what I believe a good story should be. I won’t waste time dissecting it because I would rather simply enjoy it. If this is not your cup of tea-move on, God forbid we place restraints on literature. Seriously, do we really want to put all literature “in a box”? If it’s your thing-enjoy it-if not move on to something else-but respect the creative process. Now I’ll take my seat.

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    • As someone who has hopes of being a pulblished author in the future, I am shocked at the idea that the ‘main goals and desires for any author should be to [simply] create an enjoyable reading experience’. Kind of insulted actually. Sure, I want my future books to be enjoyable, but HELL, I also WANT people to get something MORE out of them then just that.

      I am a fanfic writer too, so I tell you, the popularity equaling a good story is trash. Tons of fanfic authors with good stories get unnoticed, while ones that play to horomonal desires, like desired pairing, or wishfullfillment, get noticed, and get the tons of reviews. Some of them are gagable in quality too!

      Not to mention, they also react the same way that Meyer’s does when it comes to critisism. They can’t take it, and throw bawling fits!

      I am going to also question if you ARE truely an avid reader. Being one, simply ISN’T just about reading everything you can get your hands on. Part of the fun of reading for the avid reader, is disecting, comparing contrasting. They ALSO read books, even IF they AREN’T their cup of tea.

      As for respect for the creative process… *sigh* disecting other peoples work, along with our own, looking for the faults, IS the way that we get to be better.

      And… I doubt that Meyer’s has any respect for the process herself, concidering she considers Twilight greater then some of the classics.

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  12. Yes I am an avid reader…as stated previously, I enjoy all types of reading material. If I want to be “deep” I’ll read Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, or some of the other literature I believe that I can relate to. However, if I want something light and carefree that’s my perrogative. Again, the proof is in the pudding-millions of people obviously feel the same way. Not here to criticize or insult, because my whole point in commenting was to express my opinion that every writer has a particular reader-if you have a particular style of writing-well deal with your reader. To each his own. I’m not the type to criticize-but I will say this, before you question whether I am an avid reader, I counted atleast 6 errors on your post. (lol) Again in defense of the Twilight Saga -which I absolutely adore- millions of people apparently feel the same way.

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    • I guess I’ll start with this question. Why did you feel the need to bring up that I had “atleast 6 errors on [my] post”? Popping it into a word check, which I will admit that I didn’t do, it came out to be nine errors to be exact. That said, before you criticized my spelling, you honestly should have checked your own post. The most obvious mistake was that you jumbled “at least” together and you misspelled “prerogative” as “perrogative”.

      Are you trying to tell me that you are an avid reader because you were able to pick up all the grammatical mistakes I made? Shouldn’t mentioning Toni Morrison and Richard Wright have been enough? You’re unfortunately doing what I’ve seen many Twihards do in retaliation to hearing someone criticize their “candy read” and it is honestly immature behavior. Please, if you post again, don’t resort to that kind of thing.

      That said, I honestly get that there is such a thing as having a “candy read”, something that you read even if it is badly written, even if it is a Mary Sue, because it is just plane enjoyable. However, I balk at the idea that something should EVER be excluded from literary criticism because it is a “candy read”. I mean, why does someone balk at the idea of a book being criticized? The sad truth is, they don’t want their little bubble burst, but that is honestly NOT fair to everyone else.

      Young Adult novels should be the last form of literature that we say is free from literary criticism. People like to say it is just a book and just fiction, but some of these girls live and breath these books and their sense of reality has become warped. The media young ones absorb will effect the way they look at the world and adults need to help make sure it is shaped in the right way.

      “Again in defense of the Twilight Saga -which I absolutely adore- millions of people apparently feel the same way. “ I’ll admit that the Twilight series has sold millions of books. If that is your main argument now as to why a book shouldn’t be criticized, honestly think again. As I said earlier in this post, JUST because it might hurt someones precious feelings and burst the bubble of their little world DOES NOT mean that criticism should be held back. And that is basically what you are saying.

      I’d also like to remind you that I responded to a post you made where you had the audacity to tell writers like myself what was most important in writing a book is to entertain people, when you yourself are just a reader, not a writer. Avid you may very well be, but I doubt you honestly understand the hard work that many of us writers go through to get that story down on paper in a well written manner, yet you had the audacity to say that PROFESSIONAL writers had no respect for the “creative process” that comes with writing.

      Because ANYONE who has had ANY experience in the excruciating work that the “creative process” entails knows that the Twilight Saga completely spits on that “creative process”.

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