1. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    Why is Stephanie Meyers bad at writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by drifter265, Feb 28, 2013.

    Can anyone give me some specifics? Is it the words she uses? Her story outline? I watched the first movie and I didn't see how it was any worse than any other cheesy romance movie out there. Are people just making too much a big deal out of it?
     
  2. A.Tad.of.Conrad
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    A.Tad.of.Conrad Member

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    Her writing is technically flawed, but I don't think she deserves all the hate she gets (especially since most of the people who criticize her harshly have never read her).

    here's a deconstruction of some of her work which points out her technical mistakes.

    http://reasoningwithvampires.tumblr.com/
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, nothing answers critics like success. :p
     
  4. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Mind you, I haven't actually read the books, just watched a few of the movies, so any and all opinions I have should be viewed with a grain of salt. Maybe her writing style is good, but I find some of her concepts questionable.

    For example, her relationship with Edward in many ways resembles an abusive relationship.
    1) Edward tries to isolate Bella from other relationships, like her father, friends, and even sabotages her car to limit her ability to transport herself.
    2) Edward coercively attempts to move their relationship faster than Bella is ready, like when she doesn't want to get married and he pushes the idea on her.
    3) Edward stalks her in the first book when he saved her from an attack by some random dudes, then later using his vampire superpowers to stalk her through thoughts.
    4) Edward is extremely jealous and possessive of Bella.
    5) Bella is often bruised by Edward's strength, but she shows off her bruises with pride.

    Additionally, Jacob "imprints" on Bella's child, meaning he has to love the child, and then the child grows up and eventually becomes his wife. This is what's called "Child-Grooming." Just because Bella and Edward are OK with it doesn't mean it's right.

    Sources:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psychologist-the-movies/201111/relationship-violence-in-twilight
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-van-edwards/is-twilight-making-abuse-_b_2316736.html
    http://sarahgetscritical.com/2012/11/13/a-feminist-critique-of-twilight-emotional-abuse-child-grooming-and-pro-choice-plots/

    What I don't like about the series is how it, as one cited article puts it, makes abuse sexy. Relationship abuse, and child abuse.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Drifter - are you comparing the movies or the books? I doubt she had much imput in the movies as Melissa Rosenburg wrote the actual scripts. I'd imagine like most Hollywood films - they are just based on the book or adapted from so I'm not sure Meyers can bel blamed on the movies. Not sure she's too worried either... I wouldn't be if Tarrantino bought my book about swiss nuns and turned into the Geneva Massacre :)
     
  6. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I already said it in another thread, but the Twilight books are some the most mind-numbing, demeaning, useless books to be published in the last 15 years at least. Her technique is flawed, her plot is inconsistent and her characters are shallow and thin.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't read the books or seen any of the movies, so I wasn't going to comment overall. However, Funkybass, although all the points you outline are valid criticisms, I don't think they really go to the actual *writing* that is allegedly so bad. Good writing can have all manner of disagreeable plots, actions, themes, and ideas. I will admit that I read 50 Shades, which is based on Twilight and which comes in for similar criticism, both for substance and for writing style. What I saw in those books, which are also frequently alleged to be "poorly written" (and I agree with that assessment), the issues were primarily related to the fact that it really needed a heavy edit. There was frequent repetition, unbelievable dialogue, and little real development of the main character. My guess is that similar criticisms apply to the Twilight series, but I can't say for certain.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, when I tried to read it, it just looked like a work by someone not very well read or maybe deliberately dumbed down for a rather young audience. Perhaps the language was simplistic, the ideas a total cliche that could only be liked by those who haven't read anything of higher quality yet. It's pulp fiction basically. But I give her all my respect for becoming successful with it.
     
  9. Mot
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    Mot Member

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    I read all the books when I was a teenager and absolutely adored them. They weren't my favourite books by a long shot, and even at that age I could see exactly what made her writing style awful.

    It's hard to point out specifics without a book in front of me, but I suppose my biggest issue was how exhausting they were to read. I had grown accustomed to beautifully written novels that flowed effortlessly, and her style was amateurish at best. The descriptions were a bit ridiculous too on occasion.

    I have the same complaint with the Hunger Games trilogy- the poor writing and childish naming of things (Mockingjay, Jabberjay, Peeta (Peter? I don't know), Muttation (sic)) stopped me from getting any further than the first book.
     
  10. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I agree with you that my criticisms are not about her craft or style, which are two elements of writing. But thematic execution is an element to writing, too. So, my criticisms are indeed about Meyer's writing.

    Meyer has themes of abuse in her books, both relational abuse and child abuse. I'm not criticizing her for using these themes, but rather how she executes them - by illustrating them as romantic.
     
  11. Mot
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    Mot Member

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    She doesn't just illustrate them as romantic, she portrays them as the 'ideal'. Edward Cullen is the 'perfect' boyfriend, and his extraordinary behaviour is forgiven entirely because he was madly in love with her/very handsome/physically strong/very rich.
     
  12. Scribblefae
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    Scribblefae New Member

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    I actually did read the Twilight books and also saw the movies.
    I think people are making much too big a deal out of Meyers' writing - yes, there are definitely flaws in her work, but she doesn't need to be burned at the stake for it.
    I do agree she repeats herself often, I have read books I found better and liked more and I do not consider Twilight one of the highlights of this century, but neither do I think it is the worst book in history. It's just a book I've read, enjoyed, and put back on the shelf :)
    (I am curious about what makes her writing technically flawed, though... I notice there is books I prefer to read over Twilight if it comes to the style it's written in but I can't really put my finger on it... Could anyone enlighten me?)

    When listening to the critiques of those around me, I've noticed most are about the concept and about how it is so much worse than other books. For those agreeing with the latter I might have a tip: stop it. Don't compare it with, for example, Harry Potter, because the idea, the story and it's main characters are completely different and, in my opinion, not even meant to be alike. Just look at it the way it is, like it or don't like it for what it is, and go from there :) If you think it is complete and utter sh*t and refuse to read it, then don't judge because how can you know what you are talking about? :p If you think it is complete and utter sh*t but you do want to judge it, then read it under the cover of "know thine enemy" ;) Call me black-and-white, but that's my view on it.


    As for the concept, I find it mostly comes down to what Funkybassmannick wrote, and I don't completely agree on it.

    1) Edward tries to isolate Bella from other relationships, like her father, friends, and even sabotages her car to limit her ability to transport herself.
    As far as I could see/read, the isolation, for one, was done not by Edward, but by Bella herself. Edward actually left her because he thought he wasn't good for her. Sabotaging her car, true - if I were up to meet someone dangerous my partner would try and rip out the motor of my car, too - Bella wanted to visit Jacob, who Edward considered a danger to her and thus he wanted to protect her. I do agree he was taking the protection a bit too far a times and annoyed the hell out of me though :p

    2) Edward coercively attempts to move their relationship faster than Bella is ready, like when she doesn't want to get married and he pushes the idea on her.
    Edward asks Bella to marry him, yes - not only because he is in love with her, but also because he knows it is the one thing she will not do in a heartbeat - and he only agreed on turning her into a vampire - which he doesn't want to do - after marriage... So if she says no, he doesn't have to turn the girl he loves into the thing he loathes most ;) Besides that, Bella almost literally tries to force herself on him, so I'm wondering who's actually going too fast here...

    3) Edward stalks her in the first book when he saved her from an attack by some random dudes, then later using his vampire superpowers to stalk her through thoughts.
    Good point, stalking is creepy indeed. Though if I were stalked by someone I actually liked, he saves me from a bunch of freaks and then doesn't go after me himself, I think I'd mostly be grateful and flattered he is looking out for me. As for the mind stalking, keep in mind that Edward, in his own isolation, learns about people by poking around in their minds. Bella's mind is closed off for him and since he considers it life-threatening to her to come too close to her, I can see why he tries to get to know more about her through other people's thoughts.

    4) Edward is extremely jealous and possessive of Bella.
    Jealous and possessive, yes. Then again, we all are, aren't we? Face the fact: if you have been alone for decades (80 years in this case) while 3 other couples are happily in love and celebrating their romantic life in the same house, and you find this one person you fall head over heals for, you'd want to keep her too. Especially if you can read other people's minds and you hear them think about all the naughty, pervy things they would like to do to your beloved ;)
    Besides: would you throw your sweetheart in a case with a horde of wild animals who could tear him or her apart at any moment? No, of course you wouldn't. So why would Edward leave Bella alone with a group of werewolves, of whom he knows they can easily snap when they're not in control of their anger, and cause excessive damage?

    5) Bella is often bruised by Edward's strength, but she shows off her bruises with pride.
    This certainly did not came on to me - what I did get was Bella not really caring when any bruising was done, and Edward feeling like absolute sh*t if he would as much as split one of her hairs.

    6. As for the imprinting - it is a difficult concept. What I find is that a lot of people consider is pedophilia and child abuse, which isn't exactly hard to understand. What I got from the book is that there is no pedophilia or child abuse in the story - Jacob, for example, isn't interested in Renesmee in any romantic or sexual level - he simply becomes whatever she needs him to be, whether that's a friend, a brother, a protector or, at a later stage in life, a lover. That's actually how Meyers put it in the book (Eclipse), and though I understand people's fear that pedophiles all over the world will get weird ideas, I truly don't think it was intended as an approval to child abuse of whatever kind - just as a new idea.
    That, and keep in mind: these guys are not human. We keep looking at it from a human perspective, which is understandable with us being human, but that's not relevant here. The way I see 'imprinting' is, that it is nothing more than forming/creating/developing a strong bond with a person which during the course of life grows stronger. If a human adult male would have a bond like that with a baby/young girl in 10 out of 10 cases it's downright pedophilia. Humans are not capable of having such a bond with a child unless it is a 'parent' role which sure as hell is not suppose to be romantic.

    Al right.. and then my post turned out to be much lengthier than I'd intended.. sorry! :D Ah well, I guess I made my point xD
    Now, please don't put me down as a Twi-Hard now or however it's called (don't we all hate to be categorized? ;)) - I just like to read a lot and to great dismay of many, I don't hate Twilight ;)
     
  13. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Scribblefae, I still disagree. Your counter-arguments tend to be, "Yes, but it's okay because..." The things I listed are real-life behaviors of real-life relationship abusers. Meyer chooses to present these real-life behaviors as "excusable, because it's romantic." Meyer chooses to show him as overly jealous, possessive, isolating, bruising, etc., but writes it with the right circumstances (e.g. but she really was in danger) so the reader believes it to be romantic. This is equivalent to, "He only does it because he loves me;" the stereotypical statement of an abusive relationship's victim.

    And to clarify why Jacob's imprinting is "Child Grooming." Yes, there is a fantastical element to this, in that Jacob is a werewolf. Perhaps it is okay werewolf on werewolf, but the child is not a werewolf. She is half human and half vampire, and she does not have the same bonding-imprint tendency. Just because Jacob is a werewolf doesn't somehow overrule the fact that the child is still the victim in the situation.

    If anything, Meyer is a great writer because she makes so many readers believe that these different types of abuse relationships are not only okay, not only romantic, but, as Mot says, ideal.
     
  14. Nightmarz
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    Nightmarz New Member

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    Well, when I read the first book, I had to constantly put it down. I was younger at the time (13) and even at that age I couldn't stand the writing style. Being a boy, I don't think I was the target reader as the girls in my class could not get enough of it. It is the words she uses, and the way she uses them. It felt as though a preteen has written it. But this is just my opinion. It was clearly not my cup of tea.

    The character development I thought was actually done really well. However, the interactions between these characters seemed a little too good to be true. It wasn't convincing to me, I was not pulled away to the fantasy world of the writer in my consciousness. This was after-all her first book. Rough around the edges, but hey, she got something published right?

    As jazebel said, "...[It sounds like] somebody deliberately dumbed [it] down for a rather young audience." I couldn't agree more.

    I have not read the later books, but have watched the movies (not the last one however), so I cannot give an opinion on those books. This is just my two cents on the writing of the first book.
     
  15. leamadzt
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    leamadzt New Member

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    I read the Twilight books when they were first released and I enjoyed them. I like an easy read and I tend to stick to Young Adult books because of this.

    Perhaps her writing skills are flawed. I really don't mind though. If i'm reading a book that tells a story, then i'm more interested in that aspect rather than the format. It flowed easily for me and I didn't dig deep into any of the technicalities of her writing.

    I've read much worse and I've read much better, but all in all I enjoyed the books and for me that's a successful way to write a novel :)
     
  16. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Other than the theme of abuse, the technique flaws, the inarticulate language and the rest of the already mentioned flaws, the long and repetitive internal monologues, the all over the place mythos and the lack of any actual sense in the plot made me wonder for a long time not about the success of the books, but about the ones that actually enjoyed them. It is not a work of literature, but a marketing scheme selling nothing as something. In every ten books you randomly pick from any list, 9 are better in terms of both technique and plot while the tenth is better at at least one of those fields. My only guess is that the books were marketed to an undereducated, semi-illiterate, reality-challenged target group that bought them because they were told to.
     
  17. leamadzt
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    leamadzt New Member

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    I enjoyed the books and I would honestly say I'm under educated. My day job is as a wedding photographer which hardly requires me to be super smart. Just creative and secretarial. I have being street-smart going for me too. But otherwise, i'm uneducated. Being a working-class mother with a working-class husband, living each day as it comes, I guess I am the majority and that's most likely why the books did so well. There's more of us uneducated folk out there for the books to appeal to ;)

    Oh and i'm definitely reality-challenged.

    Did I buy it because I was told to? Actually, yes. I went to my local Waterstones and the kind sales assistant recommended i'd quite enjoy Twilight because I was trying to see if I could get hold of some old 'Point Horror' books - Remember them? Loved them too!

    I'm not special or gifted or too clever.

    Xatron, you are absolutely write...wait i mean right. The books were marketed towards an undereducated, semi-illiterate, reality-challenged target group. They were aimed at 12 year olds :)
     
  18. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Okay, classic example of stuff that bugs me.

    One of the leads is a vampire. The object of his affections is mortal. We claim there are mistakes in the telling.

    You guys do know there's not such thing as a vampire, don't you? How do you know they don't eat grape Jell-o by the metric ton? Maybe bruising Bella is like a corsage at prom. Maybe the werewolf/vampire clan war really started over a terrible cave makeover by a rookie interior decorating puplet too concerned at howling at the moon.

    Sure, I think Bella's character would have been better served if she was eaten alive by somebody, anybody. I wish the Carpathia would have gotten to the disaster two hours quicker. I would have blasted Greedo the moment he sat down--he works for the movie's mob boss.

    These things didn't happen because the author played out the story to his arc, not ours.
     
  19. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    Nice one, lea :)

    I tried to read Twilight, but I put it aside halfway through, because it was everything I don't want to read. The narrative was all over the place, jumping around like a crazy horse. The intermittent dumps of unrelated information didn't help at all. The character description was superficial. The main character was unmotivated. The scenes felt contructed. She often misuses words in ways which even a non-native speaker notices. The storytelling goes off on tangents that help neither the main plot nor her character development. Her descriptions are horrendously, sickeningly and fluffishly overstuffed with adjectives that make my teeth stick together. There are so many logical breaks that it's impossible to count them all.

    But, and that is the issue which terrifies me, it's no worse than all those sitcoms that flicker over the TV screen every day and which received similar criticism in the early days. So give it a few years and it's going to be a trend.
     
  20. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    How would I know I'm not making the same mistake she is?
     
  21. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    Because sometimes other people put things better than I can:
    No. Matter. What.

    Remember the lady who was horribly disfigured by her werewolf husband? Yeah.
     
  22. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Easy enough, give your work to some 12 year old girls to review. If they love it, you are doing something wrong.
     
  23. daiisydukes
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    Most people who says Twilight is bad has never actually read the books, just seen the movies.
    It's plot that she's bad at, not writing. Having Edward sparkle seems like something I would've done temporarily to solve the issue of him dying in sunlight. But I most definitely would've changed it before I sent it off to a publisher.

    Apart from things like that, Stephanie Meyer has a very sophisticated type of writing. She's very good at it too. Ever read "The Host"? Because that's proof as to how she can actually write, contrary to popular belief. (The Host is pre-Twilight, although the movie comes out this month.)
     
  24. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I never thought an author who writes like crap can sell a bestselling series. Probably because a lot of girls face abuse before, that is why they can relate to Bella and Edward. But I never read Twilight, but I did saw the movie. It is not my cup of tea.

    There's probably tons of better romantic supernatural books than this series.
     
  25. Mot
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    Mot Member

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    People are only incompetent because they don't know that they are incompetent. I personally didn't realise that I was awful at writing until much later, when I read over old work. At the time, I thought it was wonderful (though I had the good sense not to send it off for publishing).

    If you can read Meyer's books and go 'this is awful because XYZ, and if I was writing this I would change it to.. etc.', you are probably a better writer than her, or at the very least, you will be able to avoid her mistakes.
     

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