I really don’t want to be a hater, so this isn’t a post that’s going to be filled with stupid hate comments like “Stephenie Meyer is stupid”. But I am very very annoyed about the whole Twilight phenomenon and how people keep comparing it to Harry Potter.
In the interest of full disclosure, I too, once thought that Twilight was “the next Harry Potter“, but this was before I read the Twilight books. I based this thought simply on the reactions of people to the Twilight saga, that it was similar to people’s reactions to Harry Potter — long lines in the bookstore, throwing themed parties based on the books, big blockbuster movies… I really thought that Twilight was something great because everyone seemed to be raving about it, so at first I was really on Twilight‘s side. Until I actually read it. And then I realized that it was trash. No, actually, some trashy romance novels are written better, honestly. But here’s what I really don’t like about Stephenie Meyer.
According to her in an interview, she never read about vampires or werewolves or did any research before she wrote the books. She only researched about vampires when she needed to write the part where Bella was researching vampires. But from what I can tell from her interview, it seems that her so-called research was limited to Googling the word “vampire”. Um, can somebody tell her that Googling is not what research for a book makes? But other than that, I just think it’s so arrogant of her to say something like “Part of the fun of writing is getting to create a world and if you’re writing fantasy, why should you be limited by someone else’s world?” as the justification for her having written about “sparkly vampires”.
It upsets me because yes, you’re allowed to break rules in writing and the more creative you are the better, so go ahead and make up beings that sparkle in the sunlight, but don’t dare call them vampires, because that’s not what they are. If you’re going to change the vampire myth so drastically, then it’s nothing short of arrogance to ride on the popularity of the vampire myth, when what you’ve written isn’t about vampires at all. If you hate so much being so “limited by someone else’s world”, then create a different world entirely, instead of ripping off bits and pieces of a myth such that it destroys said myth, call it your own, and then still think that you actually paid homage to it.
You can break rules, but not the basics. Any real writer will tell you (and these aren’t my words, because I’m not a real writer, these are things I’ve heard and read from real writers like Stephen King, etc.), that in order to be a good writer, you have to read and read and read and read. And then read some more. Because writers are supposed to wield words, and to do that, you have to know words, you have to live and breathe words. If you don’t read, if you don’t do your research, then you’re just writing gibberish.
The only reason Stephenie Meyer is “successful” is because sex sells. I’m not even going to say that “love sells”, because Bella and Edward’s is most definitely not a love story. How can it be a love story if the only reason Edward “loves” her is because she has the kind of blood that he likes?
Anyway, I mentioned Harry Potter earlier because I was watching interviews of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer on YouTube one after the other and something in particular in the Harry Potter-related interviews caught my attention.
Stephenie Meyer says that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream. She saw a girl and boy in a meadow, and he was sparkling underneath the sun. And because she wanted to know what happened to that boy and girl, she wrote their story, and continued to write their story based on her dreams and fantasies.
For J.K. Rowling, it was during a train ride that Harry Potter just popped into her head. And then she just couldn’t stop thinking about magic.
“It’s the reality [of Harry Potter] that appealed to me. What’s woven into them is a true history of the English folklore and tradition of magic. She (J.K. Rowling) hasn’t made up a magic world, which is simply a great wish list of… “What if she had a dream and it’s gonna come true?” because Harry Potter doesn’t present a world like that.
It’s connected and it comes out of a whole fabric of English history and folklore and mythology. And I’m not in any way trying to push her into a higher literary genre that she herself I’m sure wouldn’t claim to belong to, it’s merely that that’s why it works because things don’t work if they’re a result of feeble-minded fantasy.”
Right. My point exactly.