*Warning: Rant Ahead*
I'm going to be very honest here—I'm tired of people knocking on Stephenie Meyer. If you're a writer, you've heard it, so I won't repeat what people say about her here. In fact, this goes for every big name writer, but I feel particularly protective over Stephenie because she's the YA Queen and that's my genre.
First off, I'm just going to put myself in her shoes for a second: I wrote a book—a book I loved with characters that were very close to my heart. I worked very hard on my book. I put my heart and soul into it. My hands shook the first time I gave it to a stranger to read. I was elated and humbled when an agent actually wanted to represent it! Even more shocked when a publisher wanted PUBLISH it! All my dreams had come true.
And people LOVED my book! MY book! I was so touched that people found something in my pages that they connected with. I couldn't have imagined this success! The bestseller list? A movie? Really?
But now things have changed. My own community—the writers—say I'm not good. They say my stories have no literary merit and that my prose is terrible. I'm the butt of every other joke. I have success, but it still hurts. I never said I was a literary writer...I had an idea for a story...and I wrote the story I loved.
Stephenie Meyer is a person, guys. And more than that—she's a writer. Her journey, though it may have been faster than some, is our journey. Remember all those insecurities you feel as a writer? (Is this good enough? Will people like me? Will people love my story? My characters?)
I'm going to use the powers of empathy to say that maybe Meyer feels those very same things. I personally have seen some triumphs (still geeking out that I have a for reals agent), but deep down inside I'm terrified for the moment that someone will call me a hack. Because the little doubt monster in my head says that all the time, and my greatest fear is that it's 100% true.
Shouldn't we, as writers, treat our own with more kindness and respect?
Because secondly, Stephenie Meyer's success is good for all of us. Dude, people are READING because of her. More than that, TEENS are reading because of her. In a world where there are dozens of entertainment outlets at our bored fingertips, we should be grateful to any writer who can convince a person to put down the blackberry and pick up a 500-page book.
And when they finish her epic series—a lot of the times they want to read more from other authors! Holy Hannah! People wanting to read more is never a bad thing. There is a good chance, if you're a YA writer with a published book, that Stephanie got that new fan of yours into the bookstore in the first place.
Not only that, but one could argue that Stephenie put YA on the map. Yes, JK Rowling was there too, but Harry Potter technically started as MG and it didn't have that certain brand of "grit" until the later books. And yes, there were many big authors in YA before Stephenie, but she brought the genre into mainstream entertainment. Uh, that's kind of a big deal, and as a YA writer I'm grateful that people are taking notice of how great YA is now.
Thirdly, I don't care how "bad" her writing is—you know you stayed up until three in the morning to finish all her books. I totally did. You cannot deny their addictive quality, and that, whether you like it or not, takes TALENT to write. How many of you can write a book that readers can't put down? That's the goal, isn't it?
Something about her writing works, and I think we'd all do better to learn from Stephenie rather than make fun of her. I loved the post Megan Rebekah did a while ago: How To Mimic Twilight's Success. So. True.
Because you may not personally like adverbs—but teen girls LOVE adverbs. Like Megan said, when a teen girl says, "Tell me everything," they totally, completely mean it. Girls LOVE details. They want to know exactly how a boy looked at you. They want to analyze every single word and decode the mystery as to why that boy is acting like that. They want to recreate the moment over and over again in their minds—and they never get bored of it. They want forever with a guy (seriously, we're programmed like that from the start). And if that guy is hot, dangerous, and willing to sacrifice everything for them—even better.
Guys, Stephenie wrote the perfect book for her audience. And you can knock it all you want, but I admire her. I admire her ability to capture exactly what a lot of girls feel and want. You might be able to write prose so beautiful it makes angels cry, but what does that matter if you can't grasp an audience and keep them turning pages? Not much, that's for sure.
So there, it's out in the open—I like Stephenie Meyer and I'm not afraid to say it. The Twilight Series is wildly addicting and compelling, and I will be seeing New Moon in theaters. And, gasp, I even liked Breaking Dawn. Was everything perfect? Of course not. But I'm not a perfect writer either and I would hate for people to throw out my whole idea just because I was human.