Since I mentioned attending the movie Twilight with my wife, as well as my interest in reading the books by Stephanie Meyer, I suppose you knew the moment would come when I would tell you if I liked her writing or not. I mean, isn’t that what other writers are supposed to do? Tear apart more successful writers and tell everybody why we’re better?
Well, I’m not better than Stephanie Meyer. If I were, I’d be the famous millionaire cringing when other writers were tearing apart my writing with the same finesse as a gorilla hairdresser.
I have finished Twilight and am now working my way through New Moon. I think I’m qualified to begin commenting on her writing.
Do I like her style of writing? Not really. Do I like her storytelling? Absolutely yes. Do I think she should change her style of writing? No. Why not? Because it is working for her.
You don’t become a best-selling author unless people like to read your books. You also don’t get rich and famous from bookstores buying your books—you get rich and famous from readers buying your books. There are plenty of people out there buying and reading Stephanie Meyer’s books that might not buy those books if the style of her writing suddenly changed.
Does that mean that I think Stephanie Meyer has nothing to learn about writing? I’m going to have to say no here; she has a lot to learn about writing.
First of all, her annoying dialogue attribution tags need to go. I’m tired of hearing her character’s speech described as breathed, admitted, and spluttered. She needs to make friends with the word said. Such a friendly relationship would make many of us readers (and writers) so happy. She also needs to unlearn the use of adverbs. I wish there was a computer program that would BEEP loudly every time the Y key was pressed immediately after the L key. (That last sentence would have BEEPED twice—but her books would have sounded like a fleet of UPS trucks all backing up at the same time.)
So, what does she do right? Plenty. For the most part, her dialogue—aside from her apparent aversion to the word said—is wonderful. It sounds natural and I really believe it. Her characters—and thus her stories—come alive because of her dialogue.
She also knows how to tell a wonderful story—which is why I believe her books are selling so well. Her storytelling is fresh and exciting and I always want to know what is coming next. Does she know how to write? Well, duh! I don’t think there’s any question about that. Numbers don't lie.
I realize there is no way I will ever write like Stephanie Meyer. That’s not good or bad, it’s just the truth. Everybody forms language differently and it’s these differences that make us all interesting. I do, however, think that my writing can be as good as hers, but different in my own way.
As a writer, I know I do some things better than Stephanie Meyer, some things not as good, and yet other things just differently.
As a reader, I’m really enjoying reading her stories—and, as a reader, that’s all that matters, right?