I hope you had an awesome July 4! I did and then some. Spent the day with the lovely Mia and spotted this picture of Kristen Stewart catching up on the latest edition of the Oz Chronicles, The Land of the Dead. Oddly enough, I spotted it after I created it in Photoshop!
Why are the Twilight books so popular? I can speculate, and I will since this is my blog. I have never read the books. I tried. I bought the first one and couldn’t get past page 100. I am making no judgment on Stephenie Meyer. I’ve lived long enough to know that tastes vary, and I’m not always going to agree with the majority. It is what it is. Just because I don’t care for her style or the books doesn’t mean they are bad.
I have several adult friends who are in love with the Twilight series, and they know I am not a fan. They’ve tried to convince me that I should read them because I write young adult fiction. But reading a popular book to try and emulate it is a pointless endeavor. I’ll explain why in a bit, but let’s get back to my adult friends who read the Twilight books. When I ask them what they like about the novels, the most common response I get is “I don’t know.”
“The writing?” I ask.
“No, the writing isn’t really that great,” they answer.
“Not really. It’s been done before. Awkward girl falls in love with the bad boy. Bad boy has a heart of gold. Awkward girl gets in trouble. Bad boy comes to the rescue. Awkward girl demonstrates a surprisingly strong side. Bad boy demonstrates a surprisingly tender side. It’s kind of like Grease, but with vampires.”
“No, they’re pretty thin and clichéd.”
“There has to be something about the book you like. What is it?”
“They’re just fun to read.”
And that brings me to why one author can’t effectively copy another author’s success just by writing the same type of book. You have to enjoy what you write in order for someone to enjoy what you read. I can’t explain it or prove it, but there is a magical element that occurs when writing from a place of utter absorption… from a place where you’re no longer self-aware. You are simply enjoying the experience of telling the story. That can’t be faked. It has to be genuine.
Those of us who write in the English language are all using the same basic set of words and rules. Sometimes we’re even placing the words in the same order on the page. So, writing well has to be more than using the language in a clever manner. Writing well isn’t about writing at all. As corny as it sounds, it’s about living the words on the page as you write them. It is a wholly metaphysical event.
So, maybe that does explain why the Twilight books are so popular. Maybe it’s because Stephenie Meyer didn’t write them at all. She lived the words.
Been busy writing today. No time to post my usually fascinating and witty remarks about everything that is important on the planet! Instead I leave you with a quick hello (leaving with a hello is a very tricky maneuver. Please do not attempt this yourself. It could leave you dain bramaged… Damn!)… anyway here’s a story about vampires and venice. Enjoy. BTW – My favorite line from this story – “Vampires don’t exist, but studies show people at the time believed they did,” said Matteo Borrini. Really, Matteo? Vampires don’t exist? Thanks for the heads up, buddy. Don’t know what I’m going to do with all this holy water and garlic, but beats having to fight off creatures of the night any day of the week.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the first episode of TrueBlood for rent at my local Blockbuster. It is a promotional copy which means it is watermarked with HBO’s logo in the middle of the screen, and annoying reminders pop up at the bottom of the screen every 15 minutes reminding you that your watching a promotional copy. But beyond these technical annoyances, I am happy to report that it is yet another excellent original TV series created by the folks at HBO. In case you haven’t heard, the premise of the program is that vampires have come out of the coffin, so to speak. They are undead and living among us. They claim not to be the blood thirsty killers we’ve all grown to loathe and fear. True they need blood to survive, but thanks to a synthetic blood invented by the Japanese, they have no reason to suck the blood of humans. The show documents the vampires’ struggle to fit into society. They are even fighting for a vampire equal rights bill in congress.
TrueBlood is Buffy the Vampire Slayer on steroids. There’s a plucky waitress with psychic abilities and a mean left hook. There’s a pale and brooding vampire who takes an immediate liking to the pretty blonde waitress who saves his life. There’s a supporting cast that includes a foul-mouthed best friend, an over-sexed brother, a bartender who owns a bar and an unrequited love for his head waitress. And there are baddies – rednecks with an addiction for vampire blood.
I’m not a big vampire fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Be warned, this is a series for adults, there is sex, nudity, blood, and violence. It is not for the kiddies. The show is based on novelist Charlaine Harris’ world of vampires.
TrueBlood – 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Premiers September 7, at 9:00 PM EST
*** Don’t forget to take the Vampire Poll
Get ready for the next Young Adult book-to-movie phenomenon. Stephanie Meyer created a runaway hit with her Twilight books, and that bodes well for the rest of us who write YA fiction. She’s making the publishing companies fat, rich, and happy. That means they will be looking for more material to grow fatter, richer, and happier on. Thank you Stephanie Meyer!