TWILIGHT - thoughts?

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TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby E McD » 16 Feb 2010, 18:06

So, what in your humble opinion made TWILIGHT so successful? Star-crossed lovers? Teen angst? Temptation personified? This forum houses so many great minds, I'd love to hear what you think made it explode. What has she got that we don't have?

Somehow, Stephenie Meyer bottled and sold what it felt like to fall in love for the first time. I was totally sucked in all the way up to BREAKING DAWN. (I don't want to spoil the craptastic finale.)

What about y'all? If we're looking to learn from it as writers, what was the lesson? And can we all agree that vampires are played out? Please?
Last edited by E McD on 16 Feb 2010, 18:40, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby taylormillgirl » 16 Feb 2010, 18:19

You posted a major spoiler...just sayin'. And I agree that Breaking Dawn was a train wreck, but I won't digress.

I would LOVE for a group of shrinks to read and analyze the Twilight series and tell me why so many women, myself included, got sucked in. I honestly don't know why. Was it the romance? Perhaps, but I've read plenty of other romantic novels that didn't grab me. And ditto on the forbidden love. When I read this series last year, it was-- quite literally-- all I could think about for weeks. Madness!

Thank God I recovered.

Now when I pick up Twilight and thumb through it, all I see are adverbs everywhere. It no longer holds any appeal for me.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby E McD » 16 Feb 2010, 18:37

Oops, sorry! I edited my comment to hide the spoiler. Good call!
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby Nick » 16 Feb 2010, 18:45

~ahem~ This is perhaps a subject best not broached with me. I could, very gladly would, and many times gladly have delved into my reasons for disliking it, but suffice it to say that at the end of the day my feelings are that of a mixture of disappointment and contempt. Contempt, for so much about it which I shall not go into here, save one of you bids me so. Disappointment, for it takes a concept which has been applied occasionally with moderate success and seeks to update it while simultaneously blending it with the classics -- something which could have been such genius, but through the very things which bring me to hate it, it crashes and burns until it is naught but ash before mine eyes. And I know not why it is I am talking like this tonight, but I suspect the behavior shall carry for quite some time.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby E McD » 16 Feb 2010, 18:53

I don't know, but I think I'm kinda liking the "new" Nick. LOL

There is something that verges on the notion of "cheating" when an author updates a successful story (ROMEO & JULIET and/or WUTHERING HEIGHTS). It's like standing on the shoulders of geniuses.

But I'm probably just bitter, and like I said, I confess I drank the TWILIGHT juice for quite some time. I can see where it would've been harder for a guy to dig it.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby Nick » 16 Feb 2010, 19:11

Being a man, I think, has little bearing upon it. Indeed, I much prefer stories in which romance is not the driving factor, but I have enjoyed many romances before -- to be fair, many, if not all, of them were classics, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. However I shall I do not think Twilight does "stand upon the shoulders" of the classics, as you say. Nay, I think it is but Meyer's own delusions which have lead her to claim her series is a sort of modern take upon the various classics. I can see little connection betwixt any of them and their stories beyond the most tenuous of grips. Where, in Twilight, is Pride and Prejudice? Where, in Eclipse, is Wuthering Heights? I think perhaps her fanaticism for such works inspired her to write what she did, or played a helping hand in the inspiration, but it were sheer fantasy which derived such comparisons, and for reasons which my mind either cannot or does not wish to fathom, such fantasies caught on.

One of many points of contention I take is her claim of it being a tale of "love, not lust". While I confess I have not read the whole series -- I read all of Twilight and thought it was terrible, but thinking there was possibility she improved with each passing book, I read a little of New Moon and glanced through Eclipse -- it is apparent to me that her stories are in fact quite the opposite. Her stories are instead the same puerile tomfoolery which builds the relationship of every man mine own age, from the time I were thirteen and even well to now. Her novels, if we may dare to call them that, are drenched in the seeping filth of lust, and I can find but a few wilted petals of romance upon them. This is of course no surprise. The books, if we opine to name them so, are in fact the product of lust. Think, how it is that they came into being. Think, how it is that Bella is, at the end of the day, nothing more than one of the most blatant examples of Mary Sue literature hath ever produced. Think about her choice of words. Robert Pattinson himself once said something which I feel quite summarizes the meat of the novel: "When you read the book, it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything." And of course there's this one as well: "When I read it ... I was convinced that Stephenie was convinced that she was Bella, and ... it was like it was a book that wasn't supposed to be published, like reading her — her sort of sexual fantasy about some — especially when she says that it was based on a dream, and it's like, "Oh, then I had a dream about this really sexy guy" and she just writes this book about it, and there's some things about Edward that are just so specific that ... I was just convinced that this woman is mad, she's completely mad, and she's in love with her own fictional creation. And I sometimes ... feel uncomfortable reading this thing, and I think a lot of people feel the same way, that it's kind of voyeuristic ... It creates this sick pleasure in a lot of ways."

And here, for now at least, I shall hold my tongue, lest I rant and ramble well through the week until I am swimming in my vitriol.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby JustineDell » 16 Feb 2010, 19:20

If I got started on Twilight, I would go on for hours...and hours...and hours.

How is 'love story' about a helpless heroine and a controling hero appealing? Seriously, if your daughter if brought home a guy like Edward, you would be afraid, forget the vampire part. I understand that young love is very different and obsessive and that type of way - after all, I was young and in love once to.

With that being said, yes, I totally got sucked into Twilight after watching the move first. But, after reading it once and then again I changed my tune about the story, it's characters, the theme, and above all - the writing.

Oh, I know she's sold millions and millions of copies and yes, I'm jealous. But the one thing that bothers is that fact that she repeatedly did what us romance writers are told not to do. Over describe hero attributes (again, and again, and again, and again). It may be a YA thing, I don't know - I don't read enough of it. But my gag relfex started after reading so many times about Edwards long cold fingers, or his liquid topaz eyes.

And Bella is not a heroine by romance standards. Again, it may be YA thing.

I can tell you what Stephanie Meyer did right: she found a niche that hadn't been filled. And she filled it - big time. An intriquing and complicated love story that pulled young readers (and adults alike) into a story about the unattainable guy that the average girl snagged. If you dig deeper into the relationship, it's not really a good/healthy one, but I digress.

Check out my blog to see how Twilight changed my life, I'm big enough to admit it - but I'm still sticking my head in the sand:

http://justine-dell.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... iting.html

Stephanie played on teenagers inner emotions. The need to be wanted, needed, accepted eventhough you are different, loved in a way that that only that special someone can (eventhough it's not real). Playing on what you want but never can have; your deepest longing to have the unknown. Obsession. Kudos to her for a job well done.

But, I thought the first book was a train wreck. New Moon was better. Eclipse was my favorite and Breaking Dawn is in a league all it's own. For those of you who have read it, you know what I mean ;-)

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby tameson » 16 Feb 2010, 19:45

I am a chick and I hated twilight. As a woman, as a writer, as a feminist, as a fantasy lover, as a person with a brain- on all those levels I despised the book. I tried to see beyond the awful and see what my friends loved, but I am incapable. I did occasionally see sparks of potential, but that just made it worse, because the potential was so wasted.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby E McD » 16 Feb 2010, 19:51

So, let me see if I got this right...

Recipe for YA paranormal romance success
1 super hot angsty indie stalker dude (preferrably aloof and unaware of his awesomeness)
1 self-insertable generic first person POV female protagonist
1 believable reason why they can't/shouldn't be together
1/4 cup PG-13 voyeurism
2/3 cup forbidden love
1 tbsp. conflict
And a dash of wish-fulfillment?

Stir. Broil to explosion.

...If only it were THAT easy. *sigh*
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby Lorelei Armstrong » 16 Feb 2010, 20:21

I couldn't get pass the craptastic writing.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby maybegenius » 16 Feb 2010, 20:38

I honestly think Twilight was a one-time thing, and I think it's near impossible to analyze the biggies with a huge fandom in a way that makes sense. You could write a series with the formula of Twilight, and it will not sell nearly as well. When we compare Harry Potter to Twilight... what is similar? Very, very little. Yet both were hugely successful series. It was a combination of connecting with an audience, creating a passably unique story, lots of kick-ass publicity from the publishers, and pure luck.

I had actually heard about Twilight before the series blew up - I saw it in the bookstore and noticed that it had a blurb about being the "next Harry Potter." This piqued my interest, of course, but I didn't pick it up at the time (I think I probably had already picked my quota of new books for that visit). When the series started gaining popularity, I figured maybe it WAS the next HP. Two friends, who are very bright women that I respect very much, recommended the series to me. So I picked up the first two books expecting to be blown away, and wasn't.

I could go on about exactly why I didn't get sucked in, but suffice to say that I think Meyer has taken her fair share of lumps from the writing community and that I feel kind of bad for her over it. I used to be in the Twilight-bashing brigade, but I got over it when I looked at it from a different angle. She obviously wrote a story that she cared deeply about, and while I personally didn't find it appealing, I can't blame her for her success. She couldn't have set out knowing that she was going to make millions off of this idea she had, and she didn't ask for it. I'm sure she would have been overjoyed to make a reasonable advance and royalties.

I think so many writers (myself included!) get obsessed with Meyer because she 1.) broke so many of the writing "rules" that we all know and trust, 2.) isn't the best writer, and 3.) wrote an idea that is somewhat original (sparklepires, who knew?) but not out of this world original. And she was wildly successful anyway. Plus there was her whole "overnight success" story - wrote it in three months, shopped agents, got fished out of the slush by an assistant, signed for a huge advance, and published in almost no time at all (relatively speaking). We want to know WHY. And HOW. But it's futile.

Why did Twilight blow up off the charts where there are any number of other paranormal YA romances featuring an average girl heroine and an unbelievably handsome hero? Who knows. It was just in the cards for her. And for all we know, the next mega-hit YA or MG could be something completely different.

I think the one commonality between the big sellers is that they feature a run-of-the-mill kid who finds out that they're actually very, very special. Whether it's because they're the "chosen one," or the one true love of a gorgeous vampire that has never loved before.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby Holly » 17 Feb 2010, 00:13

E McD wrote:So, what in your humble opinion made TWILIGHT so successful? Star-crossed lovers? Teen angst? Temptation personified? This forum houses so many great minds, I'd love to hear what you think made it explode. What has she got that we don't have?

Somehow, Stephenie Meyer bottled and sold what it felt like to fall in love for the first time. I was totally sucked in all the way up to BREAKING DAWN. (I don't want to spoil the craptastic finale.)

What about y'all? If we're looking to learn from it as writers, what was the lesson? And can we all agree that vampires are played out? Please?


I picked up Twilight in the drugstore. I figured it was my business to read it since it's a publishing phenomenon.

The first book sucked me in. Meyer captured what it's like to fall in love for the first time. When I got about three-fourths of the way in, though, the book bored me so much I stopped reading it.

However --and this is important -- the first book is readable. Even though the writing is not very good, you can follow the story. It's clear, it's romantic, and it moves along. I buy a lot of books, all kinds of books, books that I don't read for pleasure, but just to see what's out there, see what publishers are buying, and a lot them are just not readable. They're dull, swimming in backstory or floundering in crappy, never-ending dialogue, etc.

I bought the second book, New Moon, and only read two pages. New Moon has the worst writing I've ever seen in any book anywhere, period. It's just like the terrible writing you would see in a writing class from some poor housewife who's never put a pen to paper in her life.

I think the series really took off because of the movie. The movie was dumb and dull with a lot of ham-acting, but the actors are popular. It's a movie for fans.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby hannah_dreamergirl_3 » 17 Feb 2010, 03:11

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the twilight books - but I am 16 and am madly in love with Edward, so that might make biased.

What makes them so successful?
Bella is sooooo real and Meyer makes all of these amazingly wonderful things possible. You want to be in the book and her writing flows in a way which makes the reader, the character for a while.

Sorry, I just LOVE them!
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby christi » 17 Feb 2010, 16:14

It could be said that my loathing of Twilight is just as unbalanced as the 'hero' of the story.

My oldest daughter brought home Twilight when she was 14. She loved it. Raved about it. Begged me to read it. I wasn't interested in the slightest, but I thought it could be a mother/daughter bonding thing. So, I borrowed the book.

I made it to page 8.

The problem could be I was never a typical teenager. I was an old soul and was more likely to be hanging around the teachers, people in their 20s, or my parents' friends than I was girls of my own age. So, perhaps the book crashed and burned with me because I could not relate.

Not only did the 'heroine' bother the crap out of me the way she prattled on about things (in her own very self-absorbed way), but the writing made my teeth clench painfully. Now, I'm just as unpublished as the next guy/gal, and I'm sure there's thousands of people who can write better than me, but that doesn't mean that I can't spot crappy writing when I see it.

Not only that, but I had my fill of high school girl meets hawt vampire fill with the Buffy and Angel series. I loved these shows, and own all the seasons of both. The difference is in the writing, however. There's no one like Joss Whedon.

Am I jealous of Meyer? My friends and family (all who adore the series) say that. Would I want her money? Yes. Would I want her fame? Hell no. What a burden. Would I want that level of success? Not if my legacy was a crappily written book about a seriously unbalanced relationship, narcissism, half-ass suicide notions, and shallow impulses.

I would like to do 'well.' That is the height of my ambition. I don't want to be a household name or for people to recognize me when I'm at the store in my PJs. All I want is to be published, to have some manner of proof that I don't suck.

But being published isn't necessarily a ward against suckage. Look at Twilight.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Postby JustineDell » 17 Feb 2010, 17:24

christi wrote:
to have some manner of proof that I don't suck.

But being published isn't necessarily a ward against suckage. Look at Twilight.


Both very good points. A round of digital margaritas for you!!

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