TWILIGHT - thoughts?

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lmitchell
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by lmitchell » February 20th, 2010, 11:41 am

E McD wrote:
lmitchell wrote:Let me preface my opinion with a confession. I am a Twi-freak. No, seriously. I have read through the entire series of books at least seven times. Do I think they are literary genius? No. Do I see the repetitiveness? Yes. Wordiness? Yes. Sugar-coated gag reflex worthy sappiness? Sure. But I am STILL a Twi-freak. If I were a teenage girl instead of a forty-two year old woman, my bedroom walls would be plastered with over-commericalized headshots of Edward/Robert. *sigh*

I never meant for this to happen. I was minding my own business when my thirteen-year-old daughter brought that infernal paperback home. She gushed and oozed about the characters with such intensity and she gravitated to the book as if it literally called out to her personally. Mindless drivel, I thought. High School vampire sweethearts. Stupid fluff. Then I opened the book.

Within four days I devoured all four books in the series and read through the partial draft of Midnight Sun on Meyer's website. The stupid vampire story leeched its way into my heart and I was officially addicted. (This is where I desperately want to refer to my own personal brand of...no, I just can't do it.) Ah hem...I was addicted. Why?

There had to be some seriously freaky ninja-on-speed publicity genius involved. Big advertising produces big results. That is a given. But what about people like me who had missed all the hype of the book and missed the fact that a movie even existed. How did I imprint on Twilight?

Stephenie Meyer found a niche in the YA market. She hit the literary sweet-tooth of readers with something that produced a frenzied craving, and I believe she did it quite by accident. For me, the intense emotional transparency of her flawed main characters combined with slow-burn sexual tension created a storyline that was irresistable. Edward was a hundred-year-old emotionally-detached virgin and Bella a cynical seventeen-year-old with some serious emotional neediness. Meyer melded them together perfectly and sucked in those of us who adore an ultra-sappy love story.

Call her what you will--word-butcher, sap writer, or literary genius...alas, how I would love to be her.
OMG! Amen, sister. I couldn't have said it better myself. I will confess to you that I visited the REAL Forks, WA last year when I went to Portland for my BFF's wedding. Not kidding. Took pictures, the whole nine yards. My husband sat pouting in the car. Fan girl? Yeah... TWILIGHT is crack, for sure. That's why I'm trying to figure it out. How did it do that?
Well, now it is my turn to confess I have never visited the REAL forks but it is penciled in on my to do list should I ever be in the vicinity. You are absolutely right--TWILIGHT is crack. :)

lmitchell
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by lmitchell » February 20th, 2010, 11:49 am

Leila wrote:Hi lmitchell

Whoops!! So sorry I completely mucked up using the 'quote as a reply' thing. I am clearly a novice at this so sorry. Didn't mean to make it look like I am commenting on my own comments when I was clearly trying to respond to yours!

I hope this makes sense?
Hi Leila,

No prob. :)

You are correct. Technical skills are very important but seem hollow without creative storytelling.

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Lorelei Armstrong
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Lorelei Armstrong » February 20th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Why these sorts of vampire stories work:

Vampires are irresistible. They represent the sexual urge. Young women, teenage women who are just beginning their sexual lives, are facing major, adult decisions. The risks of becoming sexually active are many. Along comes the vampire. There is no risk of ridicule for the choice of the object of desire. Everyone wants the vampire. There is reduced responsibility for wanting the vampire. Everyone wants the vampire. In the usual vampire story, the #1 fear of the sexually active young woman, pregnancy, is not a risk. Instead, you win immortality. Vampires even create envy for the girl the vampire wants. Everyone wants the vampire.

What this series managed is to eliminate three of the major downsides of the usual vampire story: these vampires can be out in the day, they are sexual, they can reproduce. You can have it all! The subservience noted in the story and resented, rightly or wrongly, as a criticism of the LDS, means that other adult decisions about becoming an independent, educated adult in the world, are removed. You don't have to worry about getting into college, getting loans, and picking a major if you are in thrall to the undead.

So there is the three-part trick:

1. Create an exciting adventure that the reader thinks might happen to her.
2. Make the adventure such that all the reader's real-world worries are eliminated, especially the biggie, sex.
3. Make it an adventure that would make her the envy of all her peers.

Hey, presto.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Leila » February 20th, 2010, 2:45 pm

E McD wrote:
Leila wrote:
Ok, so now I've confused you, what do you want to know again I hear you ask? That's fair. What I'm asking is:

a) If her writing is 'craptastic', why did people keep reading it then? Why didn't you put it down and say, 'this book is not for me.
b) How do you define 'craptastic' if you read all four books? or
c) Why label it 'craptastic' if you admit to being sucked into the vortex, taken along for the ride etc. Doesn't that mean the writer found a way to engage even the most hardened of those who read the books?
Leila,
Since I'm assuming I'm one of the people you're referencing...

As I mentioned in my very first post, I was roped in until the very last book. She broke the Suspension of Disbelief - went way out over the ledge in the last book. Without going into spoilers, that's all I can really say. BREAKING DAWN took it somewhere a lot of us just couldn't go (namely imprinting on children). In other words, I was invested in over 2,000 pages before I got the rug pulled out from under me. But I cannot, nor will I ever, deny that it was an incredible ride. The ending, however, was craptastic. I said nothing about the actual quality of her writing, which I agree with you plays second-hand to the ability to tell a riveting story.

Emily -xo
Thanks very much for your reply Emily.

It makes much sense now. I hope I didn't come across as 'having a go' at you or anyone in the forum, I am just genuinely curious about why we make the decisions we do.

Thanks again

Leila

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Leila » February 20th, 2010, 2:49 pm

maybegenius wrote:I'm another who really wasn't pulled in, at all, but I kept reading anyway. I didn't connect with the characters and I thought some of the plot lines were poorly executed. But, admittedly, I have never been a woman who was a big fan of the "perfect, One True Love" man. I didn't like them even as a teen. I always preferred the rough-around-the-edges, possibly poor, smartass sidekick character. Which is weird, because I actually didn't like Jacob, either, but maybe that's because he was also too "perfect" in that "I'll be your best friend, BUT I LOVE YOU, and I'm incredibly ripped and good-looking and will adore you unconditionally even after you stomp on my heart over and over" way. I don't like Mr. Darcy, either. LOL.

Anyway... I read the first three books and got a little way into the fourth before I gave up. I probably would have stopped reading after the first, but I'd already bought the second. Why did I keep reading, even though it wasn't my cup of tea? Primarily because they were so popular, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was waiting to be converted, I guess. YA is the market I want to write for, so I like to keep up on what's being published and purchased in that market.

Thanks very much for responding. Again it makes much sense now.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Nick » February 20th, 2010, 3:08 pm

Lorelei Armstrong wrote:A theory for the success of an equally good book:

"A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it."

—The Economist
Well hey now, someone's talking sense. Someone give whoever wrote that a raise.

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E McD
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by E McD » February 20th, 2010, 5:19 pm

Leila wrote:
E McD wrote:
Leila wrote:
Thanks very much for your reply Emily.

It makes much sense now. I hope I didn't come across as 'having a go' at you or anyone in the forum, I am just genuinely curious about why we make the decisions we do.

Thanks again

Leila
You're fine! :) With debate comes new perspective. What's the fun in us all feeling the same way?

Best to you.
-Emily McDaniel

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Yvonne Isaak-Andrews » February 20th, 2010, 10:59 pm

Many of the posts here are mentioning the sexuality/romance of the vampire mythos. This is definitely the case nowadays, but it wasn't always this way. Vampires used to be straightforward monsters: as seen in "Nosferatu," and even as late as "Salem's Lot."

So when would you all say the seduction/romance aspect was introduced into the vampire mythos? Was it with "Interview with a Vampire?" Or earlier?

Yvonne

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christi
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by christi » February 20th, 2010, 11:28 pm

My earliest memory of vampires being sexy and seductive was the movie "Love at First Bite." It was silly and fun, but Dracula was irresistable.

Also some movies from the 80s like "Once Bitten" and "Fright Night" plus Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is supposed to be vamp-ish, right? And she's been around a couple of decades. I'm not sure when Anne Rice got started or became popular.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by pastichepen » February 20th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Despite being annoyed by some aspects of the book, I really, really liked the first book. It was fun.

::shrug::

A few reasons why I think it was successful:

1. The mystery combined with the romance.
2. The romance is intense. Bella is this weird teenage girl with no real past except a nanny complex due to an irresponsible mother, who is determined to figure out this vampire.
3. There's a lot of dialog and banter, which I think is key for teen novels. It was a fast read. Of the vampire novels out right now, I think it was the fastest read. I think it's better paced than the first couple Sookie Stackhouse books, definitely.
4. The covers are dark and pretty. Shiny. The first one with the apple is especially compelling. Original sin and all. It definitely caught my eye in the book store.
5. I think the timing was just right. The early to mid-90's Interview with a Vampire craze had died down, Ann Rice had move on to Jesus, and people were ready to rethink vampires.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Leila » February 21st, 2010, 12:01 am

quote="E McD"]

You're fine! :) With debate comes new perspective. What's the fun in us all feeling the same way?

Best to you.[/quote][/quote][/quote]


Thanks Emily!

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Lorelei Armstrong
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Lorelei Armstrong » February 21st, 2010, 12:50 am

Vampires have always equalled the sexual urge, since they were invented. I'd say Anne Rice did much to make them sexy in the common vernacular. In another generation, someone else will trot out a vampire book that will attract the attention of young people. They will swoon, and their parents will roll their eyes. Ever thus.

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dkj63
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by dkj63 » February 21st, 2010, 2:49 am

taylormillgirl wrote: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 have to agree. I would love to see that study.
Having said that, I haven't read it and don't plan to.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by CoachMT » February 21st, 2010, 11:30 am

My question is: If the writing is so technically bad, how did this thing ever get published in the first place? Where were the editors screaming, "OMG! Enough with the adverbs already, Tom Swiftly!" I mean, many of us write, rewrite, then rewrite some more— then the editor comes along and smacks us upside the head.

A guess would be that a savvy marketing department saw a need and filled it as fast as they possibly could, bypassing the normal editorial process. Right place, right time for the author— boom! But what are your thoughts? As someone who is struggling to be noticed by an agent, it's frustrating when unpolished work somehow rises up and dangles its participles in my face.

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maybegenius
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by maybegenius » February 21st, 2010, 12:49 pm

CoachMT wrote:My question is: If the writing is so technically bad, how did this thing ever get published in the first place? Where were the editors screaming, "OMG! Enough with the adverbs already, Tom Swiftly!" I mean, many of us write, rewrite, then rewrite some more— then the editor comes along and smacks us upside the head.

A guess would be that a savvy marketing department saw a need and filled it as fast as they possibly could, bypassing the normal editorial process. Right place, right time for the author— boom! But what are your thoughts? As someone who is struggling to be noticed by an agent, it's frustrating when unpolished work somehow rises up and dangles its participles in my face.
I think it does largely depend on "right person, right time, right editor," but though we're told that our story has to be 95% ready for publication before it's even considered, I do think some agents and editors are willing to fudge what they deem more and less important in a manuscript. I think some are probably okay with overlooking grammar and certain flaws (such as over-description) if they feel the story has a complete and compelling plot, and that enough of the audience will be unconcerned with the technical flaws because they're so interested in the characters and storytelling. Dan Brown has similar issues - cheesy dialogue, info dumps, technical issues - but he writes stories that sell millions of copies. I think some are just willing to take a gamble that the intended audience isn't going to get hung up on that sort of thing.

It is hard to swallow sometimes when those of us that want to succeed are being told some variation of "your manuscript must be polished and near-perfect before anyone will even TOUCH it", but then we see books published that are clearly breaking the "rules." But I imagine many of those books sell anyway, because the publisher is confident that people will buy it for the story.
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