22 November 2011

Oh, so very very mad

OK. This may not be a well-written post. It may not make a lot of sense, being that it's 2AM, I'm exhausted, and I just want to curl into a ball and sleep.

But you see, my loves, I'm angry. I really need to just stop reading things on the internet, but for some reason I keep going. And as a result, found this article: http://ideas.time.com/2011/11/21/the-harsh-bigotry-of-twilight-haters/?xid=gonewsedit&google_editors_picks=true

Yes, you can see it in the title of the article. This isn't a diatribe about how much I dislike Twilight. I think most of you are well aware of that by now. One of the issues I have with the article isn't even in the article itself; it's in the comments.

In defense of the writing (which I've bitched about almost as much as I've bitched about Bella), someone had the ovaries to suggest that it's okay for the writing to be awful because it's "for teens."

I will wait for you to stop throwing things. Don't throw your computer. I have more to say.

I've read a LOT of YA in the last year or so. Some of my close friends write YA. Brilliant YA. Fun YA. Romantic YA.

And they write it well. Incredibly well. There are twists and turns that keep readers guessing. There are love triangles that are fabulously well done (Aiden/Alexandra/Seth from Half-Blood is one of my faves, the other being Zenn/Vi/Jag from Possession). One of my favorite recent romances is Alexi and Percy from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. There's fabulous writing. There's wit. There's lots of fantabulous goodness that rivals any adult book on the shelves.

So no. It's not okay to think Twlight's poorly-written prose is passable because it's written for teens. That's not okay at all. YA books should TRY HARDER because of their target audience. Teens are learning not only about themselves but about writing. Granted, I read adult-targeted books when I was a teenager. I actually wasn't aware of the YA section of the bookstore until a while back. I read the classics, and I read Anne Rice. That's actually part of where I learned to write and how I chose what I wanted my voice to be like. In the same vein, teens reading YA now (and there are a LOT of them) who look to start writing or enjoy writing are still developing their voices. They will read and absorb the authors' voices and prose and styles. Reading is how people learn to write. I personally think Tolkien was not a good writer. LOTR drags. But the characters and story are compelling enough to keep going. I hated Stoker's Dracula. To me, it was horrendously boring and a perfectly good waste of an ending.

But Divergent? Half-Blood? Percy? Oh yes. Give me those books. They're thought-out, clever, romantic (no stalking involved), and involve female MCs who actually push the action. Not every heroine has to be a clever, witty, kick-ass heroine. Percy Parker is not any of those things. She's shy and she's quiet and I love her. I identify with her. I don't require a sassy heroine. However, I do require a main character--male or female--who tries to change things. Who pushes the action. Who doesn't just sit around and mope when something goes wrong. Who is tofu. I promise I'll post on tofu characters soon.

Regardless of your genre, regardless of your target audience, regardless of your intent, there is NO reason for your book to be poorly written. None. You are not allowed to cop out.


Alix said...

*standing applause*

Pippa Jay said...

I keep seeing these debates about Twilight but stay out of them. I've never seen the films or read the books. I almost watched the first when it came on tv simply to see what all the fuss was about, but it didn't bother me when I forgot about it and missed it.

But there is NO excuse for poor writing, whoever the book is targeted at. To say that it doesn't matter because the book is aimed at teens is saying 'we don't care if you read total c**p.' :-/

agirlintheworld said...

I could forgive the terrible writing if it wasn't a terribly written book about an abusive asshole and his need to control his girlfriend-turned-wife that became a worldwide sensation.

I do think the books bring up themes YAs and adults alike need to face, but Meyers makes you face them in the worst way possible. Boyfriend breaks up with you? Try to kill yourself and he'll come back. Want sex, but your SO won't agree to it until marriage? Get married even though you don't want to.

I've essayed many, many times about the celebrated "themes" of this series and how its ruining females today. I'll try not to turn this comment into another one.

In conclusion, I'd rather read "Baby-Sitter's Club" than "Twilight."

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I read the Twilight series and didn't HATE the books, but I wasn't really reading them as a writer--but as a mother of teens, I was pretty offended at Bella's woe is me crap, wallowing around because her chilly boyfriend left her...dude. Totally go for the warm blooded one.

But whatever.

Again, as a mother of teens, I TOTALLY agree that YA fiction should be required to have the best grammar and writing available. My daughter is starting to write and she mimics the style of the writers she likes.

As for the older stuff, like Dracula and the Lord of the Rings? I thought they were pretty boring...but I am reading them from a different perspective than a contemporary of the author...a lot of older literature puts me to sleep!

lexcade said...

I have a love for Victorian-era literature. The darker the better. I like fun reads, too. The Roeckers' Liar Society is a fun YA read, well-written, punchy, with a great mystery.

However, now, when I read things, I read them as a writer. My inner editor has her red pen ready to go, and Twilight is poorly edited. For four books. It's also poorly written. For four books. For me, it partly has the True Blood effect--where the supporting characters are a helluva lot more interesting than the main players. Bella and Edward are droll and toxic to each other. Bella doesn't change over the course of her arc (one of the ABSOLUTES of writing fiction) because just turning into a vampire doesn't count. She remains as uninteresting in Breaking Dawn as she was in Twilight. She's selfish, manipulative, and basically lives for a pat on the head from Edward and a "good human." Edward's no better. Hell, Jacob's no better. As a writer, this offends me deeply even before getting into the story.

Maybe part of it's unfair--there's girls who read this and know better, know that there's better than Edward and better than Jacob. Reading Twilight can give a girl a sense of what she doesn't want in a man. I don't want a stalker, and I don't want a puppy. I want a MAN. None of the relationships in this damn book are healthy. They're all based on some strange need or someone's life being saved by being turned. I just can't wrap my head around most of it.

agirlintheworld said...

I'm curious about your thoughts on Jacob.

lexcade said...

Janne, I'll email you. It's a little too long for a comment.

agirlintheworld said...

Roger that!

Lisa Fox said...

An excellent post!

I have not read the Twilight stories so I can't comment on that writing, but I have often wondered how terribly written books can become such blockbusters. The Da Vinci Code is a prime example.

Charlotte said...

I read to be entertained, not educated.

Give me a grammatically incorrect, typo riddled, controversial story that makes me feel something over a dry, perfectly written essay with politically correct ideology any day.

But when I find a story that is both well written and entertaining ... I'm in heaven.

I loved "Hunger Games" "Divergent" and "Twilight."