Let’s Have a Fast: Stephanie Meyer Did Nothing Wrong

Let’s humanize the author of Twilight

Note: This post may be edited in the future to add more detail and accuracy.

Stephanie Meyer wrote the Twilight Series. Twilight was loved by many. Twilight was hated by many many others. Twilight was hated for many reasons. This is not an exhaustive list but I may update it:

  • The main character Bella Swan is a ‘Mary Sue’
  • The main character Bella Swan is a bad role model for girls
  • The story’s concept of vampires ruins the idea of vampires
  • The other characters are unrealistic
  • The story is not well-written
  • The story depicts abusive relationships as romantic and acceptable
  • Everything to do with Stephanie Meyer as a person

For the purpose of what I’m trying to talk about, we are going to have a fast from these opinionated thought-nuggets about Twilight

I repeat, for the purpose of THIS post, any thought-nuggets regarding the opinions of the book are temporarily irrelevant. We are going to have a fast from these thought-nuggets. Just for a little bit.

Don’t worry, we can break our fast and have the shawarma feast iftar later. I promise there will be a bowel of Twilight Thought-nuggets at the table.

The reason I need to isolate these opinions is that I want to create a simulation of how I felt when I discovered Stephanie’s intentions while writing Twilight.

 

ShawarmaHead’s History with Twilight

You see back in 2008, I had heard a lot about Twilight. I even read the first book out of curiosity. I was also among the many who didn’t like it. But it wasn’t for any fortified evidence-based reason. I just didn’t like the series for the same reason I didn’t like ANY novel with kissing, romance and other embarrassing things like that.

As you might I have guessed, yes I was also 12 years old when I had this opinion.

But as I grew up laughing at good Twilight jokes generated from the mobs of hate. I became more… confused. I understood the criticisms directed at the series. But I also recognized the unsophisticated, irrational hatred that brewed those criticisms in the first place. I even echoed that hatred…LOUDLY. But whenever I did, I always felt like I wasn’t being true to the other thought-nuggets I had about the novels. The ones that were flavored with more curiosity rather than irrational hate.

 

Before being influenced by Twilight Hate

I remember the brief time period I had as a 12-year old that wasn’t aware that Twilight was being criticised. The brief period in which I wasn’t influenced by those opinions. I remember that I still didn’t like Twilight. But I also remember being somewhat charmed by the ideas Stephanie presented in the novel in regards to her concept of vampires and how they lived. I also didn’t have much of an issue with the main character Bella Swan (Though I did later on).

 

Writer to Writer

But as I grew older (and still didn’t like kissing and romance), I became more acquainted with creative writing through my own experience as an amateur writer. So as a result, I also became more curious about the author of Twilight herself, Stephanie Meyer and who she was as a person.

I had plenty of negative information describing Stephanie’s disposition. But I wanted to make my own judgment about her. I watched a few interviews and could feel my twilight-hate trained mind already cringing. ‘Why isn’t she concerned about this?’ ‘She should have done this better’. ‘This should have been a more intelligent book’.

“Maybe I could have done a better job.”

All of these expectations echoed in my head. But I was also conflicted because I didn’t like the way I was behaving. I knew deep down that I was missing something. Then, during her interview with TIME Magazine in 2008, Stephanie said something that made ALL of my very well-constructed suggestions regarding the novel just… melt away.

 

I didn’t write these books specifically for the YA audience, I wrote them for me. I don’t really know why they span the ages so well. But I find it really comforting that a lot of 30-somethings like myself with kids respond to them too so I know that it’s not just that I’m a 15 year old on the inside. There’s an audience that’s the same age as me and grandmas reading it too. It’s really nice to think that there’s a wider appeal than just what exactly I wrote it for” – Stephanie Meyer, TIME MAGAZINE, 2008

You can watch the full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=_17kgVcHzy8

 

The Reality

Stephanie Meyer NEVER INTENDED TO CREATE A MASTERPIECE. Twilight wasn’t just Stephanie’s first published work. It was her first story PERIOD [1]. The story she wrote just happened to attract so many people.

As for the writing quality and the believability of the characters. Once again, Stephanie Meyer was an amateur writer. Yes, she did read quite a bit. But, as with most if not ALL amateur writers (Including myself), the first story you write will, more often than not, be very self-serving. Your ideas could be good, but your execution will be poor.

In the case of Twilight, Stephanie Meyer’s writing style is very singular. This was not a story written with her audience in mind.

 

She even states this herself [2]:

Interviewer: “So as a writer to you always have a reader in mind?”
Stephanie Meyer: “Me, always. I just never think about anything else when I’m writing, it’s always about the story. If I stop to think about what someone else would think about this section or how the people are going to respond to this one, I wouldn’t be able to get a word on the page.”

You can watch the full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=_17kgVcHzy8

 

This was a story written for the sake of pure self-expression.

Stephanie Meyer simply used writing as a medium to recapture the feelings she experienced in her dream. Remember that Twilight was based on a dream Stephanie had? The one that the meadow scene was based on? I’m not sure many did.

meadow-scene
The Meadow Scene

The inspiration for the novel has nothing more than a need to recreate the strong feelings she experienced in the infamous dream she had prior to writing the book.

Here’s some chocolate for ya:  The first scene she wrote WAS the meadow scene. Chapter 13. All the happenings before that scene (e.g. Bella moving to Forks, Bella’s first day of school) were written afterward.

” I started from the scene in the meadow and wrote through to the end. Then I went back to the beginning and wrote until the pieces matched up” [3]

The story’s execution could have definitely improved. But her ideas had potential. YES, even the ‘sparkling vampire’ part. Every idea has potential. How creatively and effectively you execute that idea is what matters. But then again, maybe I am not in a good position to assign any value to her ideas? This IS a book that sat for 181 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List [4]

I will definitely add more nuggets to the feast. But as for right now, just give this one a chew. I know its new and the flavor may not be to your exact taste, but you might find it very edible if you give it a chance.

I have plenty more to say on the matter. Including discussions on how this could inform the approach we ALL have to consume good dishes.

I am not relying on your logic right now to convince you that Stephanie Meyer did nothing out of the ordinary in regards to writing a story. I am appealing to your common sense.

I am NOT saying Twilight should be exempt from criticism. Honestly, I don’t think Twilight got ANY fair criticism. All it got was irrational hate masquerading as criticism. We were all so focused on how much we hated it that we forgot that this story, like every other piece of media, CAN BE IMPROVED. Twilight was Stephanie Meyer’s great success. This novel could have been the beginning of growth for some more well-crafted dishes from this author (And still can).

I’m not sure what Stephanie is up to these days. But I hope she’s working on something else. I want an opportunity to actually consume her fiction with a good shawarmahead on my shoulders.

 

References

[1] http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/11/18/o.twilight.newmoon.meyer/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=_17kgVcHzy8

[3] https://stepheniemeyer.com/the-story-of-twilight-getting-published/

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/2011/02/06/series-books/

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