I am a (mostly) unashamed fan of Twilight. But maybe not for the same reasons that most lady-folk love it. Edward is certainly appealing. Jacob has a special place in my heart. The stories are interestingly plotted with pretty good pacing (except for the last book which is great in a lot of ways, but is way off pacing wise, IMHO). Bella makes me insane because she doesn’t deserve Edward or Jacob.

But what has drawn me into this series is one simple question: why do I like this so much? Meyer does something with a great amount of skill, otherwise these books would never have taken off as they have. Nor would I have given in to the media hype surrounding it and read the whole thing. Twice. But you can’t compare these books to the Harry Potter series. They aren’t in the same league – not even close. Rowling has nailed character, plot, pacing, dialogue, imagery, description… every detail works. And while I can’t say that Meyer has nailed every aspect of her writing, it does seem to work, in some strange way.

So what is it that makes me want to emulate my career after hers (let’s be honest, Rowling’s career is like Nirvana, which I don’t believe in, so how can I strive for it?)? Putting aside the jillions of dollars Meyer is raking in, I’d still want to be like her. She’s got fully imagined characters that, despite being creepy on multiple levels, are still incredibly desirable. We readers are able to completely suspend the “ick-factor” that would, under normal circumstances, send bells ringing in our minds – A ninety year old unintentionally seducing a seventeen year old? Totally creeptastic. A controlling and manipulative boyfriend somehow inspires legions of fans to suggest they’d like a boyfriend just like Edward Cullen. Seriously? In real life that would be totally lame and potentially abusive. But in Twilight world, it’s sexy. And Bella Swan is in many ways one of the most unlikable characters I’ve read who is entirely intended to be quite likeable. And the crazy thing is, despite her inability to make a decision, her constant heart-breaking, her ridiculous clumsiness and her strange and semi-suicidal tendencies, I still root for the girl. I still want her to find happiness. She doesn’t deserve it, but gosh darn it, she should have it anyway.

I think Stephenie Meyer has taken a set of characters and circumstances and created a cultural phenomenon where another author wouldn’t have been able to pull it together without coming across as totally screwed up . Honestly, I think it’s her style. Meyer’s language is calculated to seem both innocent and sensual, playful and intense. As a writer, I can tell you that being able to walk this fine line is a gift. I basically wrote an entire novel as an homage to Stephenie Meyer’s style. I don’t know if it’s a skill that can be learned, but by jove, I’m going to keep practicing until I get it right!

So, Thank You, Stephenie Meyer – for writing, for publishing, for showing me that perfect writing is one thing, but sometimes that’s not the most important requirement for a successful career. Cheers!

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