We all know it’s coming close; Breaking Dawn Part 1, the movie, is blossoming into Australian cinemas on 17 November.
Whenever one of the movies in the Twilight Saga has been released, another flurry of comments swarms over the literary community. ‘Her novels are boring.’ ‘It’s such a typical love story.’ ‘She can’t write well.’ ‘She uses too many adjectives and adverbs.’ And etcetera.
What humours me is just how many ways Stephenie can make people, essentially, discuss how much they hate her and/or her work. What’s more, is the truth behind all the harsh words toward her writing.
Let’s take a moment to gather the facts. In the US alone, 1.3 million copies of Breaking Dawn were sold in the first 24 hours of the book’s release back in ’08. This set a new first-day sales record for the highly successful Hachette Book Group USA. This book was sold to over 50 countries and translated into 38 different languages. Now, before I lose your interest, I’ll stop there. If your reading this, your probably big on the ‘opinions thing’ and thus are well aware of the success of this book.
I draw attention to how successful this book has been, following the former Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse novels, to bring up a glaring point: If the Twilight Saga is hailed as the worst series in history by some, and stories that alter lives for others, then what’s the answer for such a literary and media storm?
Stephenie Meyer knows how to sell a book. That’s it. She graduated from University with a degree in English Literature so the woman knows more about writing than many of us. She’s a mother who reads books to her children so she knows stories. She had an amazing dream and used the passion she felt to form the memorable characters in Bella’s story.
With 19 days left until the second last movie in the series releases in Australia, I thought I’d catch up on my Breaking Dawn memory of the story. And on the second read, I see some of the haters’ opinions out there.
Now that I’m studying Professional Writing and Editing, I’ve pulled apart and analysed almost every aspect of what makes stories work, and what doesn’t make them work, to recognise the good and bad.
Yes, her use of adverbs and adjectives are features of her writing style. I can see how this annoys some people – ‘I use adjectives and adverbs in my writing and people criticise it. Why can she get away with it?’. I’m trying to think of something else to go off on a tangent about, but I can’t think of anything. I mean, I go to put Breaking Dawn down and I find myself saying, ‘Just one more page. Or ten.’
But then I think of what really matters. I’m a 20-year-old woman reading YA fiction. I’m reading the same book my friend’s 45-year-old mum read and my 11-year-old family friend read. And millions of others, with similar ages and beyond, have read this series too. I can’t get enough of Bella and Edward’s story. I’m drawn into Bella’s mind, her wants, her conflicts, her normalcy in an abnormal world.
Stephenie draws on the humanity in this fantasy series. You don’t sit there for five minutes trying to figure out what powers the vampires have, or who is who in the vampire or werewolf history. She lets you lose yourself in the humanity of the story. The conflicts that bar the characters’ wants are unique, fantastic! She mixes poetic descriptions with a pace that doesn’t send you to sleep.
I’ve got one more thing to send your minds thinking. I’ll stick to a disorder I’m familiar with. Types 1 diabetes was once called Juvenile Diabetes. It had this name because only juveniles showed symptoms of the disease. Fast forward to 2011 and babies through to retirees are first showing symptoms of this disorder. So, Juvenile won’t cut it, right? Same thing with Stephenie Meyer’s books. If you have a sample of a few thousand people reading her book, you’d probably struggle to make even one fan club that hated her books. Now, let’s take a sample of people from the 116 million books that have sold in the Twilight series as of October 2010.
You get it, don’t you? You could cure Type 1 Diabetes and you’re still going to have some haters around the world.
It’s only a series, and she’s only an author, but you’ve got to have created something pretty darn special to have over five times of Australia’s population own a copy of a Twilight book.