Saturday, July 31, 2010

The cardinal sin

I think I finally get why people say that Stephenie Meyer is a bad writer, probably because I finally just read Twilight. I loved it. I couldn't put it down.

Stephenie Meyer is not a bad writer. Bella and Edward both feel like real, breathing characters and their love feels real. The plot is smooth and well-timed and fast-paced.

But I think I know why people complain. She breaks the cardinal rule. A lot. That rule't-tell! Writers are supposed to show-not-tell whenever possible. For example, in one scene Bella is in an elevator and says that the other people in it are agitated (because she ran in when the doors were about to close.) Most writers would have shown that, by saying "A woman slammed her fist on the first floor button" or something like that.

Meyer does this a lot. But somehow, it works. It moves the story along quickly. We don't care about the woman in the elevator. We just want to know if Bella can save her Mom!

In truth, this rule-breaking also serves to develop Bella's character. She's smart. She likes literature. She uses all-encompassing words instead of details.

Words like "exasperated" and "agitated" stood out to the writer part of me, but the reader part of me didn't care. The story is good. Really good.

New Moon is on its way. Wow. Ain't I late to the party?!

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