Stephenie Meyer: How To Write {Boring|Clumsy) Sentence Openers

January 3, 2011 by  
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Stephenie Meyer: How To Write {Boring|Clumsy) Sentence Openers

Stephenie Meyer: How To Write {Boring|Clumsy) Sentence Openers


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Home Page > Writing > Article Marketing > Stephenie Meyer: How To Write {Boring|Clumsy) Sentence Openers

Stephenie Meyer: How To Write {Boring|Clumsy) Sentence Openers

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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 |Comments: 0
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Here’s an excerpt from young writing phenomenon and bestseller Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight:

Jess drove faster than the chief, so we made it to Port Angeles by four. It had been a while since I’ve had a girls’ night out, and the estrogen rush was invigorating. We listened to whiny songs while Jessica jabbered on about the boys we hung out with. Jessica’s dinner with Mike had gone very well, and she was hoping that by Saturday night they would have progressed to the first-kiss stage. I smiled to myself, pleased. Angela was passively happy to be going to the dance, but not really interested in Eric. Jess tried to get her to confess who her type was, but I interrupted with a question about dresses after a bit, to spare her. Angela threw a grateful glance my way.[chapter 8, Twilight]

What is wrong with the above? It is quite inartistic. And as clumsy as running a marathon with new shoes. Truman Capote would call the above paragraph, “Typing,” not writing. The paragraph contains not one single balanced sentence, let alone a well balanced sentence. And, yes. All sentences are of the amateurish or childish pattern S-V-O (subject, verb, object–John hit the ball; john hit the ball; john hit the ball; etc).

Master writer Stephen King, in a recent interview said: “Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

At first impression Mr. King’s comments may sound as insensitive and perhaps as evidence of an old senior citizen writer being jealous of a young and popular one. At least this was the reaction of many of Stephenie Meyer’s fans: “King is jealous: no one buys his books anymore.” “Name one of King’s books that is popular today: none!” “He can’t see a young writer succeed.”

So I purchased several of Jo Rowling’s books of the Harry Potter series, and I was delightfully surprised. Rowling is a master writer; a master of grammar, syntax, and rhetoric. If you love the English language, you will find well balanced sentence, and cadence and rhythm, and echoes that could be the envy of any literary writer. Because she writes for children, her production isn’t considered literary by many critics, but eventually she will be, just a Mark Twain, C. S Lewis, Kipling, and Dickens.

Mr. King might just be right in his criticism of Stephenie Meyer, not because he is jealous of her success, but because–as we can see in the above excerpt–Meyer’s writing isn’t writing at all, but typing; maybe she’ll mature as a writer and learn the trade. Hopefully someone close to her might give her some sound advice that good writing comes with sentence variation.

Stephenie Meyer reminds me of another young writer who wrote one passable novel, Secret History, and then fell out of grace and was dropped by publishers like a hot brick. Same problem as Meyer: writing subject-verb-complement ad nauseum.

Though Stephen King has been writing for longer than 40 years, his prose hasn’t improved. And his themes are still horrific. But despite the fact that many scholars and critics view Mr. King as an entertainer and not a literary figure, I can say that he can put together some fine sentences. Will he ever be hailed as a master writer in the same league as Faulkner or Hemingway? I don’t think so.

And why not?  Some may ask: simply because he himself at one point in his life decided to become an entertainer rather than a literary writer.

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marciano guerrero
About the Author:

Retired. Former investment banker, Columbia University-educated, Vietnam Vet (67-68).
For the writing techniques I use, see Mary Duffy’s e-book: Sentence Openers.
To read my book reviews of the Classics visit my blog: Writing To Live

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Retired. Former investment banker, Columbia University-educated, Vietnam Vet (67-68).
For the writing techniques I use, see Mary Duffy’s e-book: Sentence Openers.
To read my book reviews of the Classics visit my blog: Writing To Live

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