Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On Writing: Bashing Other Bestselling Authors in the Press

"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn"

Stephen King has spoken. And what he has to say about Stephenie Meyer isn't very nice. In an interview for USA Weekend bashes Meyer as being not very good. He claims her books appeal to young girls because of the non-threatening sex scenes. Whatever.

I actually agree with Mr. King about Meyer's writing. I don't think she's very good either. However, plenty of people who I know, like and respect enjoy her immensely. So truly, isn't it a matter of taste and perception? Writing is far too subjective to give it such a black and white judgement.

Also, Mr. King is talking about its popularity among young girls. How does he explain the legions of adult women fans who have fallen for the series? Is there something wrong with them? Are they unable to judge what is good and what is not?

Meyer has struck on something powerful in her books, just as Rowling did (by the way, I've never been impressed with her writing either, but I am blown away by her imagination). To think the mechanics of writing is what captures a reader is short-sighted.

I'm guessing Mr. King has probably been quoted out of context, at least I hope, because as it stands, I feel like he is setting himself up as high priest of pop culture. I read his columns in the Entertainment Weekly and enjoy some of them. But I do feel a certain arrogance coming through. I'm also disturbed by this need to rip into Meyer. Like Rowling, she has brought in a new generation of readers. In a time when books have to compete with television, the Internet, video games and other electronic mediums, Meyer has successfuly pulled in young people into reading. And yes, that includes boys. My son has read the series as well as his friends. My nine year old daughter is reading "Twilight" along with the other boys and girls in her class. This is the first book she has stuck with for any length of time, to which I'm grateful.

Obviously Mr. King is entitled to his opinion and certainly has the right to speak it. But I thought it was tactless to be so harsh in his criticism in the national press. I thought it was crass and bordering on cruel.

What did you think about Stephen King's comments?

No comments: