Stephenie Meyer: Bad Writer or Not?

Examples of "Badly Written Books"

And What is More Relevant?

Much to the chagrin of Twihards, Stephen King stated that Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. His statement consequently evoked the ire and outrage of Twihards, who accused Stephen King of making that statement out of jealousy for Meyer’s ability. Although I don’t know the full extent to which the Twihards responded to King’s comment, it was sufficient enough to cause King to respond to the accusations of the Twihards by defending his initial statement while citing many accolades demonstrating his superior writing ability (thus proving his lack of jealousy). Unfortunately, this kind of conversation is just another example in which the quality of writing eclipses the quality of the storytelling. For while good writing is admirable and might get a person the top mark on a paper, it is a well-told story that will cause a person to stay up into the wee hours of the night to determine what is going to happen. A well-told story will make the reader care about the characters and become immersed in the events whereas a well-written story might be admired just long enough before setting it aside for something else.

But is Stephenie Meyer a bad writer? Perhaps. Some of her descriptions of Edward are very reminiscent of the language Anne Rice uses in Interview with a Vampire. Just as Edward is described in angelic terms, so are some of the vampires in Rice’s novel. And the phraseology is a little too exact to escape the suspicion that Meyer was borrowing from Rice. Critics of Meyer have also pointed out that many similarities abound between her work and L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries. Is the Twilight saga just a borrowing of the Vampire Diaries equally intense saga about a girl caught between two men? Some would say yes. Others also point out grammar errors, syntax, word choices and the overly-emotional tone of the story. Not like the classic writers, many note.

Yet while the classics sit gathering dust on shelves of the masses or else on display for a buy-three, get-one-free deal at some bookstore, Meyer’s books have shown that rare, prized ability to fly off the shelves and be devoured by countless girls, women, and some guys. So popular have these books become that our culture is ingrained with the ever-famous question “Team Edward or Team Jacob?” Many girls who would never think to pick up a book have, upon picking up Meyer’s work, decided that they do enjoy reading. Others have commented that Meyer has the ability to draw them into the story in that all-engrossing way that is yet another prized experience for readers. As one aficionado of the series noted, Meyer might have stolen from Rice and L.J. Smith, but she made the story better. Hardly the kind of love that the classics inspire in those who claim to detest reading.

For the countless people enthralled by the story of Twilight (and the continuing clamor for Meyer to return to Midnight Sun), the quality of writing or spurious nature of Meyer’s work is irrelevant. Only the story matters. Fortunately, Meyer is not the only successful author to be accused of bad writing. Robert Jordan, author of the successful Wheel of Time series, has also garnered some flak about his writing. One review calls parts of his plot “juvenile.” Yet for those who are eagerly waiting the exciting conclusion to the series, which is longer than anything of Dickens at this point, this is irrelevant (though I would argue his main pitfall is his lack of editing). Orson Scott Card also was accused by some of poor writing choices in his very popular book Ender’s Game. His critics find his writing too plain (which he remarked as intentional in his review of his book on amazon). Yet even if his writing is poor, this hasn’t stopped Ender’s Game from being immensely popular (on amazon, he has 2,168 readers giving his work five stars as opposed to the 72 giving it a one star). For fans, the story is every bit as compelling and tangible as Meyer’s story is to Twihards, writing quality aside. And critics have been notorious for despising Tolkien's archaic writing style, but this didn't keep it from being voted Book of the Century.  

In returning to King’s comment about Meyer’s lack of writing skill, I would have to point to the many “well-written” books foisted upon students in school that have the sole effect of boredom and frustration. Faulkner might be admired as a writer, but his story As I Lay Dying is hardly the kind of story that will connect with a wide audience. It certainly isn’t the kind of story that will keep most students up wondering what is going to happen. King himself isn’t without his flaws. While he might have written many books and garnered many accolades – he might even be a better writer –, his stories for some are just dull repeats of past stories. Generally set in Maine in a small town, just what horror will he whip up this time? Well-written his stories might be, but if they fail to transport readers to that magical place in which the story comes alive, then what’s the point?

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Comments 21 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I will hack the head off of the person who failed to recognize Orson Card's brilliance. That guy can WRITE!

I'd LOVE to hear your opinion about that though. . . .even if you're wrong, and think he's no good! LOL!

Jordan???????? BARF! You know, one of my friends COULDN'T GET INTO LOTR, but somehow thinks Jordan is brilliant.


Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 6 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

I adored Ender's Game and definitely agree that Card is somewhat of a genius when it comes to writing (meaning I almost worship the lit. ground he walks on). As for your friend, my husband is the same way. He hates Tolkien's writing style but loves Jordan's. I think Jordan can write a compelling yarn for sure, but Tolkien is still the master.

Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

I can't abide Stephen King's work - I've tried several, but just found them to be very silly. Not one could draw me in. I'm not a die hard Twilight fan, but I do enjoy the saga. You've said exactly what I've been thinking, but have been unable to express, because I'm far less eloquent than you! Thank you :)

The only real objection I had to Meyer's writing was the over-use of the word 'chagrin' - the last time I read the series I counted it 13 times (I know, that's a little sad of me!). It's an unusual word so it stands out.

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 6 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

I hear ya. I've read three or four of King's books and each time the process was so ardurous. I find his storytelling very bland and predictable.

That's interesting about Meyer's use of chagrin. I didn't notice that. I think its easy when writing to get used to some words and use them too much.

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Steveie King is not adult reading. I recall being scared to death when I read Pet Cemetery, and I cried when I finished "IT," . . . ."Salem's Lot," is another good one. . . .but I read all of that when I was a youngster. I actually think that it's not my, ahem, "maturity," but that he's gotten worse over the years.

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 6 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

I was pretty freaked out by Pet Cemetary, altough it wasn't as gripping as I had hoped. I enjoy the movies based on his books. I personally can't stnd his writing style. As for his progression, there is a really funny south park episode making fun of King and his dried up state. Quite hilarious.

Pachuca213 6 years ago

This is a very interesting topic. I am not a Stephen King reader, although I enjoy HAVEN the television series that was based on his book "The Colorado Kid".

Now onto the subject of Twilight: I agree that Stephanie Meyer's story does seem to mirror other stories and have similar descriptive qualities. But really, how many possible ways can a vampire be described? As far as her writing style and ability to captivate her readers, she positively succeeds. I am not much of a reader of novels and out of the few I have enjoyed reading in my life I can honestly say that all of the Twilight books captivated me overnight. I read all four books within a week. Never in my life had I ever been so engulfed in a story that I couldn't rest until I read the entire story. That deserves some commendation for her skills. No she may not be prim and proper in her writing style but who cares nowadays? We are not among the great writers of the past...we are in another time now. And I think she does deserve some credit for making a fantastic fantasy world for those of us who love Twilight to escape to when we want... good hub!

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 6 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

Pachuca -- I definitely agree. Her writing is very elementary and repetitive at times. I personally never thought I'd fall for the books, but they gripped me and I read them in about a week also. Couldn't put them down. So I don't care too much if her writing is shoddy because she does possess that ability to make the story engaging and that is much better than appreciating beautiful writing anyway.

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I'd like to see that South Park episode! I'm using "StumbleUpon" to rank up and review your writing here. . . If you don't want that, etc, let me know, and I'll stop.

I'm on the GREAT TRAFFIC MISSION, and . . . .it's probably me being Mr. Bi. Polar, etc.

Not just you, of course-I'm using that tool on ME, and the other people that I've decided are SUPER COOL here.

Rusty C. Adore profile image

Rusty C. Adore 5 years ago from Michigan

When I read the Twilight Saga I often found myself rolling my eyes. I agree that her writing is elementary and repetitive (I don't even know how many times she describes Edward as feeling like marble, but it drove me nuts.) I felt that she was able to create a suspenseful environment with her writing, but she was never able to deliver a satisfying ending. I found myself finishing a book and saying "that's it?" I kept expecting more than she was prepared to give. I did finish the series, but it was more out of obligation than out of interest. I do commend her on keeping young adults interested in reading though. Always good to read even if it's just a guilty pleasure read as opposed to a classic (which can often be boring, like you mentioned.) Good hub! I enjoyed it.

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 5 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

The first time I read it, I was immediately hooked. I completely agree with you that her writing is quite elementary, but the way she tells the story is what intrigues me. Sometimes, I find myself reading the more "intelligent" writing and find myself wondering: whatever happened to the story?

I agree with you about the ending. It definitely did not satisfy (but it amused my husband to no end). It's prob. one of those books that you enjoy by letting yourself be that age again. And it does seem as though she knows how to keep the suspense. Glad you stopped by! It's always good to get feedback!

viveresperando profile image

viveresperando 5 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

this was interesting.. :)

Under The Lamp profile image

Under The Lamp 5 years ago

A quick loss of interest has shifted my dreams of an exuberant vocabulary from a work in progress to...

a rework in progress -LOL!

I have left many bestseller books unfinished, even overlooked. I am very sorry to report, never opening a Clive Cussler classic. I have chosen to read a piece of his work directly following the post of this comment. After all, he is a writer and a human, both of which, I respect.

Some writers employ proofreaders and wishing to be typo free, I frequently visit spelling and grammar sites.

Still, one of my first comments ever written to this site has a horrid absence of the word, what.

I have enjoyed many selections from, "The Cat Who..." series written by, Lilian Jackson Braun. I have tackled the first intense chapters of Dean Koontz's Life Expectancy, and remember reading a few pages of Four Past Midnight, by Stephen King. So I could try harder to complete more bestseller books.

The story is what holds or returns me to a book, movie, or television series and this Hub - Rocks!

Thank you.

cat 5 years ago

Great. It seems everyone here is taking his words out of context like the Twihards did. Yes, King called Meyer a bad writer, but gave her credit in the fact that she was a good story teller. He was only telling the truth and those poor Twihards (not) didn't like their perfect little bubble being burst.

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 5 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

Thanks for you comment, Under the Lamp! I'm glad you enjoyed this hub. Yes, the story is what compels me more than anything.

Thanks for your comment, Cat. I wasn't aware that King separated Meyer's writing ability from her storytelling ability. It still seems in bad taste to slam another's writing though as that field is still somewhat subjective

sara11 4 years ago

twilight is a rip-off vampire diaries and that woman wouldn’t know good writing if Stephen King walked over and slapped her!

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 4 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

Ha ha. Maybe. But she's still a good storyteller.

Annie 4 years ago

I haven't managed to finish even the first book of the Twilight series. I tried, however. I would certainly argue that Stephenie Meyer is not a good writer. As you have already written, she makes countless errors in grammar, syntax, and word choice (these I found glaringly obvious).

I never really considered her storytelling abilities. But I think I would agree that the reason she has managed to capture the attention of so many females is not due to her writing ability but the overall story (even though it's fairly unoriginal).

On the other hand, I find Stephen King to be an excellent writer and storyteller. I frequently stay up late to try to cram in another chapter or so of his stories. This is very much due to my preference for the horror genre (personal preference is definitely a factor). However, I think that one's storytelling and writing abilities are very correlating. After all, having a good idea for a story is one thing, but effectively conveying it to the reader is another. I've noticed that King gets you very attached to his characters by giving their background, fears, motivations, etc. so it actually matters to you what happens to them. He writes with purpose. I can't say much for Meyers since I haven't finished the series.

Thank you for the article!

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 4 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

I read on a piece of advice for writers that one trick to get readers into a story is to make your character want something very much. I think the intensity of what Bella wants and the ensuing obstacles is what makes Twilight so popular with so many people.

I'm still on the fence about how much correlation exists between good writing and good story telling. I've read great examples of writing that had excellent stories to tell, but the way they were told just didn't appeal to me. Dune, for instance. I love the story, but find the way in which it is told very boring.

Maybe it's the detail? I think King has richer, more detailed stories than Meyer and it's precisely that that bores me. I wish the man would cut back some! But Meyers just focuses on the same details over and over again. So maybe I just like the quick advancement of the plot over all the other details? I don't know. I like King's stories and I wish I liked his writing more, but after four of his books I just had to stop. It felt so repetitive. To each their own, I guess?

Thanks for the comment!

Palladiamors 4 years ago

What semantic bullshit. Badly written is badly written, period.

Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 4 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain Author

Agree to disagree, then. Thanks for commenting!

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