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Stephenie Meyer – A to Z: S

S is for Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series that has sold over 100 million copies of the four books, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The series has also been turned into a successful movie franchise.

I first read Twilight when my then-pre-teen daughter talked about it and I found out it had been “banned” at her primary school. I asked her to wait until I’d read it, and, instead of finding anything that made it worth banning, I have to say I quite enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure I would’ve continued reading the series even if my daughter hadn’t been pushing me to “read so she could read”.

Now it could well be that this is just my mistaken impression, but it seems to me that, at some stage after her series was published and everbody had devoured her books and the movies, it suddenly became fashionable to jump on the “bash Twilight” bandwagon. I don’t know whether Stephen King’s criticism of her writing had anything to do with it or not, or maybe someone sent out a memo that I missed, but, personally, I thought it was quite a shame that everyone suddenly drank the Kool-Aid and the tone when talking about the series turned from admiring to derisive. Many of Stephen King’s stories are without doubt very entertaining, but his writing style isn’t my favourite and I disagree with much he’s said about writing, so I was very disappointed to read that particular disparaging comment about a fellow writer.

Meyer’s books were written for a young adult audience and, in my opinion, have done wonders for that genre and have helped bring that generation back to reading books. Yes, they can be a little cheesy at times, but hey, they’re written mainly for teenage kids. I enjoy reading about a character’s detailed thought processes, which Meyer writes very well. Like her, I think, I’m still young at heart enough and still remember what all those “teenagey” feelings were like. I particularly liked the switch in perspective to Jacob’s character, whose voice is quite different with a great dose of humour thrown in. It’s too bad Meyer didn’t continue with her idea of releasing books written from Edward’s perspective; I for one would have enjoyed reading more than the sample chapter(s) she made available, and for those who’ve had enough… nobody would’ve forced them to read it.

I also enjoyed reading The Host, though I thought the film version left out several important parts and seemed a bit undercooked for my taste. But that has nothing to do with Meyer’s writing, which again handles many of the more intricate plot points within the first-person storyteller’s thought processes; something that is hard to pull off as well as Meyer does and makes a film adaptation rather difficult. If you haven’t read her work, I do recommend it, but I’d also advise approaching it with an open mind.

Favourite films about writing

I recently watched the 1989 film Her Alibi, which I hadn’t seen for a number of years. I really enjoyed it, especially how Tom Selleck’s character constantly turns seemingly harmless events in his life into clichéd exaggerations on paper that are often typical of some of the, shall we say, cheaper mystery novels.

This got me thinking about some of my favourite films about writing or writers, and here’s the list of my Top 5:

  1. Dead Poets Society – arguably, this one isn’t about writing (poetry) so much as it is about finding inspiration in poetry, but it’s too brilliant for me to leave out.
  2. Finding Forrester – wonderful film about a friendship between a young talented basketball player and the old reclusive writer who helps the kid hone his writing talents.
  3. Limitless – exciting film about an author with writer’s block whose life changes drastically when someone gives him a pill that severely enhances his mind.
  4. Moulin Rouge! – won two of eight Oscars it was nominated for; a great musical about a writer falling in love with a courtesan in 1900 Bohemian Paris.
  5. Her Alibi – very funny rom-com about a writer who bites off more than he can chew when he “rescues” an alleged murderess from Romania by pretending to be her alibi.

Actually, they’re pretty much the only five I could come up with. I’m sure there are waaay more that I’ve forgotten or never even seen – feel free to let me know in the comments what your favourites are!