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#1 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"can't write worth a darn"

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is JK Rowling really that much better?

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#2 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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I'm kind of disappointed with King. *sigh*
millions of copies are sold all over the world, there must be something good about her books. It might not be the language but the plot and the characters, still, it certainly is great entertainment, and the kind of book(s) that are impossible to put down.

It really doesn't paint him in a good light for me.
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#3 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:18 PM
 
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I have read most of the published work of each of the three authors in question. (yeah, I'm a library geek, I confess)

Stephen King writes circles around Rowling and Meyer. I haven't loved all his books, but even the ones that weren't exactly my style I still recognized as being well-written, carefully crafted works of literature. His characters are fully fleshed out, and he is particularly adept at creating plausible protagonists from all walks of life - he is able to write from the viewpoint of a child or an adult, a man or a woman, and make the story feel authentic. Although most of his work deals with the supernatural and obviously isn't "real," he creates characters whose behaviors and relationships are realistic and believable.

Rowling is a good but not a great writer - she is a phenomenally creative storyteller, and I believe the Harry Potter books will stand the test of time. Her characters are likeably and engaging (especially the intriguing Severus Snape, who is by far her most complex and interesting character) but her dialogue and relationships often fall flat. By the end of OTP I wanted to smack all three of the adolescent protagonists, and the endless "snogging" and lack of meaningful dialogue or relationship development was painful. But in spite of those weaknesses, I'd read the books again, and still enjoy them!

Meyer is a good storyteller, and a mediocre writer. Sure, she's sold millions of books, but so has Harlequin romance - that doesn't necessarily make a book a "classic" IFKWIM. She relys heavily on cliches and falls back onto the same handful of phrases over and over. Seriously, pick any chapter in any book, and count how many times Edward "smirked" "chucked" "smoldered" "dazzled" and "grimaced." I kept wishing I could buy the author a thesaurus, because her limited use of language really interfered with the development of the story. I also found her characters to be flat and one-dimensional, and often they behaved in contradictory ways that didn't ring true. The storyline often felt artificial and contrived to me, and while I enjoyed plowing through all four novels in the series, it was forgettable brain candy that I have no desire to revisit.

So, while it wasn't the most tactful thing to say, I'll have to go with King on this one...Meyer is no great writer. She is, however, laughing all the way to the bank, so I doubt she's overly worried about literary criticism at this point.

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#4 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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#5 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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I agree with him. And doctormom, I think you and I have very similar libraries!

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#6 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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And King drives me bonkers. The ideas are great, but I have never felt "satisfied" with the endings in any of his books and they ruin the whole thing for me. I gave up and refuse to read any more of his books or watch any movie based on his books.

Want to read a bad writer? Try the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast. OMG the writing gives me a headache. But, of course, I have read all 4 books that are out. So even though the writing style totally sucks, at least the stories are good. So while I'd like to read a well written story with a good plot, I'd still rather read a good badly written story than a well written bad story.

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#7 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:50 PM
 
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I agree with him and yeah, the Twilight series for me actually reminds me of the Harlequin series..easy to read, simple, can't put it down until it's done because it doesn't require a whole lot of brain power.
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#8 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Although most of his work deals with the supernatural and obviously isn't "real," he creates characters whose behaviors and relationships are realistic and believable.
... and boring on occasion. Books are stories, and I certainly won't argue over the language Meyer used ("murmured" was my own pet peeve with Edward and the like). At the same time, we read different books for different reasons, and I really like how you describe Meyer and Rowling as good storytellers. For what it's worth, when I'm looking for a story that's impossible to put down, I know to turn to Meyer, and that does make her into a good writer. She most definitely has her imperfections, but she sure knows how to grab attention of the reader despite simplistic writing.

I liked Shining and I loved loved loved the suspense and the pace of The Mist, but King does have "boring" pages. I don't think I felt that way with Meyer. Should I say that King is a bad writer because he gets too wordy and drawn out, and doesn't know where to stop and move on to the next set of events?

Every writer has their own strength and weaknesses, for King his characters might be a lot more authentic, but for Meyer it's the twists and the turns of the plot and relationships that we want to know more of, is what keeps one going. It's just different strengths, but it doesn't make one good and the other one bad, in my humble opinion.

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#9 of 121 Old 02-03-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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So even though the writing style totally sucks, at least the stories are good. So while I'd like to read a well written story with a good plot, I'd still rather read a good badly written story than a well written bad story.
I think this is a very valid point. Same here! A gem would be a book combining both, but aside from Jane Eyre, I don't think I ever found one.

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#10 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 12:16 AM
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I have read most of the published work of each of the three authors in question. (yeah, I'm a library geek, I confess)

Stephen King writes circles around Rowling and Meyer. I haven't loved all his books, but even the ones that weren't exactly my style I still recognized as being well-written, carefully crafted works of literature. His characters are fully fleshed out, and he is particularly adept at creating plausible protagonists from all walks of life - he is able to write from the viewpoint of a child or an adult, a man or a woman, and make the story feel authentic. Although most of his work deals with the supernatural and obviously isn't "real," he creates characters whose behaviors and relationships are realistic and believable.

Rowling is a good but not a great writer - she is a phenomenally creative storyteller, and I believe the Harry Potter books will stand the test of time. Her characters are likeably and engaging (especially the intriguing Severus Snape, who is by far her most complex and interesting character) but her dialogue and relationships often fall flat. By the end of OTP I wanted to smack all three of the adolescent protagonists, and the endless "snogging" and lack of meaningful dialogue or relationship development was painful. But in spite of those weaknesses, I'd read the books again, and still enjoy them!

Meyer is a good storyteller, and a mediocre writer. Sure, she's sold millions of books, but so has Harlequin romance - that doesn't necessarily make a book a "classic" IFKWIM. She relys heavily on cliches and falls back onto the same handful of phrases over and over. Seriously, pick any chapter in any book, and count how many times Edward "smirked" "chucked" "smoldered" "dazzled" and "grimaced." I kept wishing I could buy the author a thesaurus, because her limited use of language really interfered with the development of the story. I also found her characters to be flat and one-dimensional, and often they behaved in contradictory ways that didn't ring true. The storyline often felt artificial and contrived to me, and while I enjoyed plowing through all four novels in the series, it was forgettable brain candy that I have no desire to revisit.

So, while it wasn't the most tactful thing to say, I'll have to go with King on this one...Meyer is no great writer. She is, however, laughing all the way to the bank, so I doubt she's overly worried about literary criticism at this point.




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#11 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 12:59 AM
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I can't disagree with him about the quality of writing, although I'm getting the series through the library as something fun to read and to see what everyone is talking about. I have read the first and liked parts but also was bugged a lot by some of the themes... although seeing vampires as a metaphor for Christians is interesting! Mostly I was bummed it was really an excuse for a romance rather than a "real" fantasy in my mind.

BUT did anyone read what King said about girls being comfortable with the sexuality of touching arms, about it connecting with girls who aren't comfortable with sexuality in a more overt sense? Or something like that? I just glanced at the article but that seemed odd. And, I'd rather hear from Meyers or other females (who are or who have been young females) about that than King. I guess we all have something to offer, a POV in writing, no matter how well written.
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#12 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 01:06 AM
 
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Love the article. I totally agree with him. Not only is the writing sub par on those books, but the story line in terms of portraying a young woman in love is fairly detrimental, IMO. I wouldn't want my daughter in such a relationship (I'm not talking about the vampire part, but the co-dependent, lack of self fulfillment part).

JK Rowling is quite a bit higher in terms of the quality of writing, as well as the values portrayed by the characters. Plus, there is a strong, independent female as part of the "golden trio". As opposed to "woe is me, I can't be happy without Edward so I'll just quit living and think about suicide."

I'm sorry, but that just drove me crazy. I just think young women need more books with strong, intelligent, self-sufficient female protagonists.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of King. I think some of his stuff isn't that great. But, there are a few stories that are fairly high in quality.

To be fair, though, Meyer wrote a book called "The Host" for adults. There her writing is FAR superior to Twilight, and it has strong female protagonists. I liked that book a lot, and picked up Twilight because I enjoyed "The Host." And then I kept wondering if it was the same author, lol.

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To be fair, though, Meyer wrote a book called "The Host" for adults. There her writing is FAR superior to Twilight, and it has strong female protagonists. I liked that book a lot, and picked up Twilight because I enjoyed "The Host." And then I kept wondering if it was the same author, lol.
Oh, that is good to know!
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#14 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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I've been a pretty big fan of King's ... but honestly, he peaked with Carrie and it's been downhill ever since. IMO, of course. Some of his novels are practically drivel. (Possibly ghostwritten, but at some point it seemed like he simply stopped writing and started churning out words.) That said, this opinion of Meyer's seems to mirror what I've heard from those who've read it. The general consensus seems to be that it's poorly written, but you can't put it down. Like potato chips you don't really love, but can't stop eating.

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And King drives me bonkers. The ideas are great, but I have never felt "satisfied" with the endings in any of his books and they ruin the whole thing for me. I gave up and refuse to read any more of his books or watch any movie based on his books.
King himself at one point said he had trouble with writing the endings. I think he finds it easy to come up with ideas and plots, loves developing the characters and story... and then struggles at the end wrapping everything up!

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#15 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 01:45 AM
 
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Sure, she's sold millions of books, but so has Harlequin romance - that doesn't necessarily make a book a "classic" IFKWIM. She relys heavily on cliches and falls back onto the same handful of phrases over and over. Seriously, pick any chapter in any book, and count how many times Edward "smirked" "chucked" "smoldered" "dazzled" and "grimaced."
OMG if she said "impossibly" again I was going to rip the 15 year old vocabulary and stick her solidly in English 101 at the local CC!

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I agree with him and yeah, the Twilight series for me actually reminds me of the Harlequin series..easy to read, simple, can't put it down until it's done because it doesn't require a whole lot of brain power.
Only the female characters in Twilight seem like empty vessels with little self-confidence or happiness without a male partner - something I'd be seriously concerned about if my daughter reads these books someday.

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#16 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 01:55 AM
 
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I don't care how many copies you sell, sorry but have you seen how many tabloids are sold every day? Numbers do not denote quality.

I'm not sure why anyone would be mad at King over his opinion, if you read the link he actually didn't rip the series. He gave the series credit for meeting a niche.

Oh and I'm not a fan of King, Rowling or Meyer.
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#17 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 02:11 AM
 
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"Sarcastically" is what really drove me insane. Bella says everything "sarcastically" in the first book, including many things that there is absolutely no reason or justification for the sarcasm. So annoying. I wish I had the novel in a digital form where I could run a search on the word because I'm curious as to just how many times it was used.

Also, the last time I remember seeing that many words dedicated to describing the characters outfits was when I was reading Babysitters Club or Sweet Valley High. So I guess it fits with the age group she's writing for, but not exactly a mark of stellar literature. I, personally, really don't care about the character's teen fashion sense.

The bad writing annoyed the hell out of me, the characters flat and not true to life, and the plot horribly contrived. Yet there must be something about the novels because I kept reading and enjoying them! Until the last one anyway. The last one just plain sucked.

Also, 100 plus year old vampires in highschool? WTH. That is the last thing I can imagine wanting to do over and over and over again, especially as before Bella they only hang out with each other so it is not as if they are there because they are lonely or anything. The attempt at an explanation just seemed pasted on - no sense at all.

The Harry Potter stories have their flaws and weaknesses, but all the same, the woman can write.

I'm not a fan of King either. I do think he can write, but mostly he just meanders. His novels could stand a huge amount of trimming and editing - he has so much in them that just slows the plot down without really adding to the story. I do like a lot of his short stories thought. When he keeps his word count down, he does so much better.
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#18 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 05:01 AM
 
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Love the article. I totally agree with him. Not only is the writing sub par on those books, but the story line in terms of portraying a young woman in love is fairly detrimental, IMO. I wouldn't want my daughter in such a relationship (I'm not talking about the vampire part, but the co-dependent, lack of self fulfillment part).

JK Rowling is quite a bit higher in terms of the quality of writing, as well as the values portrayed by the characters. Plus, there is a strong, independent female as part of the "golden trio". As opposed to "woe is me, I can't be happy without Edward so I'll just quit living and think about suicide."

I'm sorry, but that just drove me crazy. I just think young women need more books with strong, intelligent, self-sufficient female protagonists.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of King. I think some of his stuff isn't that great. But, there are a few stories that are fairly high in quality.
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#19 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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I agree with him and yeah, the Twilight series for me actually reminds me of the Harlequin series..easy to read, simple, can't put it down until it's done because it doesn't require a whole lot of brain power.
Exactly. Reading Meyer is like reading a Middle School friend's fantasy novel in both how she writes and what she writes.

Then again I think King leaves much to be desired. Can't stand most of his work.

I think the word for Rowling is "universal". I think she is pretty much moderate in her writing making it more accessible for all but her storytelling is what makes her and the story.

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#20 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Love the article. I totally agree with him. Not only is the writing sub par on those books, but the story line in terms of portraying a young woman in love is fairly detrimental, IMO. I wouldn't want my daughter in such a relationship (I'm not talking about the vampire part, but the co-dependent, lack of self fulfillment part).

JK Rowling is quite a bit higher in terms of the quality of writing, as well as the values portrayed by the characters. Plus, there is a strong, independent female as part of the "golden trio". As opposed to "woe is me, I can't be happy without Edward so I'll just quit living and think about suicide."

I'm sorry, but that just drove me crazy. I just think young women need more books with strong, intelligent, self-sufficient female protagonists.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of King. I think some of his stuff isn't that great. But, there are a few stories that are fairly high in quality.

To be fair, though, Meyer wrote a book called "The Host" for adults. There her writing is FAR superior to Twilight, and it has strong female protagonists. I liked that book a lot, and picked up Twilight because I enjoyed "The Host." And then I kept wondering if it was the same author, lol.
Ok I could have just : this post.

I have been meaning to pick up The Host.

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#21 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who wasn't totally enthralled with the Meyer's books. I love Stephen King, but I have to say that I like his wife, Tabitha, even better. One on One is a great book. I've read Harry Potter multiple times and still enjoy them. I told my DH that there was just too much teenage angst going on to get deeply involved in the story. I'll stick with Laurell Hamilton if I want a vampire novel. (and even they bug me after a while)

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#22 of 121 Old 02-04-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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Meyer can tell a good story, but she can't write worth a darn.
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#23 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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While I agree that Meyer is not a fabulous writer, its all about perspective. Some critics have likened King's writing to nothing more than glorified "penny dreadfuls". I think both authors have a target audience and if that audience enjoys their work, so be it.

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#24 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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I find it interesting how different people define good writing.

* I'm not sure I understand how can I be a bad writer if I deliver a good story in written form. The kind of story that you can't put down. That's a skill, and Meyer certainly has that skill, she knows how to grab attention of the reader and keep them turning those pages, isn't that what good writing is about? Her language is far from perfect, but the story is still good enough to keep you reading for 2000 pages straight, doesn't that count towards "good writer"?

* Does a good writer consist of being able to tell a good story? Or does good writing consist of sophisticated language? Does it automatically make a writer bad if they lack one or the other?

I guess it's a personal choice to call one good writer or a bad one, adn will depend on everyone's personal definition of a "good writer".

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#25 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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I agree with him. I like the Twilight series, but she is a seriously dreadful writer.

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#26 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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I agree with his point, but you know what? His movies suck, badly. Rose Red and The Mist were an absolute joke. I know his books are decent, but man, if the movies based on your books are that horrible, you really shouldn't be criticizing the works of others.

But yeah, she is an awful, awful writer.
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#27 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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The problem I had with her writing was that the vocab. was sooo repetitive. Edward did lots of sparkling, and grimacing. And Bella was always saying things sarcastically.
Plus there were paragraphs were I would have to go and read them 2 or 3 times to get what she was trying to say. The grammar was so...convoluted....in some places.

And if we're going to judge a book by the movie, I thought the twilight movie was awful too
Honestly, I don't think you can judge a book by it's movie.
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#28 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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Exactly you can't judge a book by the movie. If so, that would be an even worse judgement for Meyer since Twilight was such a lousy movie.

Look at The Shining. The first one was so ridiculous and laughable. I haven't seen it, but I hear the remake was really good.

I think the worst part of the books for me was how when someone was emotional they always said something thickly or their voice was thick. Several times on one page.

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#29 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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I agree with his point, but you know what? His movies suck, badly. Rose Red and The Mist were an absolute joke. I know his books are decent, but man, if the movies based on your books are that horrible, you really shouldn't be criticizing the works of others.

But yeah, she is an awful, awful writer.
His movies do blow. Still, it's apples and oranges to compare movies to books.

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#30 of 121 Old 02-05-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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But he had to watch the movies and approve them, right? How COULD he?!?!

I haven't seen the Twilight movie.

Oh, and the remake of The Shining SUUUCKED. The first one was, like, genius compared to the remake. And I didn't like the first one, either.
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