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Stephanie Meyer vs. Ann Rice

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Thursday, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    Pot, meet kettle. :)

    I'm plenty open-minded, which is why I read the first books and watched the first movies. At no point did I say "others" were wrong. I said the books and movies were not quality products, and the actor choices were abysmal. You'll find I'm far from alone in that opinion. I also do not base my opinion on jealousy, as you have assumed. As a matter of fact, you've decided everyone here is jealous of Meyer and so has based all their opinions on jealousy. In fact, you have assumed everyone in the world who sees the series as poor quality is simply jealous of Meyer. On top of that assumption, you refuse to accept ANY explanation for that opinion that is contrary to your assumption. And yet, you have the nerve to make assumptions about ME, who you don't even know.

    If you feel I'm wrong, find something I said that was wrong and discuss it. Don't make assumptions about what I've said before you've even bothered to read it.
     
  2. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    Guys, please be polite. It's a bit disappointing I've had to say this twice now in as many days.

    Please discuss and by all means, disagree, but be mature and respectful about it.
     
  3. Graffikgal

    Graffikgal Scribe

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    So, at one time Gilligan's Island and Baywatch were two of the most popular shows around the world. In comparison, PBS' Masterpiece Theater has and had at that time a minuscule audience. By your logic, both Gilligan's Island and Baywatch were great shows, and Masterpiece was not.

    Popularity means nothing when judging whether a product is a quality product, IMO. Lots of crap has sold like hotcakes over the years. Remember pet rocks? The Don Johnson look of the '80s? Gaggage Patch Kids? Obviously, your mileage may vary. I'm good with that. :p

    And as far as the amateur writers comment, I have no dog in that fight as I do not profess to be a writer or to play one on TV. I'm just someone who was passing through and found it an interesting board, so I started a topic or two. I return periodically because I keep getting notifications from said topics, and I enjoy reading the responses.

    Additionally, I don't feel any need to bash people who enjoy the Twilight series. I know intelligent people who enjoy the books. I know stupid people who enjoy them. I don't think the intelligence of the audience is an issue. It boils down to a matter of taste, and this author isn't for me.

    Best thing I can think of to say about the Twilight books? They get people who might not otherwise read to do so. That is awesome. I'm all for anything that gets people to pick up a book. But the books themselves? Major suckage.

    Just my opinion. And that and a dollar will buy ya a cup o'coffee. :)

    Oh, and as an aside to the people reading this who enjoy vampire novels, check out Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain books. I think they're great. Maybe you will too.

    One more edit because I want to acknowledge something else Steerpike said upthread. He is absolutely right that Meyer has succeeded as a storyteller. Clearly, the woman was able to intuit something about the need of her audience and deliver it. However, there is a difference between being a good storyteller and a good writer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Graffikgal:

    I agree that popularity is not necessarily an indicator of quality. That portion of my argument is only to demonstrate that on some level, as a story teller, Meyer has achieved something that most writers will never replicate. She managed to connect extraordinarily well with an audience, and that is an achievement. It doesn't mean the writing is good (my view is that it is mediocre), but I think storytelling can save mediocre writing (and bad storytelling can ruin good writing).

    There are a number of reasons why you, or I, or anyone else might dislike Twilight. Tastes vary, and that is a good thing. My comments are directed only at the completely irrational rant-level hatred of the work you find on writing sites (and elsewhere, but often on writing sites). It is ridiculous. And it can almost always be reduced to "gee, I'm so smart and those people who like the books are so stupid." Because I know, empirically, that this is not the case, there has to be something else at work. Amongst other striving writers, jealousy is a prime candidate. I suppose it could be just plain old irrationality and a juvenile temperament as well, but I suspect envy fits in there some place.

    So, while we may see plenty of people who dislike the books, and who can discuss it rationally just as with any other work of writing, and allow that comments from those with an opposing viewpoint may be valid, and also allow that intelligent people may take the opposing view, when the subject of Twilight comes up you will always find a few (as evidenced by this thread) who take the irrational view that everyone who disagrees with them is simply an idiot. It is an unfortunate thing to see on a discussion site, but there you have it.

    As for Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - I read something by her years ago and remember it being quite good. I can't remember what it was, but it may have had vampires in it. This would have been late 80s or early 90s. Does that series go back that far?
     
  5. I seriously can't believe it's 2011 and this discussion still happens.

    Quality and popularity are 100% orthogonal, and have absolutely literally nothing to do with each other. Nothing. Popularity is not necessarily an indicator of quality because popularity is not an indicator of quality. Ever. At all. To even the slightest degree.

    Popularity is a perfectly objective measure: it's the number (or percentage) of people who like something, or at least have purchased it. (If 20 million people buy a book, it's popular, even if 99% of them read it and think it sucks.) You can count it, and it can't be argued with (aside from errors in counting).

    Quality is a perfectly subjective measure, because it depends entirely on the point of view of an individual viewer. Independent of anything anyone else may say, I may read a book and decide that it is the greatest thing ever written. Entirely independent of that, someone else may read the same book and decide that it is the worst piece of vile trash ever to sully paper. Neither of us is "right" or "wrong" or has our position supported by the book's popularity or lack thereof. I, who decide the book is the greatest thing ever, am not wrong or even slightly more wrong if everyone else on the entire planet thinks the book sucks. The guy who thinks the book is vile trash is not wrong if everyone else in the entire universe thinks the book is the greatest thing since whatever was the greatest thing before sliced bread.

    Now, the more popular something is, the more probable it is (on average) that a new reader will like it. But there is still no such thing as objective quality of a work of art.
     
  6. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    That's actually the point I was trying to make. I, and many, many others, have perfectly logical, sound reasons for not liking the books and the movies. But all those reasons are ignored in favor of name-calling. Everyone here was called insecure, jealous, trendy, petty, and small. (Yes, those are direct quotes.) We were accused of bashing and telling falsehoods. (Quoting again.) Any and all explanations of the reasoning were "dismissed out of hand," simply because one person did not agree with the concepts presented. The behavior was repeated even as explanations were ignored.

    Unfortunately, my point was entirely missed by the person it was aimed at.
     
  7. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Maester

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    I'm a teenage boy and the only time I flip to one of those movies is to laugh my ass off haha. For the most part, they are really, really bad, and you can tell by just reading the title.
     
  8. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    I haven't watched The Sci Fi Channel since MST3K was cancelled. I didn't think the channel could sink any lower... then they changed their name to "SyFy."
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Partly a trademark issue, from what I understand. But yes, the channel is pretty bad.
     
  10. Graffikgal

    Graffikgal Scribe

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    Evening Steerpike,

    I mostly agree with everything you said, but I am not sure about people being jealous or envious of Meyer's success. They may or not be. In fact, I am sure _some_are, but I tend to believe that for many writers who have struggled to succeed it may be more of a sense of injustice and frustration. It has to be difficult to accept that you believe you have something of substance to offer and struggle to get it out there while someone you think has a substandard product seems to succeed with little effort. If I was a writer or artist, it would frustrate me. ;-)

    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's first Saint Germain book was called The Hotel Transylvania and it was written in 1978. The latest installment of the series was released earlier this year, and she has another one due out in 2012. I really need to play catch-up with this series. There a few of 'em I haven't read.

    Here's the Wiki page for Yarbro with a complete listing of each novel in the series. There's also a listing for spinoff series like the Atta Olivia Clemens books.

    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Have a good evening.
     
  11. Battlestar Galactica was pretty damn good. ;-)
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Thanks, Graffikgal.

    I think the frustration or argument of injustice is little better than the others. I think you may very well be correct, but it is not a flattering position for the person making the argument, for many of the same reasons given above. I again go back to the history of the book Twilight, and I think it strains credulity that it is all the result of a cleverly-marketed, terrible book with stupid readers. Looking it up real quick, I see info about the advance, that it debuted at number 5 on the NY Times bestseller list within a month, was a publisher's weekly best book of 2008 (for kids), received good critical reviews, including from The Times, and the like. To be sure it also got its share of negative press. But the idea that this was all the result of clever marketing, pulling the wool over people's eyes in the hopes that a bad product would justify the ridiculous advance - well, that's nonsense. A vast number of people like it, and the editor recognized it. But I realize I am repeating myself :)

    To me, this shows that story telling trumps technical writing proficiency. Let's take a look at four bona fide literary phenomena of the last decade or so (only one of which I like).

    1) Twilight has been discussed to death. I finished the first book. It isn't for me. The writing is mediocre (not terrible, certainly not great), but nevertheless Meyer found a huge audience to connect with her story and characters. Her book The Host, which is actually pretty good and in my view much better than Twilight, will never get that kind of following.

    2) Eragon. I couldn't get through book one. I think the writing is a couple notches below Meyer. Nevertheless, Paolini connected with a vast audience. And I'm glad he was successful with it. So what if I didn't like it personally?

    3) The Da Vinci Code. Another book I did not like. I do not think the writing is all that great, and I could just never get into it. But a lot of people love the work and love Dan Brown. Good for Dan Brown - I'm glad to see him or any other writer achieve a tremendous success.

    4) Harry Potter. These books I did like. The writing is competent. Rowling is no Nabokov, but she did a decent job from that angle. The story itself wasn't entirely new. You could find other examples of similar stories preceding Rowling. But the story she told connected with millions of readers, as did her characters. That can't be said for the other works that preceded her. So hats off to Rowling. I'm glad she pulled it off.

    In each of those instances, there is nothing extraordinary about the writing itself. But there is some, perhaps intangible, quality that resonates with the readers (who are not idiots in any of the instances mentioned above). I'm glad to see it, personally. It makes me happy to see any writer go from obscurity to success. This could be the topic of another thread, I suppose, but a person who has top-notch technical skills in terms of the actual prose, but who can't tell a story or can't create a story readers care about will never come close to the level of success of these examples of writers who are less than excellent from a technical standpoint.

    EDIT: I looked at the Chelsea Quinn Yarbro page. I'm sure it was one of those I read, but it has been so long. Now I have more books to add to my ever-growing pile of books to read :)
     
  13. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    You're not the first teenage boy who's told me this. And yet, SyFy is still programming to that mythical creature. I don't know why. It's made the channel a lot less interesting, I think.
     
  14. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    Yeah, and if you'll notice, they've tried to copy it ever since. They're constantly running with the big mystery of who the bad guy is, and everyone in conflict.
     
  15. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    She is angst-ridden and has crappy self esteem, like 98% of teenage girls. They can relate to her. They relate to her BECAUSE she is so "normal".
     
  16. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    None of my teenage girls (5 now) were that dumb. Or that.... bland. Of the three who expressed an opinion on Bella, they thought she was stupid and boring. I don't think my girls are supergeniuses, or that far from the norm.
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Teenage girls tends to be pretty smart. Which again gives the lie to the idea that fans of Twilight are stupid. The vast majority of the fans of the work, whether teens or otherwise, are intelligent and curious individuals. The characterization of fans of the work as stupid is a myth perpetuated by those who claim to dislike the work (but who are nevertheless obsessed with it). :D
     
  18. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    That is preposterous.
     
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Not really. The evidence:

    1. Plenty of people who like Twilight are bright, intelligent individuals;
    2. Plenty of people who dislike Twilight claim those who like it are stupid;
    3...

    Well, there is no need for #3. Items 1 and 2 support my point. Anyone who thinks fans of Twilight are all stupid is wrong, and since it is hard to believe they do not know they are wrong it is open season on possible motives :)
     
  20. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    So let me see if I understand your reasoning. If lots of people like a thing, then anyone who thinks that thing is stupid are just wrong and jealous, and there is absolutely no possibility of any other explanation for the motives of the people who think the thing is stupid. It cannot possibly BE stupid, because lots of people like a thing.

    So, by that reasoning, WWF, that Kardashian show, Jersey Shore, Happy Days, Dancing With the Stars, That 70s Show, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch are all examples of shows we must all love if you are to consider us not stupid.

    Does that about cover your concept?
     

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