Monday, February 23, 2009

Great Twilight Snark!

Oh noes, it's Monday. Back to work and school. I know you're feelin' down, so just to redirect your annoyance at something less consequential to your life, I bring you TWILIGHT! Yay!

This first one I found this on the Facebook group Edward Cullen Can Eat My Shorts – The Official Anti-Twilight Trilogy Group. So obviously, I didn't write it. What I love most is that it truly showcases Smeyer's godawful horrendously bad writing. As another member of the group succinctly put it: "This is the kind of story that middle-school girls tell themselves when they fantasize. The kind of shit you wrote in your diary at age 13 about the amazing adventures that you have in your head." And so it begins:


"I won't let you get lost." He turned then, with a mocking smile, and I stifled a gasp. His white shirt was sleeveless, and he wore it unbuttoned, so that the smooth white skin of his throat flowed uninterrupted over the marble contours of his chest, his perfect musculature no longer merely hinted at behind concealing clothes. He was too perfect, I realized with a piercing stab of despair. There was no way this godlike creature could be meant for me. [I'm thinking he's more likely meant for the depths of Hell.]

He stared at me, bewildered by my tortured expression. [I'm not the least bit bewildered. I'm feeling pretty tortured, too.]

"Do you want to go home?" he said quietly, a different pain than mine saturating his voice. [I'm sure there's a medication you can get for that.]

"No." I walked forward till I was close beside him, anxious not to waste one second of whatever time I might have with him. [I wish I never had to spend any time with him.]

***

Edward in the sunlight was shocking. [I guess it's too much to hope for that he'd burst into flames.] I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. [That actually sounds really gross.] He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, [as opposed to a fluorescent chest] his scintillating arms bare. [I can has thesaurus?] His glistening, pale lavender lids [maybe it's Maybelline] were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. [This book has the opposite effect on me.] A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal. [First he's marble and then he's crystal. . . Make up your mind, woman.]

Now and then, his lips would move, so fast it looked like they were trembling. But, when I asked, he told me he was singing to himself; it was too low for me to hear. [It sounds like he's baked out of his mind. I'm jealous.]

I enjoyed the sun, too, though the air wasn't quite dry enough for my taste. I would have liked to lie back, as he did, and let the sun warm my face. But I stayed curled up, my chin resting on my knees, unwilling to take my eyes off him. [It's OK, Bella, this book makes me want to curl up in fetal position, too.] The wind was gentle; it tangled my hair and ruffled the grass that swayed around his motionless form.

The meadow, so spectacular to me at first, paled next to his magnificence. [JKLSADJKLSFDJLADFDAFSLJDAFSJLJKL Sorry, I'll stop banging my head on the keyboard in lieu of coming up with jokes.]

Hesitantly, always afraid, even now, that he would disappear like a mirage, [but a girl can dream, can't she?] too beautiful to be real…[he's definitely too something to be real] hesitantly, I reached out one finger and stroked the back of his shimmering hand, [and now I know why the Forks Walgreens is always out of body glitter] where it lay within my reach. I marveled again at the perfect texture, satin smooth, cool as stone. [More stone imagery? Get a new metaphor, jeez.] When I looked up again, his eyes were open, watching me. Butterscotch today, [vanilla tomorrow, and chocolate on Saturday] lighter, warmer after hunting. [Ooh baby, animal blood makes me so horny.] His quick smile turned up the corners of his flawless lips. [Isn't it just so hot how those lips were sucking the blood out of endangered animals just a few days ago?]

"I don't scare you?" he asked playfully, but I could hear the real curiosity in his soft voice. [The only thing that scares me is that fangirls swallow this shit and crave more.]

"No more than usual."

He smiled wider; his teeth flashed in the sun. [Now on sale at Wal-Mart: Day-Glo dentures!]

***

I sat without moving, more frightened of him than I had ever been. I'd never seen him so completely freed of that carefully cultivated facade. He'd never been less human… or more beautiful. [AFJDFSJKLAFDJLAFDS about not hitting my head on the keyboard. . . I lied.] Face ashen, eyes wide, I sat like a bird locked in the eyes of a snake. [Cedric was a Hufflepuff, not a Slytherin. But I guess "locked in the eyes of a badger" doesn't sound as poetic. (Badgers are little bitches, though. Just watch Animal Planet.)]

His lovely eyes seem to glow with rash excitement. [My contact's blurry so for a moment I thought it said "excrement." That would've been much more fun.] Then, as the seconds passed, they dimmed. [Guess the batteries ran out.] His expression slowly folded into a mask of ancient sadness. [So much more potent than modern sadness.]

"Don't be afraid," he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive. [I think Bella would find him taking a dump seductive.] "I promise…" He hesitated. "I swear not to hurt you." [Sadly, this book has hurt me. A lot.] He seemed more concerned with convincing himself than me. [You don't have to convince me that this book sucks.]

"Don't be afraid," he whispered again as he stepped closer, with exaggerated slowness. [This moment becomes much funnier if you imagine his voice in slo-mo, too.] He sat sinuously, [How do you sit sinuously? Did he like, go into some weird contortionist pose or something?] with deliberately unhurried movements, [I don't imagine it's easy to maneuver oneself into a human pretzel] till our faces were on the same level, just a foot apart.

"Please forgive me," he said formally. ["I know it's a bit awkward staring at you from between my legs, but if you find sucking endangered animal blood sexy, I'm sure contortionism turns you on, too."] "I can control myself. You caught me off guard. But I'm on my best behavior now." [I beg to differ. His best behavior is when he shuts the hell up or better yet, is off the page.]

He waited, but I still couldn't speak. [I am incoherent from the utter stupidity of this scene, as well.]

"I'm not thirsty today, honestly." He winked. [I am. But I'm thinking more along the lines of something with a high content of grain alcohol.]

At that I had to laugh, though the sound was shaky and breathless.

"Are you all right?" he asked tenderly, reaching out slowly, carefully, to place his marble hand back in mine. [I'm going to start keeping a tally of all the times Edward's been compared to some form of rock.]

I looked at his smooth, cold hand, and then at his eyes. They were soft, repentant. [Eyes are generally soft, since they're composed of muscle and nerves and stuff. Unless perhaps he has glass eyes.] I looked back at his hand, and then deliberately returned to tracing the lines in his hand with my fingertip. I looked up and smiled timidly.

His answering smile was dazzling. [I am not dazzled.]

***

"I should have left long ago," he sighed. [I wholeheartedly agree!] "I should leave now. [Not stopping you, dude.] But I don't know if I can." [Yes, you can! You can do it!]

"I don't want you to leave," I mumbled pathetically, staring down again. [That makes one of us.]

"Which is exactly why I should. But don't worry. I'm essentially a selfish creature. I crave your company too much to do what I should." [I can help you with that. *grabs stake*]

"I'm glad."

"Don't be!" [Trust me, I'm not.] He withdrew his hand, more gently this time; his voice was harsher than usual. Harsh for him, still more beautiful than any human voice. [Oh, just go on American Idol already.] It was hard to keep up — his sudden mood changes left me always a step behind, dazed. [Maybe he's having male menopause. He is over a century old, after all.]

"It's not only your company I crave! Never forget that. Never forget I am more dangerous to you than I am to anyone else." [I don't know, this book works better than Lunesta.] He stopped, and I looked to see him gazing unseeingly into the forest. [Maybe he has glass eyes after all?]

***

"You see, every person smells different, has a different essence. If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he'd gladly drink it. [Um, non-alkies gladly drink crappy stale beer, numb nuts. Frat parties, anyone?] But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. [I hope this book is banned from rehab facilities.] Now let's say you placed in that room a glass of hundred-year-old brandy, the rarest, finest cognac — and filled the room with its warm aroma — how do you think he would fare then?" [All this talk of alcohol is making me crave some. *heads to nearest frat house*]

We sat silently, looking into each other's eyes — trying to read each other's thoughts. [Bitch, you are not Deanna Troi. Sit down.]

He broke the silence first.

"Maybe that's not the right comparison. Maybe it would be too easy to turn down the brandy. [Honestly, between brandy and Edward, I'd take the cheap generic shit they peddle at Ralph's.] Perhaps I should have made our alcoholic a heroin addict instead."

"So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" I teased, trying to lighten the mood. [You'd definitely have to be on mind altering substances to think this is good literature.]

Muah-ha-ha-ha. Extra points for the Star Trek reference.



And now, an excellent overview of Smeyer's bad writing, by one "gaimangirl," I found on the Amazon.com discussion forum "Addressing the 'Bella is an anti-feminist and terrible heroin' issue." (Yes, she actually spelled it "heroin." That's like calling it the "Bella is an anti-feminist and terrible Phenethylamine" issue.)


"Another thing you're taking too literally is Bella's assessment of the situation."

I don't know if you're talking to me, but I'll answer. And that, your following paragraph, is precisely the problem. It is, I believe, Meyer's worst failing as a writer. She cannot grasp the "show, don't tell" rule to save her life. -Sidenote: Meyer has many failings as a writer, from a technical standpoint, which is what Stephen King was talking about when he said she can't write: the unnecessary repetition, way too many adverbs and adjectives, silly and pretentious word choice, problems with speech tags, stilted and unnatural dialogue, and what is up with all the ellipses in the dialogue? Meyer writes so many awkward pauses into her dialogue that her characters sound like they've been possessed by the ghost of William Shatner.

But anyhow, that's exactly the thing--showing vs telling. For example, Meyer tells us over and over that Bella is supposed to be so smart and mature, an old soul. And yet, throughout the entire series I felt as though she were about as mature as my 6-year-old cousin. In fact, she may even be less mature than him, b/c I'm pretty sure that he throws fewer tantrums than she does. Meyer wants us to think that Bella is this old soul, but she doesn't seem to grasp that she has to show us that for us to really believe it.

And that goes for characterization in general, even in books that are written from the first person. People don't necessarily go around inner monologuing about their strengths and weaknesses, no. They don't go around with a mental catalogue going "And these are my strengths" and "these are my failings" and blah blah. But that doesn't mean that they're not there. And even in a first person narrated work, their strengths and weaknesses, passions and dislikes, etc should come through to the reader, through the use of the character's actions, their dialogue--not only what they say, but how they say it, how other characters react to them, and etc. The writer has many tools to work with when it comes to characterization. They don't have to solely rely on inner monologue. A truly gifted writer will create a vivid, well rounded, realistic character, first person or no, and not have to spell out to the reader every little detail because they don't have to. The reader will just know, because the writer has shown them who the character is.

If Meyer wanted Bella to have low self-esteem, that's fine, that's great actually b/c it's very realistic. Many young girls do. But Bella is hardly a character at all, she's a cipher. There's nothing to her. All we really know about her is: she's clumsy, boys in Forks seem to worship her for some reason, she worships Edward, she cooks for her father out of a sense of duty, and she likes to read. And honestly the she likes to read thing doesn't seem like a real character trait, b/c there's hardly any attention paid to it. It seems more like it was an easy way for Meyer to convey that her character is supposed to be smart (although I certainly don't get that sense) and to make her books seem more literary by throwing in references to Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

But just my two cents.

More points for yet another Star Trek reference. And I couldn't agree with you more.

4 comments:

Mrs. C said...

You took the words right out of my mouth when you said "Muah-ha-ha-ha.!" (or sumpthin' like that)

What kills me the most these days about this crap is that I keep running into colleagues who enjoy the hell out of these books and not in a sarcastic way. Lit teachers. Who get all defensive like teenage girls when one questions their taste. *sigh*

So, how are you, child? I just got the Ara 13 book, and will begin reading it tonight. Hard on the heels of THE HOURS, followed by COLD COMFORT FARM, I'm thinking it will be a romp.

Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads said...

That was so funny, especially about understanding why the Forks Walgreens is always out of body glitter!

E. L. Fay said...

Hey Mo, glad you enjoyed this! Now I thought you liked Twilight?

Mrs. C said...

Argghhhh! (tearing at hair). On the way home from school today I listened as a lit prof from Georgetown gave a positively GLOWING review of Ms. Meyer and her mad writerly skillz. I am srsly What the Farkle, Nimrod? right now. It hurts; oh, my head! It hurts.

Have you seen the sistersalad response to Twilight? search it on youtube. Those are some clever chicks.

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