Thursday, January 08, 2009


You quote something as being like your own intended manuscript and what must you do next? Read it. *SIGH*

I'd heard that Stephanie Meyer's book wasn't as good as the movie (I was forced - honest - to go and see the movie before Christmas - dragged there I tell's ya) and that many critiques were particularly critical about the book (the series in fact) for not being written brilliantly.

I guess that's a bonus for Meyer since poor old JK Rowling gets slated personally for failing to be a great writer. Meyer's got away with only her books being bad - not her.

Anyhoo, so, I've picked up a copy and found the preface pretty straight forward. All well and good. Nice hook. So, I kept reading... and I'm not sure how much further I can go.

The girl whose book I borrowed claimed that she got really annoyed by Bella's narration but still loved the books (that's a big pointer right there that the book might not be my thing). Bella's girly insights and her self-obsessed moodiness and commenting on absolutely everything, while SHOWING us her character also serves to cause the narrative to jackrabbit down the road rather than drive smoothly.

Case in point, this from the opening chapter, provided by

Oh hang on, they've got a funny way of editing their excerpt! Try this section instead from only a few pages in:
"Where did you find it?"
"Do you remember Billy Black down at La Push?" La Push is the tiny Indian reservation on the coast.
"He used to go fishing with us during thesummer," Charlie prompted.
That would explain why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.
"He's in a wheelchair now," Charlie continued when I didn't respond, "so he can't drive anymore, and he offered to sell me his truck cheap."
"What year is it?" I could see from his change of expression that this was the question he was hoping I wouldn't ask.
"Well, Billy's done a lot of work on the engine - it's only a few years old, really."
I hoped he didn't think so little of me as to believe I would give up that easily. "When did he buy it?"
Does this girl have to comment on absolutely everything? And she seems so bitchy about it too! I only wonder because it allegedly gets worse.

What this does show us from a learning point is that in order to get us to know the protagonist we need to have a sense of who they are, and Meyer does this by bringing forth Bella's anxiety over the new car. We definitely get a sense of her character.


solv said...

Looks to me that Stephanie might be attempting Stream of Consciousness which is used to 'characterize the continuous flow of thought and sensation in the human mind.'
I've always had reservations about this technique, but have allowed myself little pockets of it across my ms (because it can create intimacy and add a sense of fun). Any more, and I think you run the risk of MEGO. Virginia Woolf was a leading exponent of Stream of Consciousness, as was James Joyce. I have Ulysses somewhere in my 'to read' mountain. I'll let you know what I think. :-)

R1X said...

I had Ulysses and let it go :)

Now then, have you been reading Art of Fiction by David Lodge, by any chance?

I think what many people felt about Bella was that her stream of consciousness was too streamy, perhaps.

solv said...

Art of Fiction by David Lodge?
Never heard of it.
(You didn't get his phone number when he came down did you?)

Emma Shortt said...

Ooo you want to hope no twerds read this - Ooo and BTW you've been tagged...