When I first saw the trailer for the first Twilight movie, I immediately thought that Bella was a poorer version of a far better character from a series that was quite popular at the time – Harry Potter. Bella was lifted, perhaps cynically, by the writer and the publisher, right out of JK Rowling’s popular series. Though many of you who have read the Harry Potter series and Twilight, respectively, you’ll notice one unavoidable fact: JK Rowling is a gifted and imaginative storyteller. Stephanie Meyer is not. A good panderer, perhaps. But a good author? I think not. And yet…
Stephanie Meyer was advanced £700,000 to write the Harry Potter knock off, Twilight. Because they were interested in the next best selling franchise, not the best new author to take on. Admittedly, there are a lot of differences between the two series, apart from one being absolute shit. Both use the fantasy genre to look at kid’s issues, both involve creatures from legend and extensive lore. But most importantly, for publishers, it was a series, and designed to appeal to young adults – who are not famous for their discerning palette when it comes to literature. So it became a successful series, and so on, which led to the derivative of the derivative – 50 Shades of Grey – which went on to be successful as well.
Why that should inspire you
Have you ever been reading a really good book, and imagining, hoping that one day you’d be able to write such a great story? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And I’ve read books that made me feel like giving up completely. I think it’s common for writers to see other great books and be intimidated by the author, or feel like they’ll never be able to write like that.
The first time I read Proust, I put the book down and just spiraled into envy and depression. I will never write as well as Proust. And I’m sure many people, young and aspiring authors, felt like that while reading Harry Potter. But here’s the difference – when Twilight and subsequently 50 Shades of Grey became successful – those same kids, I think, or at least some of them, thought – I can do this. And thousands of aspiring writers around the world thought the same thing: if this shit can be published, I can get published.
Thus, a generation of would be writers realized their ability, or at least should have been galvanized to write their stories and try to get their writing noticed – by the success of these derivative works of absolute shit, hundreds of thousands of people who may have otherwise never felt their work was good enough to be published were given absolute proof, or the proof they needed to get started, that they might not be the best writers – and if you’re reading this, and you want to be a writer, the same is true for you – you might not be Proust or JK Rowling, but you can damn sure do better than fucking Twilight.