Monday, February 27, 2012

My Soapbox Post

Three things have been bugging me of late, and even though I don't like reading negative blog posts from other bloggers either, I've gotta get it off my chest and really want to know what you all feel about it. I apologize in advance for my mini-rant.

1) There is an uber famous and successful author whose fictional novels [ok, i just really wanted to say fictional novels once in my life and giggle about it :)] I CANNOT stand because the first two or three chapters usually go like this: This story I'm about to tell you is awesome. You're not even going to believe that this happened to me. Seriously, when I tell you this, you will be shaking your head in mega-unbelieving-ness.

And then I found out this uber famous author wrote his first YA book, and I heard great things about it. So I pull it off the shelf at B&N, flip to chapter one and find: This story I'm about to tell you is awesome. You're not even going to believe that this happened to me. REALLY? Just because any book you write will sell cause it has your name on it, please avoid infiltrating your fiction with your own sense of arrogance and get on with the story already.

2) What is up with the Twilight bashing? It comes in the form of attacks on Stephenie Meyer and her writing ability, to the story itself being overanalyzed and ridiculed. Even friends of mine roll their eyes about it (even though I remember back in the day when they devoured the books as fast as I did).

I think it's just a case of bashing the one on top of the pile. Am I wrong? Seriously people, live and let live.

*Note: I realize that by calling out those who criticize 'the success', I am, as a result, calling out myself based on things that bug me #1. I said this was a rant, not a logical succession of intelligent thought. :)

3) This one I am open to explanation or criticism, because I hear it from many esteemed in the writing world and maybe I just don't get it. Why do some have a problem with items in a story not being realistic? Or: that doesn't happen in real life, it shouldn't be in the book.

I'm not talking about speculative fiction that of course, contain things not of this world. Nor do I mean things that don't flow with the nature of your character as you've written him.

I'm talking about: Why can't the girl have two boys pining after her? Why can't a character maintain an edgy persona without swearing every other word? Why can't the boy say he wants to wait until after marriage to have sex...and actually mean it? :)

Why, if it's not a common occurrence in the real world, must it be kept out of fiction? Isn't that why we read fiction, to get lost in a world that isn't real but often wish it was? I don't get it.

What do you all think?


Cassie Mae said...

I am a twi-hard and proud of it.

Best thing about this business? It's subjective. Not everyone will like anything the same.

Music, movies, and art are all the same way.

Kathryn Purdie said...

You go, Ilima! I love to hear you rant. Rant more often please.

For the record, I love Twilight. There. I said it. Hate me if you will, world. People can hate it if they want to, but must they obsess over hating it, articulate the 1,000 reasons why? At the end of the day, it's a book, people. One woman's typed-up fantasy. It's not a statement of how all teen love should be or a political dissertation about women's roles.

And, you can do anything you freaking want to in fiction! You can have a *gasp* passive character that becomes stronger, you can have a realistic teenager that actually has morals outside the norm. Anything can become realistic and gripping and story-worthy. My favorite books are often regarding subjects I thought I'd never like, because the author painted them in a whole new light--like a world revolving around zombies in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Each work of fiction is a unique expression from a unique author.

Thanks for the awesome post, Ilima! (And thanks for letting me rant right along with you!)

Unknown said...

I'm glad someone finally said something about the Twilight bashing!! At one point "everyone" was all over the books and now make fun of them. It annoys me too! Stephenie Meyer is a huge success so get over it :)

I'm really curious about this uber famous author you are referring to...hmmm??? I will do some research to figure this out.

I also keep reading about "things not being realistic" in books. Isn't that the point of make up whatever you want outside of reality...hello? Now I'm all worked up too :)

Thanks for a great post!

Francesca Zappia said...

I completely agree with your first point. It's like, don't tell me your book is going to be awesome--just give me an awesome book!

As for the Twilight bashing... sure, I'm not a fan of Twilight. And I can rant about its faults, if you get me going. But I can do the same for 90% of YA books, because the quality of writing in a lot of them makes me very angry. I'm not one of those people who goes around putting Twilight down every chance I get. I feel like that's a waste of energy nowadays. But when I do say I don't like it, it's not because it's "on the top of the pile." In fact, I've found several YA books that I detest more than Twilight. I don't like it for the simple fact that I think the writing is sub-par.

(I also don't really care that Twilight is popular. Lots of sub-par work is extremely popular. Look at reality TV. If it sells, then whatever. I only get up-in-arms when people call it a "classic" and an "example of literary genius".)

I also agree with you on the third point. We do write to escape the real world. And honestly? I've met people who are like all those people you mentioned. I know a girl who has SEVERAL boys pining after her, not just two. I know someone who is extremely edgy, but never curses. And I know plenty of guys who are waiting until after marriage. It's because people like their perceived notions of the world (a.k.a. stereotypes) and anything else is scary.

Emily said...

Yes. Thank you Ilima. I have never been a huge fan of the Twilight books (not a fan of paranormal in general), but--guess what--I still read them. So I must've liked them on some level, cause--believe me, if I don't like a book I have no problem tossing it.

However, I am annoyed with the bashing. I think it comes down to this: people are jealous of Meyer's success...and look at all the copycats, I mean paranormal YA skyrocketed after these got popular.

Bottom line, whatever gets people reading is awesome. Even if it's Twilight. There. I said it.

Also agree with you on everything else, except I have no idea who you're talking about on number one. A hint please?

Kate Coursey said...

LOL at fictional novel.

I'm not a Twilight fan (PR isn't really my genre), but I do try not to bash it. Different strokes for different folks, or however the saying goes :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

People bash everything. It's not just Twilight. Skinny people still bash on fat people, Married people still bash on single people and vice-versa, traditional vampire lovers bash on twilight...

bash bash bash.

It's a bully world. Trust me, I'm gay. I hear gay-bashing remarks at least once a week from straight people.

Robin said...

Thanks for ranting:)

Agreed on the Twilight bashing. While I was dissappointed in the last book, I will not deny that the 1st 2 had me turning pages big time.

I have a good friend that never finished a single book (not even those required in HS) until Twilight. She has now read the series 6 times. I am trying to help her branch out a little, but I'm glad that Twilight got her started.

Very curious about #1 "fictional novel" hehe

And yay for writing fiction. That's the whole point. I love to get away from reality. Also, for some, those 3 definitely are reality.

Martin Willoughby said...

Never heard of the first author, agree with you on number 2 (though I do enjoy the silly photo-barbs on Facebook) and TOTALLY agrre with you on number 3. It's almost as if the literary elite don't think it could happen, it should be out in a book.

You keep soap-boxing.

Kelley Lynn said...

I'm with you on the Twilight thing. I tore through those books. So did practically everyone else I knew.

I agree with Cassie. This whole business is subjective. I think its very important that we remember that there are humanbeings behind these works. People with feelings and hopes and dreams just like us. You can have an opinion about their work, but don't drag the author into it.

Angela Cothran said...


1) I refuse to read anything by this author (I think I know who you are talking about :) Don't tell me you are awesome--show me.

2) Loved Twilight, but the books got progressively worse for me. I think what happened is a few crazy out of control moms make all of us want to distance ourselves from the phenomenon. But I will never deny I LOVED the first book.

3) No swearing? Abstinence? You might as well believe that the moon is made of cheese! Come on people! There are tons of different ways to live.

Great post Ilima :)

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

You've been tagged in my Lucky 7 meme!

Give it a try for a little luck in your writing!

Go to: for details

Just for fun, of course. Don't feel obligated!

Daisy Carter said...

I'm with you, especially on the twilight rant. I loved twilight, devoured it like you, and still like it. Sure, it's not perfect. But it's a great read, and haters shouldn't hate!