Friday, December 05, 2008

No TWILIGHT, please

I've noticed an increase in the queries that compare their books to TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer. While I understand that it's a mega-huge film hit right now (although Manohla Dargis of the NY Times thinks differently), and a bestseller... please understand that I simply despise the book.

I don't despise Ms. Meyer. I'm sure she's a perfectly nice person. I'd like to meet her one day and chat. She's even good friends with Shannon Hale, who is one of my favorite authors, and really, would Shannon Hale pick a bad best friend?

But I don't like Ms. Meyer's writing in the book; it's serviceable, but not for me. I personally think her writing in THE HOST is much worse.

More importantly, I don't like the message that TWILIGHT sends to young girls, who are its rapacious fans everywhere. This essay in the Guardian expresses my feelings on that pretty much perfectly.

So just to let you know, if you think that by telling me your book is like TWILIGHT, that I'm going to love it--you're barking up the wrong tree.

24 comments:

Justus M. Bowman said...

Go, Jenny! Ha ha.

By the way, my book is just like The Host. Please love it!!

David said...

That could be a problem in general, couldn't it? I imagine that query letters often compare the book in the query to some current big hit, but there's always the danger that the agent being queried dislikes the famous book.

And if the agent were to say on her site, "I'm looking for books just like The Host," then every other query would say, "This book is juuuust like The Host." Or maybe every query.

Heidi C. Vlach said...

I couldn't agree more on the unhealthy "romantic" undertones of Twilight.

And if an author says that their book is "just like Recently Popular Book A", I'm guessing it's often a thinly veiled knockoff, right?

dragongirl said...

This made me think of something.
Would it be useful for an agent to post a list of books/people's writing that they don't like, so that people querying can see it? I think it would be a good guide for 'is this the right agent for me?' - if the person you are querying hates the writing of one of your favourite authors, then maybe they won't like your writing, which you are bound to compare to favourite authors at some point?

(Does that make sense?)

Adrienne said...

I enjoy your blog and am a daily visitor, I love the pictures of your kitty, your adventures with . . .well everything . . . but this post, this post . . . is my favourite.

Merry Monteleone said...

Well, now you're in for it... you're about to receive a slew of queries for works that are nothing like Twilight... :-)

Kalika said...

Thank you! I am dismayed by the number of people who do not understand why Edward's behavior is dangerous. It is not okay for a guy to sabotage a girl's truck because 'he loves hers'! It's not romantic, it's scary!

I wouldn't mind the books one bit if it was meant to be scary. But unfortunately, the writer is trying to convince readers this IS romantic. And people believe it.

Crimogenic said...

I read the essay, and it sums up my feelings exactly.

lotusloq said...

Good to know! I didn't think that series would be your cup of tea. Personally I think the books are a fun read mostly. They, as well as The Host, could have been edited a lot more closely. That's for sure! But, considering that SM originally wrote the story for adults and the publishing industry pegged them as YA books, it's hard to be too critical of her for foisting the questionable romantic boyfriend model on the all the "impressionable" reading teens out there. It seems to me that's a publishing issue.

Rhon said...

I wanted to say thank you for posting this link. I read your blog and enjoy what you have to say. I was really excited for you when you opened your own agency. I haven’t queried because you’re not looking for what I write (Contemporary Romance) but because I enjoy your insight I catch up here regularly!

Kathleen Peacock said...

Did I enjoy the books? Yes. Would I be happy if my teen daughter was reading them? Probably not.

I'm curious about the queries themselves. Were they direct comparisons to Twilight or were they referencing the success of Twilight as an indication of potential market?

The link to the essay was great; I'm actually going to forward it to a coworker whose daughters are reading the series.

Jodi Meadows said...

Merry Monteleone said...

Well, now you're in for it... you're about to receive a slew of queries for works that are nothing like Twilight... :-)

--

I suspect you're right. Jenny's guidelines mention elves, dwarfs, farmboys, ect... There are a *lot* of queries that say they don't like those, either, and there are none in *this* manuscript, muahaha!

It's okay. I find it vaguely annoying (I like the query to speak for itself), but people do like to show that they're paying attention. (Now if they could pay attention enough to use the right query address, we'd be going somewhere!)

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

Oh my, I had no idea. Now I need a recommendation for a series for teenage girls for xmas. Any ideas? Supernatural flavor a plus.

Jodi Meadows said...

Julie, check out Sherwood Smith and Tamara Pierce! :)

fairytalehero said...

When I read the article in The Guardian, I had the very same reaction. I'm so glad you feel the same way!

Michelle said...

OH Jenny, I liked you before this post, now, I love you.

I feel the same about the last three books in the Twilight series especially Breaking Dawn. (I actually liked Twilight, thought it was a decent read and felt the world was pretty amazing).

However, by the end of Eclipse I had a real problem with Edward's abusive behavior, and felt I needed to talk to my teenage daughter about healthy relationships.

I laughed out loud when you mentioned "The Host" IMHO it was a huge plot hole Deus Ex Machina. I literaly threw it across the room when I finished and promptly donated it to my local library.

Michelle

Taymalin said...

Thanks for posting this Jenny, I was starting to feel like I was the only person who _didn't_ like the danged books.

I can't believe how offended people get when I tell them that. Like I just called their best friend a bad name.

But the idea that women should forgive a man anything is pervasive. I broke up with someone I felt was abusive, only to be told by my female friends that I just didn't love him enough, otherwise I'd have forgiven him.

If that be the case, I'm looking forward to a long and happy life of singlehood.

Elissa M said...

I have not read Twilight or it's sequels. After reading the essay, it's unlikely I ever will. There are far too many novels out there with heroes and heroines I might actually like to waste my time on something that will surely make my jaw clench.

Marva said...

My books are nothing like Twilight, The Host, or anything else with a woman on the cover with a tramp-stamp (see the Swivet).

That means, of course, my books won't sell. Oh, well. To me, that's like saying I won't be a whore. Oh, well.

Just_Me said...

I don't think Meyer's religion is to blame, but I agree with the rest. Twilight is just creepy.

Jenny, I promise that if I ever get around to sending out queries (it still sounds scary) any vampires that might appear will be nothing like Twilight. :o) You can hold me to that.

And I will love you forever if you send everything resembling Twilight straight to the shredder.

Neal said...

Do we get bonus points if our query mentions how our protagonist would have staked Edward before breakfast? And the rest of his family by noon at the latest? *grin*

Write Across The Moon said...

And I thought I was the only person in the world who hated this series. Unhealthy anti-feminist viewpoints aside, she couldn't even come up with unique descriptive adjectives for Edward's cold, beautiful, white, pale (repeat ad nauseum) skin. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

chrysanthemumpromise said...

I wouldn't have a problem as I don't write vampire stories :P I much prefer historical fiction :)

marikris said...

I actually haven't read the series (I tried reading The Host, but stopped a quarter of the way), so when I walked into the theater, I had no real expectations other than it's a vampire movie. Needless to say, seeing it on opening day (on a Friday around 4pm, no less) had me sitting sandwiched between tweeny-aged kids.

Anyway, I liked the movie, but I had that queasy feeling after realizing the theater was 80% children (approximately, of course). I thought it was just way too sexually charged. I don't think I'll ever read the book, though. I'm very picky, and I'd rather just think it was an erotic YA movie than a book about a passive female/abusive male with questionable writing.