Thursday, August 15, 2013

Did Stephenie Meyer Diss Twilight?


Have you seen the Variety interview with Stephenie Meyer? It's been making the Internet rounds today. When asked about Twilight she said "It's not a happy place to be." And "I am so over it."

I can't decide how I feel about this. On one hand, I understand why she might get a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach every time it's mentioned. Much of society views Twilight either as a joke or a disease that needs to be eradicated. The series' fans are portrayed as unintelligent, squealing fangirls who wouldn't know a decent book if it hit them on the nose. It's not that some of the criticism isn't deserved - hell, I'm a big fan and I still find plenty to criticize. But I think the hatred has gone beyond the justified into the, "Look, I'm so cool, I'm going to rag on Twilight just like everyone else." Many of those who complain about Twilight haven't even read it. One flock of sheep trying to take down another. 

But...when Stephenie says she's "so over it" a bad taste is left in my mouth. For all the people who despise Twilight and Stephenie, there are those of us who have stuck with the series and defended it over and over again. Her comment sounds disrespectful towards the steadfast fans. If an author won't stand by her books, what are we supposed to do? It's quite an ungrateful statement about the thing that made her a very well known and wealthy person. Can you imagine JK Rowling saying anything bad about Harry Potter? (Obviously the quality of Harry Potter and Twilight are very different but the point remains.). Wanting to move on is understandable but a smart person continues to acknowledge and be appreciative of their past work. 

I'd like to give Stephenie the benefit of the doubt here. That she didn't mean to diss Twilight. That her comments were taken out of context. Given editing and a magazine's desire to sell copies and get hits on its webpage, it's quite possible that some artful cutting of her actual words went on. Or perhaps she simply spoke without thinking and if she'd thought about it, she would have said something different. But there's an undertone of arrogance throughout the entire interview. I can't put my finger on it exactly but it makes me uncomfortable. 

Even if her words were taken out of context, I don't think Stephenie can play victim here. She says that she's focusing on producing films now more than writing. If Stephenie wants to play with the big boys in Hollywood she should start by getting some media training. Because she's not doing herself or her future film career any favors by biting the hand that feeds her. She should know by now that, for better or worse, in the media, appearances are everything. 

***[Edited to add: Stephenie has now posted a long apology on her website. I figured she would. It's nicely worded and I think sincere. Basically she says that she rambled on and on and the poor interviewer had to cobble her words down to a few sentences. It was smart of her to place the blame on herself and not the interviewer. Makes her seem more humble. And I really do get where she's coming from with the endless hate. 

However...She should have known better. She has been giving interviews to major publications for 8 years now. She has inserted herself into the notoriously cutthroat world of Hollywood and wants to stay there. She should know that these interviewers are not your friends and that you had better parse every word before you say it. This is a game and for her sake (and mine, because I like Twilight and want to read Stephenie's future books, if any), I hope she figures it out.]

What do you think?

34 comments :

  1. Well said! I haven't read the review yet, but I agree with all your points. - Jen @ A Book and a Latte

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  2. Honestly, as an author, I get what she's saying. She wrote that series a long time ago and has probably moved on to new projects that she's excited about. I have no doubt she's over it and hasn't given the series much thought in a long while. Yet, that's the number one thing everyone wants to talk about. She's probably burned out on the whole thing by now.

    JK Rowling created a fake persona just so she could enjoy writing something new and fresh without the shadow of Harry Potter looming over her. I wouldn't be surprised if Stephanie does something similar. Even Stephen King created a fake writing persona to escape his own brand.

    I don't think she's dissing Twilight. She's just moved on from it.

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    1. Rhiannon, I get what she's saying too and why she'd want to move on. Still, I think it would have been smarter for her to word it differently. Because I'm far from the only person who has been up in arms over it. And the last thing she needs is to alienate the relatively few fans who have stuck by through all the hate.

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    2. Honestly, unless I see a video of her saying it and in the context in which it was said, I'm taking it all with a grain of salt. Interviews are tricky things. The magazine wants to sell copies and they're going to drum up controversy.

      She's always been so gracious to her fans, I find it hard to believe she'd be deliberately dismissive of them. I hope not. :(

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  3. This is pretty interesting. I haven't read the interview, but I see what you're saying. She seems to have lost interest in writing altogether. I also get what Stephenie means about being over it, but she probably should have worded it differently. People love Twilight and have spent LOTS of money on merchandise for it, she should be a little more careful about accidentally insulting those fans. Personally I'm a bigger fan of The Host, which she's said would be a trilogy for years now but hasn't ever written. I'm a little bitter, I guess :P

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  4. I'm with you, Allison. As a writer, you have to think about the effect of your every word, and while I understand that her intention may not have been to insult her own series, it could be taken that way. She should have been more precise in her language to indicate how she feels. At least write more than like twelve words for that question.

    I would hope that those words do not indicate that she's ashamed of her own work but rather that she's excited to start on something new. Otherwise it sounds exactly as you said: as if she's ragging on the people who have been faithful to her and her work from the start.

    One thing that may help is that she also said that she wants to spend more time in other worlds. Potentially that could be seen as a sign of not wanting the writing pressure, that she's over creating her own worlds for now as she 'decompresses' on her writing. I don't know if it helps to think of it that way.

    Also I find the way Twilight is treated in public opinion to be very sad. I don't like Twilight as much as I once did, but that doesn't give me the right to be disrespectful about it. And it's especially sad when people who haven't read the series are so willing to write it off like it's some parody. I believe I read somewhere that it's one of the top ten most successful series of all time - if that's a joke, then wow. Just wow.

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  5. Woah. What was that all about? Tsk. I really hope she's pertaining to something else about Twilight because if not, I dunno what else to feel aside from disappointment. We've been defending her novels for so long that the least she could do is ditch us like this.

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  6. Wow, did she actually say that? I was in love with Twilight in its early years and after the books went to the big screen, began hating it. Well, the author saying "It's not a happy place to be." for me it means like she hates her books, something like disowning her own daughter/son. . . weird for her to say that.

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  7. I actually saw this mentioned earlier on Twitter and had to click, even though I'm not a Twilight fan myself and I honestly don't know much about her. I saw The Host, but didn't read the book and I couldn't make myself finish the Twilight series.

    I'm almost positive that the quote was most likely taken out of context... at least a little. Or she really just doesn't think things through before she speaks and it might have just come out wrong.

    Twilight, from what I understand, was her first project. She's probably grown a lot as a person and writer since then, so perhaps looking back she might feel embarrassed. And honestly... I don't think I could have handled the attention that she did. I wouldn't have ever wanted to face the light of day or humans again. I can't imagine it was a happy time when everywhere you went online or out in the world people were bashing the crap out of Twilight... I'm almost positive when she set out to write Twilight was she thinking it would become so explosive and big as it did. Honestly, I even feel bad for her.

    I don't know, just my two cents. :)

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

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  8. Oh I absolutely agree with you and it definitely leaves a sour taste behind. Even if it might have been taken out of context, it still feels disrespectful. I do get why she wants to move one and I say Go For IT! But then, she shouldn't forget that it was Twilight who made her big in the first place and the reason she can now write whatever she wants is just due to Twilight. So yes, she can be tires but shouldn't forget where she comes from!

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  9. I've seen Stephenie say similar things in interviews before, but with the explanation that, while Twilight is her baby, she's spent so much time in Twilight's world that she's ready to move on. She's tied up all of her characters' storylines and there's nothing more to be done.
    I've never heard her say it in such a negative way before though, and that really makes me suspect that her response was edited. It just doesn't seem like her at all, and the wording itself is kind of choppy and unnatural sounding. I see the Twilight movie's actors' interviews taken out of context all the time to try to "prove" that they hate the franchise, and I think that's what's happening here as well.

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  10. I just checked Stephenie's official website, and she's recently published an explanation, saying she is "horrified that my words could be construed in any way to mean that I am "over" the lovely people who embraced Twilight, made it such a huge hit, and changed my life."
    She also says, about the quote that Twilight is a negative place for her, "when I speak of Twilight becoming a negative place for me, it is entirely that near-omnipresent Twilight antipathy that I am speaking of. And I'm not complaining or saying it's unfair—I totally understand and even empathize with its existence. I'm just saying that Twilight isn't the wholly positive place for me that it once was."
    Her whole statement is on stepheniemeyer.com if anyone wants to read it. I know it made me, as a dedicated Twilight fan, feel much better!

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  11. She should probably have been a little more careful with her words, but she has since posted an apology on her website.

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  12. I would just like to say that I have read ALL the Twilight books, and I really don't like them. Yes, I diss on them a lot, but I feel like I can since I've actually read them.

    As for an author dissing their own books, that is kinda sad. Then again, I think the whole Twilight franchise is a bit over done, and I can see why she would want to be done and over it! I love the Harry Potter books. I grew up with them, but I am kinda over them. I enjoy reading them, but I think it is time to move on to something new!

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  13. Her words were not taken out of context. People just read too much into them. SM just means she's over the Twilight Series as a project or future project. She still loves her fans.

    Here's the entire interview. http://variety.com/2013/film/news/qa-stephenie-meyer-twilight-author-trades-undead-for-well-bred-in-austenland-1200577471/

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  14. I'm not sure I agree with you. I first read the article (before reading Stephenie Meyer's apology) and I really didn't feel like she was dissing the fans or anything.

    I agree with what you said at the beginning of your article. How everyone has negative things to say about Twilight, and those that like it are portrayed like idiot fangirls. And it is something that I find sooooo frustrating. I've never been a huge Twilight fan. I read the first book years ago, well before the movie. And I liked it . . . but I never felt compelled to read the others in teh series. I did finally read them, but it was years later, after the 3 movies were out. And I liked them enough, but they are not my favorites. However, just because it isn't my favorite, doesn't mean that others can love it. I hate that today, anyone who likes Twilight is treated like an idiot. People have the right to like what they like, and there is nothing wrong with liking Twilight.

    Anyway, I'm getting a little off topic. Again, even before I read her apology, I never felt like Meyer was putting down her fans. I can't imagine what it is like for her, the creator of this series that everyone makes fun, to hear about that stuff. It just felt like she was saying, "I'm over all the negativity. I'm trying to not let that bother me." That's what it felt like to me. And I imagine it mus tbe hard for Meyer to constantly be asked about Twilight. I mean it's hard to not associate them together: the negativity and her books.

    And as for Meyer knowing better. I'm not sure I can fault her for not predicting how the reporter would edit her words. I think after every negative thing she's heard, the fact that she might not expect the worst isn't really a bad thing.

    And on one more note. I don't think people would make fun of a book written by a guy with a guy main character.

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  15. Hmm, bad choice of words there but I get where she is coming from though. The negative reaction to Twilight has been by far the loudest and most prevalent reaction. Meyer must be utterly sick of her work being treated like a laughing stock. It’s her biggest work and I think something she wishes she could get away from. Her feelings must be very sour over the books and movies. It may be ‘popular’ but it must seem to her as if people are reading the books and seeing the movies just so they can jeer and laugh at it.

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  16. I can see where she's coming from and why those words might have slipped out, but like you said, she should have known better. For all the haters, she still has millions of fans who have loved the books or movies, and no one in a beloved fandom wants to hear the creator of said fandom badmouthing what they love so much. I'll have to go check out her apology though, I'm glad you felt it was sincere:)

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  17. I personally don't get what is wrong with she said. It's the same thing when a movie director, or a musician move on and they look back on their old stuff and are like "Wow, what was I thinking." Everyone does it because you grow and change as a person. She wants to move on to other things. She didn't say ANYTHING about her fans, so you can't turn it into her dissing them. She said she was over Twilight and that was all. For whatever reason though, people don't seem to realize that someone in the spotlight is still human just like you or I. Why is it okay for us to do something and not them?

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  18. I just read about this, this morning. And like you I'm sort of in the middle of it. And do think that this could have been a miscommunication.

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  19. I think a good comparison would be with EL James dissing her books. Her Fifty Shades series is both universally successful and universally panned also but she made €95 million last year.

    http://www.thejournal.ie/el-james-leads-top-earning-writers-1034322-Aug2013/

    I don't know what Stephenie Meyers intended but I think even if you hated your series at this stage and have moved on, you should respect your fan and keep it to yourself. Like you said Alison, fans have spend years defending Twilight.

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  20. Over the years I have read so many accounts from fans who were treated horribly by her. Being charged for autographs, and refusing to give book signings without some ridiculous needs being met. Now I have no idea if these are true, but having met some wonderful writers I tend to wonder. I feel like her apology is mainly damage control because of how much negative chatter it picked up on the web. Who knows, I could be wrong, but that is my thoughts on the whole thing.

    Great post though, very well written from both pro and con side.

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  21. I don't think she meant to diss her fans because let's face it, without them, she wouldn't have the success she enjoys today. Someone would have to be really stupid to insult the very people who are fans of his or her work. I think she is just ready to move on to something different.

    It was smart of her to post an apology. I'd never want to do an interview, sheesh! Things get taken out of context all the time. You're right - if she wants to stay where she is in Hollywood, she better get some media training or else she's going to find herself sticking her foot in her mouth A LOT.

    I enjoyed the first three Twilight books a lot, but I absolutely hated Breaking Dawn. I barely could make myself finish it. I think she has a lot of growing to do as a writer if that's the direction she'd like to stay in or if she wants to be a screenwriter. I'd be interested in her writing a New Adult contemporary romance or something - anything other than vampires or paranormal, just for a hot second. I've moved on from the series. I'm not as crazy about it as I used to be, and the movies kind of made me think about the books differently I think.

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  22. Wow. That's just not a great statement! I can understand that it would be hard to live with all the hype but it would also be awesome because just look at how many people LOVE those books and movies (well, mostly the books). Words can be misconstrued in interviews but you're right, she should have known not to say things like that. At least she did an apology to her fans.

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  23. I do think that she has moved onto her other things, and I do think it was taken out of context. I think that she needs do things that she wants to do.

    But as much as Twilight get ragged on...how many now Fan Faction novels get their way to be published ie 50 shades & many other ones. I know that she didn't go after them, but she could have.

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  24. I didn't know about any of this, but it does seem kind of odd. The thing is, Twilight may not be for everyone, but think of all the MILLIONS of people who started reading because of it. YA got so much bigger because of it. It changed things, that's all I can say. But I can see how things could have been taken a little out of context too. It's too bad she's not still writing. The Host was amazing so clearly she's got skills.

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  25. Stephenie's answer is very vague. What does she mean by "I'm so over it?" Does she want to move on to another genre? Or she already hated her own book and pretend that it's non existent? If it's the latter, I think that's very unbecoming of her. Twilight is her brand and it was her ticket to fame and wealth. And she must endure all the hatred and criticisms from all the haters (including me) because it's the right thing to do. She must stood by her fans who backed her works unconditionally.

    And she's moving on to producing films? Really? That's a very risky thing to do for someone who isn't that experienced.

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  26. I was very upset with the article. In fact, Stephenie Meyer kind of feel from grace. I still love the books, but I as really miffed that she'd bit the hand the feeds her.

    Now having read her apology, I can understand how her words were misconstrued. And, at the same time, were they really? Or, is she just doing PR to put herself back in the good light with fans? This is the third time it's happened. First, with Midnight Sun, second on a tour with Justin Furstenfeld, and now this. I'm just not sure anymore.

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  27. Huh, didn't know she shifted focus. I'd rather stay neutral on these things, but thanks for posting!

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  28. At one point JK Rowling said she was so tired of Harry she was pondering killing him off. But nobody jumped down her throat about it. I think that Stephanie Meyers continually gets in way more trouble for something she's said than any other author would. On the other hand, she should realize this and watch what she says more carefully. :/ I still feel bad for her though.

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  29. Oh phew, I'm so glad to read that ETA at the bottom. Because that comment upsets me and I'm not as big a fan as you. But you're right, she should probably know better than to speak that way in front of an interviewer! But the important thing is that she apologized genuinely.

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