Sunday, September 26, 2010
Twilight - The Kiss Of Death For Authors
(click on title for more)
So I guess the first thing I should do before I start this mini rant is to offer up the disclaimer that this is in NO way me saying that Twilight is the root of all evil. It isn't. It's a four book series that's incredibly popular and personally, I've enjoyed reading it. What this rant IS about is something I've been noticing for awhile but only now just realized how damaging it can be - for not just the reader but also for the authors it affects. This rant is about the use of the term "It's just too TWILIGHTY"
Talk about the kiss of death to an author and their book right? Think about it. How many times have we (and I say we because I've been guilty of this myself) not read a book solely because someone told us that it was too "Twilight"? Despite how phenomenal the book sounds, we look at it with that word bouncing around in our head and decide to pass on it. Or how many times when we're talking to others and sharing what we've heard about certain books, find ourselves repeating "Oh yeah, I heard it was real Twilighty"? It's such an easy trap to fall into and I'm worried that it cuts us off from books that could very well be our new favorite book or series.
I cringe now whenever I hear that word and my heart breaks because seriously, what is Twilight that it holds such power in deciding what books we read? Yes, it's a series that's enjoying megastardom right now, with the movies catapulting it to CRAZY success. I remember a recent trip to the bookstore and being dumbfounded by all the merchandise and memorabilia surrounding it. I get it - it's HUGE but does it really own the market when it comes to YA paranormal? Is it really the yardstick to compare each and every book that comes out after it? Obviously it must be because it seems to me, any book that has anything remotely close to a vampire/girl love interest in it is beaten with that yardstick.
I want to share an experience I had a month or so ago that really made me stop and think. I'm the local book supplier where I live and have friends calling/texting me wanting to borrow books. They ask for recommendations etc and I hook them up with some good reads. I lent one of my favorite YA paranormal series to someone, with a rave about how great they were and honestly thought she would also love them. Seriously, I haven't heard a single bad comment or review on this series and so I was pretty confident. A week or two later, she returns with a frown on her face. She just couldn't get into the books because in her words "They were just too much like Twilight" You need to know I was FLOORED. Why? Do you want to know what the ONLY similarity between this book and Twilight was? It had a high school setting. That's it. Huge wake up call.
Another wake up call was just recently when I went to read a book I later reviewed. I'd heard that it was "Twilighty" and really hesitated in buying it. Now that I've read it, all I want to do shake my head because again the only "Twilightly" thing I could see was it was a human girl and a vampire love interest. Really? That's the reasoning? And here's where I get a little ranty. Does this mean that the House Of Night series is "Twilightly"? How about the Mortal Instruments series? I know they're not in highschool but hey isn't there a vampire and werewolf in that one? How about the Blue Blood series? No werewolves that I remember but hey vampires and high school so that fits the criteria? Ok here's where I get a little hysterical... Why stop there even? How about any book where the guy has messy hair? The girl is socially awkward? The girl drives a truck? The guy, I don't know, wears shoes? *takes a deep breath* Ok I know.. I know a little crazy and extreme but its a sore point. Two more points and I'll get off my soap box.
Just as an FYI and something that made me chuckle HARD but what about those books that came out BEFORE Twilight? Could Twilight actually be "rip offs" of them? I may be the only person who sees it but read the first book of Vampire Diaries. Does anyone else see similarities between VD and Twilight? I know I did and seeing VD was written in 1991, we could very well call Twilight a little too "VDish" Who knows?
I was talking with an author friend of mine one day and we were kicking around ideas for possible story lines. Gotta love the creative process when you're knee deep in brilliance and you've got goosebumps from your imagination going crazy. She spat out this idea that was AMAZING and I gushed all over the place about it. Want to know what her next words were? "Belinda, I'm just too worried that if I write that, readers are just going to say it's too Twilighty and not read it" NO JOKE!! A brilliant story that I honestly believe everyone would have been falling over themselves to read may never see the light of day. Let's take a quick walk over to the world of EXTREMES for a moment but can you image what life would be if suddenly authors everywhere simply stopped writing paranormal for the same reasons? The likelihood is very slim, rest assured we'll be reading this genre until we're old and grey but what if? What if?
I think that after all is said and done, we see what we want to see. We can make any leaps and bounds if that's what we're looking for. My challenge is that hopefully instead of comparing whatever similiarities we think there are, judge the book as it stands. Alone. Review it according to it's own merits. Read it simply because it interests you and you love the genre. Twilight doesn't own the market for YA paranormal. It may have brought more attention to the genre and for that we should be grateful but not to the exclusion of all else that follows. *end rant here*