Dream Killers

twilightminicover

For the last few years, the internet has boiled in hot debate over sparkalay vampires who play baseball. I watched from the sidelines for a long time and actually found myself taking up the battle cry against the undead with diamond-shimmering skin…until a coworker called me a writing snob.

Well, I am a snob in a sense when it comes to the written word; the rising cost of books makes me want to shell out my money only for something of quality, and as a writer I constantly strive for the cleanest, sharpest prose I can wring from my talent. But still, her comment rankled. Was I such a snob that I would dismiss the vision of any author when I’m a writer myself? How would I feel if people did that to me?

It’s a valid question. As I gear up to begin my next novel, the third in a series, I’ve found myself gravitating toward vampire stories for background research. My vision for vampires is as untraditional as Stephenie Meyer’s, and I’m even nervous about giving it to my beta readers once I begin writing. Will they accept my vision…or will they want to kill my dream?

So I bought the Twilight series this last spring. I bought it and I read every word. I even watched the movie. I will be honest; I almost didn’t make it through the first book. Her style of writing drove me bonkers at first, and I found myself revising sentences from passive to active and selecting what I thought were more appropriate adjectives and adverbs. I railed at the injustice of such writing being splattered all over the NY Times Bestseller List until my husband, quite calmly, reminded me that she is published, so publishing professionals must have seen the explosive potential–and I’m still striving to have my manuscript read.

Ouch.

So I shut up and read. I had to take Writer Sharon and Editor Sharon and stuff them into a soundproof box, but I managed to read without the filter of prejudice from the writing (and reading) community. And when I finished the fourth book, I opened the first one and read them all again, this time turning Analytical Sharon loose, hoping I could determine just what made these books best sellers. A wondrous thing happened then…

I saw the magic of Stephenie Meyer’s vision. This woman had a dream–literally–which she set to paper and offered to the world. She went against traditional vampire canon which saturates even modern vampire trends. That took courage. The world gave her back praise and abuse, and she’s weathered both with grace.

I have some issues with the story (as a strong woman, I don’t understand passive codependent women; I am not a fan of adversaries so superhumanly invincible that humans don’t stand a chance against them; I actually LIKE Forks myself. I’ve been there several times on vacation, long before Twilight happened. It’s one of my favorite places on earth), BUT–

I can deal, because not all women are like me. There are passive codependent women; let them have characters with whom they can identify. Superhuman adversaries have their place in the world too. Not everyone likes the rain forest.

My point, which I’m taking the scenic route in getting to, is aimed at the writing community: we all have the ability to kill someone’s dreams or to make them soar. We can trash each other and rejoice when those around us maidofthebluesfail, or we can help each other and rejoice when our fellows succeed. Every success is proof-positive that the dream really can be achieved.

This doesn’t preclude being honest; I won’t blow sunshine up anyone’s ass and lead them to believe they’re better than they are and have no room for improvement. It would only be my opinion anyway.

But I’m not going to be anyone’s dream killer.

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5 thoughts on “Dream Killers

  1. Blackbirdsong says:

    I love this post Sharon and I love everything you said here. I’m not a fan of those books either, but you have to give her her due for taking one of the oldest types of stories in literature and creating something uniquely her own out of it. And yes it’s easy to dismiss other writers, but why do it? We all started out at beginners at one point. We’re all learning or should be.

    There are those who seem to find joy in destroying others. You see these types a lot in writer’s groups. I’ve come across a few in my time and I’m always left wondering what they get from that kind of behavior.

    On the other side of that coin are those who believe their work is above any type of comment or constructive criticism. You also find those types in writing communities.

    I’ve had my moments playing both of these parts though never to the extreme. I don’t have a lot of patience for people who don’t polish their work but want me to tell them it’s perfect. And there have been times when someone’s criticism to my work has cut me to the quick.

    Just the same I haven’t made a career out of such behavior. It’s a fine line we’re walking, but we can walk it with gentleness and regard for our fellow writers.

    • Sio says:

      Boy, don’t we know the truth of THAT!! I’ve no patience for someone who calls themselves “Writer” but has no real interest in the craft.

  2. Kait Nolan says:

    It’s funny that you talk about this. I recently also wrote a post about not wanting to be a dream killer. You’ve got more strength than I do. I couldn’t get through New Moon. I had so far above and beyond reached my saturation point for whiny, won’t take control of my life, codependent teen angst. But maybe you’ll inspire me to give them another try. NOT on audiobook… I can say that I recognize what makes her stories appealing. They’re different. And I have to say that I am all for anything that gets kids reading in this media saturated society. I just don’t care for her heroine. At all.

    • Sio says:

      Sweet heavens, don’t do the audiobooks–if you think you want th strangle the main character while reading her, it’s doubly bad when you listen to her. LOL

  3. chadoates says:

    I agree… I’m definitely not a fan of storyline or anything, but after somehow getting the first one as a gift from a cousin I decided to try and see what the fuss was about. Not my style of reading, but I’m sure that someone would say the same if they read my blog and writing as well, so it all comes back to opinions there. What makes you different is that you’re able to see through this and realize the ingeniousness of it, even if you don’t particularly care for the writing.
    Haha, rants…..

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