Feb 12 2009

A Glimpse Into the Editor’s Office: Editing Twilight (Page 2)

Published by at 10:19 am under Book Review,Twilight

The second page of Twilight wasn’t as bad as the first, but it still had many problems. This is how I would have edited it.

17 responses so far

17 Responses to “A Glimpse Into the Editor’s Office: Editing Twilight (Page 2)”

  1. Jayon 13 Feb 2009 at 9:31 am

    Ehhh…crap. Okay, as much as I hate the Meyer books, I have to play devils advocate for a bit of the rambling- well- the flight paragraph at least.

    Writing in first person typically entails a bit of method acting, at times when unfiltered a dedicating (or enthusiastic) author will slip into a characters’ shoes and just play out a scene and make some word-salad on the page, which they would edit later on and filter for obvious reasons. It’s a way of making things seem more genuine. Although it’s a slippery slope, one could argue that Bella is a rambling type (who constantly contradicts herself under unreliable narration) however, we find out she’s perfect and everyone else is just insane for suspecting the same things of her.

    But going back…

    From the way you edit, it’s as though you just want the facts- no imagery, no atomosphere- just “He said…. Then he said… Then she replied…Then they walked to…Then he laughed and said… Then they… End chapter.” and nothing more. A ‘who, what, when, where’ story, in my opinion anyhow, seems a little bland. Now, Twilight is crap, there’s no doubt about that, anything Rowling accomplished has been compromised by Meyer, let the record stand there. But sometimes it’s the stories that are a tad disjointed in a controlled manner that stick in your head more than a prolonged newspaper article by an author who limits themselves through conventional rules and overbearing guidelines.

    But that’s my opinion anyway, no harm meant.

  2. B. Macon 13 Feb 2009 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for your comment, Jay. I definite did not find it harmful. 🙂

    You said…

    “From the way you edit, it’s as though you just want the facts- no imagery, no atomosphere- just “He said…. Then he said… Then she replied…Then they walked to…Then he laughed and said… Then they… End chapter.” and nothing more. A ‘who, what, when, where’ story, in my opinion anyhow, seems a little bland.”

    Well, imagery and scenery were two of the things that I found lacking. We get a bit of atmospherics (pleasant, ideal Phoenix vs. dreary Forks). That was fairly effective although weather is the most cliche sort of atmospherics. For example, it doesn’t try much with people and places.

    Also, I think the story doesn’t merely need to add actions (although those would help), but it needs its structure and voice to complement the action. For example, in the preface she says she’s terrified but she doesn’t say or do anything that shows that. Nor does the style of her language… her sentences are too long and windy, her sentence structure is convoluted, her word-choice seems more introspective than stressed, etc. The lack of emotions is particularly striking in the preface. (I also found the rest of the first two pages mostly devoid of emotion, but it was less noticeable because the content of the scenes wasn’t as emotionally intense as, umm, dying).

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. madisonon 11 Jul 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Um. Obviously someone is jealous of Stephanie Meyer. And if you think she is such a bad writer, why were you reading Twilight? Ooooh… And Bella was not supposed to be emotional… She’s on a plane and talking to her father, whom she hasn’t seen in years… Do you expect her to run to him and hug and scream? And if you say Stephanie isn’t a good writer, read this, she wrote it.

    “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.”
    What a stupid lamb…” I sighed.
    “what a sick masochistic lion.” He stared into the shadowy forest for a long time. I wondered were his thoughts had taken him.

    Another…

    With deliberate slowness his hand slithered down the sides of my smooth neck.

    I don’t think she can get any more detailed than that!

  4. Marissaon 11 Jul 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Madison, nobody is jealous of Stephanie Meyer. Those snippets aren’t particularly intriguing, especially considering one isn’t brought to care about the characters before those points, but to each their own interests.

    We never said that Bella needed to be emotional, we said that we needed her to have more personality than a paper doll.

  5. Marissaon 11 Jul 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Also, don’t be alarmed about the slight changes to your post, we edit for spelling and grammar and whatnot.

  6. Yogion 11 Jul 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Oh yeah, she’s definitely detailed you guys. I’ve read all four books, and the amount of purple prose is sickening. Detailed? Yes. Effective? Not so much. She goes on and on about how beautiful Edward is… some site posted that she had commented on Edward’s beauty 168 times in the first book alone. 🙁

    Quoting TV Tropes… “What do they talk about? What draws them together? What hobbies do they share? When you can ask even rabid fans these questions and get only blank stares in response, you know something is wrong.” Really true. The only answer I’ve ever gotten was that you’ve got to look beyond the text, which is a great big wallbanger.

    P.S. Is it odd that I was reading about fans who declared that Stephen King was just jealous of Stephenie Meyer before coming here? XD

  7. B. Macon 11 Jul 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Hello, Madison. You aren’t the first SM fan to accuse me of being jealous of her success. Actually, I’ve said quite a lot of nice things about successful authors like JK Rowling, Tom Clancy, OS Card, Naomi Novik, etc. If Stephanie Meyer’s work struck me as good, she would have been on that list. Instead, we get painfully overwrought passages like…

    “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.”
    What a stupid lamb…” I sighed.
    “What a sick masochistic lion.” He stared into the shadowy forest for a long time. I wondered where his thoughts had taken him.

    “And if you think she is such a bad writer, why were you reading Twilight?” Umm, editors read a lot of bad works. It’s part of the submissions process, for one thing. I read the first two pages and didn’t have the energy to continue.

  8. Wingson 11 Jul 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Madison-

    I am in the same age group as the average Twilight fan. I also read the entire series, including Breaking Dawn. And I came to my own assumption. To put it bluntly, the books suck. Horribly. I’ve read fanfiction better than it is. It practically is fanfiction, between the Mary Sues and self inserts.

    And before you ask me what you asked B. Mac, I only read the books because everyone told me to. A bit unorthodox for me (obedience, that is) but the point stands.

    I mean, honestly. What I’d like to do is send an angry email to Stephanie Meyer, not only for her mediocre writing skills which shame real writers like us, but for her psychotic fans who will do anything from killing a 7 year old’s goldfissh to throwing a beaker of acid at someone’s face.

    …Wow. Seriously long rant, but that took care of today’s anger, that’s for sure.

    – Wings (Rage!)

  9. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 12:20 am

    Have you guys noticed this? Twilight fans say “you wouldn’t bash it if you read all the books! Why did you stop at the first?! The next ones are even better!” If you say you have read them all, they say “why did you keep reading if you didn’t like them?!” (Palm, meet face)

    Besides, the next books have to be better, because the standards of Twilight are lax to say the least. Please, someone tell me the next books are better? (whimper)

  10. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 12:25 am

    No way. The second and fourth are atrocious, the third was better but moderately worse than Twilight.

  11. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 12:39 am

    “She hugged me tightly for a minute, and then I got on the plane, and she was gone”.

    This sentence just feels wrong to me. I think this would work better.

    “Mom held me tightly for a minute before I could get her to release me. I gave her a small wave as I left to board the plane, and then she was out of sight.”

    I’d probably edit the next bit, too.

    “It’s a four hour flight from Phoenix to Seattle, another hour in a small plane up to Port Angeles, and then an hour drive back down to Forks. Flying doesn’t bother me; the hour in the car with Charlie, though, I was a little worried about”.

    I’d put this:

    “I wasn’t afraid of flying, but I did feel a little anxious about the hour-long drive to Forks from the airport. Sitting in a car with Charlie for so long and enduring awkward chit-chat wasn’t something I was looking forward to.”

    Hmm. I might borrow Twilight from my school library and edit it for a writing exercise. I might learn a few things along the way. I have a dream of being a manga writer after being a journalist for a while, I want to get published and edit books, too. I might as well start practicing now.

    If I manage all four of my goals, I will be so busy my head will probably fall off. Is it possible to be a manga writer (which may overlap with journalism if I get to write articles for whatever magazine I am published in), novelist and editor at the same time? I shall find out soon enough. Though, being an author’s assistant is also quite appealing…

  12. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 12:42 am

    Eep. Well, that’s it then. It seems that the world is in need of some better books. Between everyone here, we just might save the world of reading. Wonder Writer powers activate! Form of laptop, bag of crisps and brainy specs! Haha.

  13. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 12:42 am

    Though I don’t even have brainy specs. I guess novelty glasses will do. Haha.

  14. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 1:10 am

    Whovian, your future plans aren’t so crazy.

    I’ll be solidly published by 2012, a psychologist making over 100 dollars an hour within 10 years, and by the time I’m 35, I’ll be working as a psychologist out of my house in the woods. My side income sources will be my book, of course, plus my plentiful quantity of animals. I train horses now, and when I turn 18 I can do it for cash, and I’ll also have some sort of animal shelter open by then because I’m just an animal lover at heart.

    The funny part is? That’s exactly what I tell anyone that asks, and so far, nobody’s doubted me.

  15. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Jul 2009 at 1:32 am

    Good luck! I love horses, even though I’ve only ridden one once. I went through a huge phase where I absolutely adored them. I still love them, even if I don’t have plans to train them or anything.

    I guess that if I’m successful in writing books and manga, I can perhaps do that from afar and buy a house in the Yarra Valley or Margaret River (Google them, they are beautiful places) I could buy a horse and learn how to ride. Adventure is one of my favourite genres, and that’s all I ever want to do. Writing itself is an adventure, but I want to do a lot of things, like go the heart of a rainforest to photograph the birds, explore caves, dig up dinosaurs, etc.

    Funnily enough, talking about the Yarra Valley and Margaret River has brought one of my oldest ideas to the surface. I thought of it when I was little and went on holiday into the deepest reaches of the Australian countryside. I had no real interest in writing at the time, and it died in my mind. I’ve got to write it down quickly.

  16. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 2:25 am

    Ooh, awesome, Whovian. Glad your story resurfaced.

    I myself may make it a project to rewrite a story that I outlined out when I was 12, about three years before I even heard of Twilight, but it was a less dramatic version of the plotline of the first three books, condensed, with a ton of added elements. And the ‘Edward’-esque character isn’t nearly as bad.

    I mean, there are races comparable to ‘angels’ and ‘demons’ rather than vamps and wolves, and there weren’t huge clans of each. Plus, the main character (as lifeless as Bella; I had the hardest time with trying to figure out what she’s like, and ended up with nothing) can actually do something rather than sit there and be rescued.

    The outline is still ridiculously Twilighty, though. It’ll be a project to fix, but now I’m curious to see if I could do it. Hahah…

  17. Wingson 12 Jul 2009 at 8:54 am

    Someday, when I am published and well known, will you, RW, help me create a manga-style adaptation of my book? I would, but I can’t draw to save my life.

    – Wings

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