Home > Twilight Challenge, WANA > Lessons from Vampmeyers – Not Everything is Bad

Lessons from Vampmeyers – Not Everything is Bad

Hey everyone.

As a break from the usual, I will share the day’s current trend.  In my mailbox I found a few ‘Twilight’ related posts.  One of the authors of said post, Maggie Madly Writing, introduced me to the world of Dana and ‘Reasoning with Vampires’ which is a snarky online edit of the [Twilight] series.  Essentially, the blog creator has gone through each book and picked apart the grammatical errors for each book.  She has also pointed out various sentences that describe Bella as a weak female who is nothing without her boyfriend.  Ok she is something – a hot mess.

What I would like to point out are two rules to follow:
1 – Edit your work before publishing it by using Word as well as a red pen.  The red pen is wonderful.  Do not be afraid of mistakes just avoid the really easy ones.  Failure to do so will result in excessive mocking.
2 – Find someone to edit your work after you have already finished the first run, preferably someone who is a grammar Nazi.  Don’t be lazy and give them the whole mess but remember you are biased and the WIP is your new baby.

I do not have an issue with the books because if I do not like them I can chose not to read them.  What is even better is I can learn from them.  The best lesson is finding hilarious blogs to break down the structure.

What I do have an issue with is a lazy author who decided to focus all her energy on marketing her baby without making sure the baby was ready for the world.  I feel as though Meyers brought out her child dressed in fancy new clothes but this child has not been bathed or had hair brushed or been taught how to communicate.  This child uses growls and makes faces to share ideas which make little or no sense.  Bella is not finished.  Bella needs work.  She needs to brush her teeth and get some coffee before going outside.  She needs to get dressed.

Imagine if Meyer had written a book with a narrator who was not full of unnecessary contradictions. Imagine a character that changed in ways that made sense rather than what is convenient to the story line.  Imagine some editor saw how popular the first book was and stopped all the bad writing before it started.

Current and future writers can learn some valuable lessons from Twilight.  Here are my top 10 inspired by ‘Reasoning with Vampires’

10 – Let thy sweat pour from thy brow and take pride in thy fruits of labor.  Be prepared for hard work ahead.  Be prepared to dig in deep and learn some hard lessons about what you want to do and what is possible.  You cannot grow corn in a rock field and you cannot write a book on pure fluff.  Unless you are Meyers.

9 – Thou shall create rules and live by them.  An idea on page 15 might be great for your main gal.  Making her whine to get her way can work in one scene but if this is part of her character she is either going to have to learn to whine less or the writer must be consistent.  Do not change personalities to suit the scene, find a way to make both work together.

8 – Read from thy book and let not the words runneth over.  Word count can make the difference between a novel and a novella.  It is a big deal.  But make those words count.  Don’t complicate a sentence by adding too much just to get a higher word count.   

7 – Let not what was said be written word, and they shall rejoice.  This is a common mistake made by many authors – using slang all the time.  In small pieces when it will help the story slang can be good.  Using it in excess will drag the reader down.  Bella does not usually need slang because she is speaking thinking to herself or to another person when she is narrating.  We are thinking with her.  Also try not to write like a stuttering fool.  The only person who can get away with random and awkward pauses is Christopher Walken and he is AWESOME!

6 – Fear not the Red Death, for it shall cleanse thee.  Edits are a good thing.  They let you grow.  Don’t be afraid to have mistakes.  What does not kill your novel makes it stronger.

5 – She who enjoys her work shall bring forth a wonder to others.  Enjoy your book.  Have fun with it and let your creativity flow.  There will be good times and there will be bad times but this is more than a piece of work.  This is a relationship you have with your creation.   

4 – Ye shall remain from repeating thyself upon the pain of others.  It is not a bad thing to put emphasis on a certain action.  It is ok to say a narrator is tedious.  But if you are the writer please refrain from using the same word or phrase over and over.  Readers will pick up on it, just like you point out the kid who always said cool.

3 – Be wise in the words used, for misuse shall make thee a fool.  Big words are awesome.  There are tons of ways to use them.  But make sure they fit both the scene and the character.    

2 – Show mercy upon thy characters and ye shall be rewarded.  Before writing a whole story, get to know your characters.  See what makes them tick.  Discover their flaws and strengths and learn to guide your character through the story. 

1 – Respect thy followers.  Let readers figure stuff out for themselves and treat them respectfully.  The readers are your meal ticket faithful followers.  A good teacher does not give kids the answers; she lets them discover the cheat sheet in the back on their own.  A great teacher removes the back pages.

I know this was long but it is part of the word challenge training I am doing for NaNoWriMo and I am hoping most of you are still reading.

  • Thank you to Maggie for the original inspiration.
  • Thank you to Dana for the secondary inspiration.  I eagerly await more from you.
  • Special thank you to Kristen Lamb because you were in my head for this entire post telling me what works and what would not.  Many of these lessons come from your frequent posts.

Thank you everyone and happy writing!

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  1. September 24, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Yes! I agree completely.

  2. September 24, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    I’m so glad I read Twilight before I began writing, because I actually enjoyed it. I felt she could have used the word “smouldering” a few less times, but it was okay.

    Anyhoo … you are so right about the level of commitment and quality we should try to uphold. I’m doing revisions on a piece I thought was done. I have to remember my future readers, and how they’ll enjoy it so much more if it’s the best I can make it. 🙂

  3. Jennifer J Randolph
    September 24, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Exactly. I kind of did enjoy them because they are just entertainment and not meant to spark deep thoughts. This is not a bad thing. Plus even the best books have some lessons to learn and mistakes to avoid. I just want to hold my editing skills to better standards.

  4. September 25, 2011 at 2:47 AM

    Glad my post inspired you!

  5. September 26, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    Funny! I have to admit, I have not read Twilight. It’s totally not my thing, but now I want to read it to see it I could give it a good Beta rip. Sounds like fun! This is a great post to remind us all to keep editing, so Jennifer doesn’t talk about us after we’re published Tee Hee 🙂

  6. Jennifer J Randolph
    September 27, 2011 at 4:43 AM

    Haha you guys are reading me BEFORE I am published so I think there will be some bias later on. If you plan on Bella ripping pretty please share some lesson learned. If you are going to suffer at least make sure you get something out of it. Check out Reasoning with Vampires if you have not because anyone can make those mistakes.

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