Tonight I found myself thinking specifically about Stephenie Meyer's writing process, so I did what anyone curious about any topic would do--I Googled it. Turns out, she literally dreamed up the story for "Twilight" and wrote it down once she took care of her errands for the day. The fact that it was a dream is probably the best explanation for the storyline: Sparkly hot vampires and buff werewolves? Nah.... Totally not a dream.
What I loved most was reading about her background. Stephenie was a novice writer, with "Twilight", the first book of the series, being her first completed work. She is a mother, and completed much of her writing at night when her kids were supposed to be in bed sleeping so there would be less interruptions. That sounds vaguely familiar.
While reading about her process, I stumbled across a blog where the blogger was exploring how many writers completely dismiss or downright loathe Meyer's writing. The one and only time I read the series (four years ago), I was merely a reader, totally unaware that I would be writing a young adult novel of my own not that far off in the future. Reading back through the book again now that I've studied more on the art of writing, I find that I do still like her and the story--though I now find her a bit more wordy and repetitive. Lots of words, that's the best way to make a 200-page novel 500 pages, I guess.
And, yes, I've already embraced the fact that the Twilight franchise is my guilty pleasure. For sure, I know it's not the basis of good writing, but I always enjoy finding a book I can't put down... no matter what the reason.
Anyway, someone on the blog said, "McDonald's has sold tens of billions of hamburgers, but all those sales don't make them a gourmet meal or even a gourmet hamburger. It's the same with Meyer's writing. It's not art. Sure, art has a subjective component, but it also has objective components and Meyer didn't meet those.... I would NOT have wanted to be in Meyer's shoes. Oh, the money is nice, but one has to be able to hold one's head up about how he or she made that money, not that Meyer did anything illegal. Had I written the "Twilight" books, I'd be ashamed, not proud."
Critics are everywhere, and with any measure of success there will be haters. I have been guilty of mentally picking apart others' novels (even though I still generally support the writers in question), but I try not to. Writing is difficult and intensely intimate work. Hearing that you should be ashamed of something that has consumed you for years, characters who have become close as family, locations that feel like home.... well, that has to hurt deep down to your core.
Do I have thick enough skin required for putting myself out there? I fully intend to find out, but right now I am a swirl of self-doubt.