Monday, November 16, 2009


Usually I prefer to read the book before I see the movie, but just this once I did it the other way round. In anticipation of the new movie coming out I decided to (finally!) read the books.

I loved the movie version of Twilight, struck by its passion and intensity ... but the book is even better. My Nano word count suffered a little as I read the book cover-to-cover this weekend, but it wasn't a loss because this morning I felt invigorated and my word count has started to soar once again. I feel as though I've finally captured the spark that's been missing in my current novel.

As a writer, there were two things I took away from Twilight.

The first is that writing a readable story is worth its weight in gold. Stephenie Meyer's story is gripping, but the reason I kept turning pages (PTQ, as Kate Walker refers to it) is that her writing is so easy to read. Not once was I pulled out of the story to wonder why she'd used a certain word or to think about her phrasing. I was hooked from beginning to end. The prose flowed seamlessly, as though she'd paid just enough attention, but not over-analysed. I sometimes think that aspiring writers, particularly in crit groups, tend to over-analyse, until the wording is correct but the heart is lost.

The second, and even more important, gem that I took away from reading this novel was its focus. The hero only makes his appearance on page 16. From that moment on, he is never off the page, even though the entire story is told in first person from the heroine's perspective. Even when the characters are not together, the focus is so strong that you're barely aware they're apart.

I've often heard it said that it's important in category romance to get the hero and heroine together as soon as possible on the page because these novels are so short. I discovered this weekend that it has absolutely nothing to do with the length of the novels, but with the intensity. At around 400 pages, Stephenie Meyer did not have to worry about condensing her love story into 50,000 words. She kept the focus on the hero and heroine so tight because that is what gives the book its passion.

And this is why I love category romance. Because unlike chick lit, which can meander in different directions with a mosaic of secondary characters and sub plots, I love the unrelenting passion of category romance. For the entire length of the novel, the writer focuses you on the spark between two people. What is truly awesome is that Stephenie Meyer, with so much happening in her novel, manages to keep that spark front and centre throughout.

Thank you Stephenie for writing a book that has given so much enjoyment, and for helping me to find the spark between my hero and heroine again. Now I'm going to get back to writing, and I think my treat for completing this first draft is going to be New Moon, the second book of the Twilight series.

1 comment:

  1. I confess I haven't read the books or seen the movies yet. Bad Lacey. But I'm tempted...