Stephen King Vs Stephenie Meyer: The Controversy
Master writer Stephen King, in a recent interview said: "Both Rowling and Meyer, theyre speaking directly to young people... The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer cant write worth a darn. Shes not very good."
At first impression Mr. Kings comments may sound as insensitive and perhaps as evidence of an aging writer being jealous of a young and popular one. At least this was the reaction of many of Stephenie Meyers fans: "King is jealous: no one buys his books anymore." "Name one of Kings books that is popular today: none!" "He cant see a young writer succeed."
Having read most of Stephen Kings books, and -I must confess- none of Stephenie Meyers, I went to my local bookstore and bought Twilight.
Heres an excerpt:
Jess drove faster than the chief, so we made it to Port Angeles by four. It had been a while since Ive had a girls night out, and the estrogen rush was invigorating. We listened to whiny songs while Jessica jabbered on about the boys we hung out with. Jessicas dinner with Mike had gone very well, and she was hoping that by Saturday night they would have progressed to the first-kiss stage. I smiled to myself, pleased. Angela was passively happy to be going to the dance, but not really interested in Eric. Jess tried to get her to confess who her type was, but I interrupted with a question about dresses after a bit, to spare her. Angela threw a grateful glance my way.[chapter 8, Twilight]
What is wrong with the above? Inartistic. Truman Capote would call the above paragraph, "Typing," not writing. The paragraph contains not one single balanced sentence, let alone a well balanced sentence. And, yes. All sentences are of the amateurish or childish pattern S-V-O (subject, verb, object--John hit the ball; john hit the ball; john hit the ball; etc).
Next I bought several of Jo Rowlings books of the Harry Potter series, and I was delightfully surprised. Rowling is a master writer; a master of grammar, syntax, and rhetoric. If you love the English language, you will find well balanced sentence, and cadence and rhythm, and echoes that could be the envy of any literary writer. Because she writes for children, her production isnt considered literary by many critics, but eventually she will be, just a Mark Twain, C. S Lewis, Kipling, and Dickens.
Mr. King might just be right in his criticism of Stephenie Meyer, not because he is jealous of her success, but because--as we can see in the above excerpt--Meyers writing isnt writing at all, but typing.