John, I've never thought you were jealous and please, save the pity for someone who needs it. I did not say that Meyers was a great writer, but there is something about her writing that appealed to a large number of people. And yes, that is one measure of success whether you want to admit it or not. Again, her series got a lot of kids to read - and that is a MAJOR measure of success for any writer.
I love C.J. Cherryh, Ray Bradbury, and Heinlein, just among a few writers. As for Stephen King - I've never liked his writing. I know some people think he's a good writer, but I don't share that opinion. Again, this just goes to show that our opinions are just that - opinions - and we all have one. And honestly, opinions usually only matter to one person - the person who holds that opinion.
For the most part, I don't like Stephen King either; I don't like horror. However, neither you nor I can argue that he's not a good writer. I recently read The Green Mile. That's some of the tightest, clearest writing I've ever read in my life. Sure, opinions are a dime a dozen, but reasoned opinions aren't. I can give you a reasoned opinion of why King is a great writer, even though I personally hate most of what he writes, and why Meyer is an awful writer, even though tons of kids love what she writes. The reason I can do that is because my opinion is not based on preference, but fact. There really are ironclad, black and white rules in writing, such that if you break them without skill, your writing stinks, and if you abide by them for the most part, your writing shines.
I already admitted that popularity and money is a measure of success - success in fame and finances. I'm just not willing to admit that they are an appropriate measure of success in writing. Actually, I don't see how they apply. It's about the same as if I were to ask a gas station attendant if there was enough air in my tires, and he measures my tires with a yardstick and says, "Yep, looks good." Can you make a ton of money being a bad writer? Yep, if you happen to hit niche craze. Do lots of people like awful writing? Yep, myself included. Do those facts mean the authors of bad, awful writing are successful writers? Nope. Successful judges of trends and fads? Yep. Successful salesmen? Yep. Successful writers? Nope.
Honestly, opinions matter to everyone. Your opinion matters to me. My opinion matters to you. Both our opinions matter to all who read this exchange. If it didn't matter, nobody would make the effort to read or write.
John, I do have to agree that the first time I read "Twilight," all I could think to myself was that I can write better than that. However, I did like the story, itself. Wish I'd written it (better). But, oh well. Since then, I have enjoyed the entire series and completely lost myself in the movies (when you watch them as pure escapism, they're fun). I try to keep an open mind - even tried very hard to enjoy King's works, but just couldn't - not even the movies appealed to me. But lots of people really love King, his books, and the movies.
To throw my two cents in, I guess you could make a distinction between craft and entertainment. There are many people, for example, who are terrible singers but fantastic entertainers who people love (there was a woman who used to appear on the Clive James Show over here in England, whose name is Margarita Pracatan). She was a painful singer to say the least, but people loved her. I believe she is still going.
Reality talent shows are full of people who can’t sing, dance, perform to any degree of competence in their chosen field, but there is something about the way they put their act together, and the spirit they put into it, that wins people over.
The same can be true for writing. Absolutely without doubt people can write badly and still please people with the spirit behind their story.
It’s a fact of life that some people are concerned with the “craft” of writing and believe that that is the only measure of whether a book is good enough.
But it is obviously not the case for millions of others who enjoy the story and love to be entertained without the “cerebral” trappings, or worrying about whether commas are in the right place, or there are too many adjectives and run on sentences.
People will always watch trashy TV and soaps, and read Jackie Collins at the beach and escape into a place where everything is easy and love every minute (I am one, but I also like to read great writing and want to write that way myself).
Each to his own.
I think that's a great distinction, Debbie. What popped into my head was Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Dean was not a great singer, but he sure was an entertainer. Frank was a rarely gifted singer, but he did not have near the personality or charisma of Dean. Frank sang, but Dean performed. Frank gave you technical talent, but Dean gave you a show.
I am the sort of person who likes both together, talent and a great show. But if I need to choose between those two elements, I prefer talent over a show. I prefer Frank in spades over Dean. I prefer something done exceptionally well without fanfare than poorly with pinache. That's not to say that I can't enjoy a Dean Martin performance, but I'll always think of him as a sub-par singer no matter how many records he sold. And I'm not alone.
In the same way, Meyer is not a good writer, but people enjoy her books anyway. I have nothing against her or people who enjoy her, but she is not a good writer, and I personally think she is a bad writer. And I'm not alone.
But good for Meyer, and good for fans. People can use enjoyment wherever they can find it in this world full of misery.
Wow. I think this is the longest a me-initiated thread has continued. And such passionate banter, too! John, I agree with your Dean/Frank comparison totally. Granted, their heyday ended sometime before I was born, but from things I have seen and heard, you are quite right.
We get it John! LOL. You are not alone in your opinion. I don't think there is anyone on earth (most probably) who is alone in their opinion. That's the point. Everyone's pickle is tickled differently, but I doubt uniquely.
Debbi, very good examples.