Don’t take the piss out of success

Recently I was talking with a bunch of writers about editing and structure, and I used Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight as an example to illustrate a point I was making.

The moment I mentioned the book the room erupted into derision. I can understand that: Twilight’s certainly not for everyone.

However, it did break out of its genre and go global in a big way, selling millions of copies and spawning some very successful movies. The Twilight books provided everything a growing author needs – enough money to quit their day job. The rest, of course, is cream.

If you want that kind of success, why dump on it?

The point I was trying to make was that if you don’t hit all the plot points that your readers are subconsciously expecting, they’re going to walk away with the feeling that ‘something just didn’t work’.

They probably couldn’t tell you why, but they’ll know it regardless. What’s more, they’re not going to recommend a book that ‘didn’t work’ for them. Your book, in this case.

Stephanie Meyer did everything right in Twilight – she hit all the right plot points and made her readers care – very deeply – about her protaganist, and finished it off with a very satisfying ending.

That doesn’t mean your story needs sparkly vampires, but when an author sells millions of copies and smashes through genre boundaries, it’s a good bet they’re doing something right.

Take note, even if its not a story for you. Study what works and emulate it.