John Perrodin

John Perrodin co-authored the Renegade Spirit Trilogy with Jerry B. Jenkins. His book, Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, written with Michelle Cox, released in April 2008 from David C. Cook. Please visit to find out more about the book. John is also the Senior Editor for the Christian Writers Guild.

R.U. Serious?

Twilight for the YA novel

Has anyone actually read the young adult romance Twilight? I haven’t. Could barely choke down chapter one. So to be fair, I’ll limit my remarks to those first golden words.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a best seller. But—and this may shock you—that doesn’t mean it’s well written. And yes, I realize that “everyone” of the female gender between the ages of twelve and sixteen have read it and the sequels. Those same young women flocked to see the movie version, which has made more than $150 million so far.

I don’t have anything against vampires in fiction. Dracula is one of my favorite books. But with Twilight we’ve got a full-fanged phenomenon. Actually, I was hopeful. Maybe this would be a book I could really sink my teeth into. But, no. It’s just SOD. The Same Old Drivel. Take the whining teen, Bella. What a shock. She’s a child of divorce. Hard to imagine a plot that doesn’t involve family dysfunction, even if it is written by a thirty-something Mormon homemaker.

Here’s my take on chapter one of Twilight. It’s poorly written, poorly researched, and full of the same-old, same-old characters, and on-the-nose dialogue. Let’s start with the weather, because the author Stephenie Meyer does. One wonders if she’s ever been to Phoenix. Truth is she lives in Arizona. So how could she have gotten her details so wrong?

Hey, Stephenie, Phoenix is in the desert. Where it’s hot. Bella is heading to her father’s, Charlie, home in Washington to start school. That means it’s either August or September. The only time it’s 75 degrees (as Meyer states) during that season in the Valley of the Sun is around midnight, if you’re lucky.

In paragraph one, we’re buzzing toward the airport on a bland, cloudless day. But in the second graph, we’re slammed into the past as Meyer babbles on about the weather in Washington. Rainy, dark. The kind of place a vampire might find comfy. Clever.

Within the first three paragraphs, Meyer uses the word “was” nine times. She starts five sentences with “It.” In one spot, she slips from past to present tense. But I could see the sacrifice in

her eyes behind the promise. Huh? Her eyes were behind the promise? We know what she means, but the writing is unclear. Any respectable editor at any respectable writer’s conference would have slammed such sloppiness.

After arriving in town, Bella finds out that she’s getting a free, used truck from pop, the police chief. “Well, now, you’re welcome,” he mumbled, embarrassed by my thanks. Oh, I get it. Bella’s dad was embarrassed by the thanks. That’s why he mumbled. Meyer can’t resist the seemingly overwhelming urge to explain.

Wanna-be, would-be, and struggling writers have to realize that best-selling status isn’t limited to the worthy or the wise. It goes to whoever gets the hype, the marketing push, the T-shirts, and the media interviews. How else can the success of braindead Young Adult slop like Camp Rock be explained?

But hey, there’s still reason to rejoice. If Twilight can hit the top of the charts. Anyone can.

Simple Little Words