Friday, February 11, 2011

Where's Buffy when we need her?

Dear Globlets,

Angel eating an apple

In my Nonfiction class, the prof suggested to look to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly for some of the best examples of dialogue. Then she held up Twilight and the class moaned a nearly unanimous "NOOO!!!" and some said, "Please tell me we're burning that." Many of us were worried the prof would say something good about the novel. "You can open this book to any page and find absolute garbage," she said. A communal sigh of relief promptly followed.

I've read the book. I picked up that book after much deliberation, not because it was well known (it was anything but at the time), but because it seemed interesting and had a cool cover, although it did cost a whopping $25. Could I really spend my well-deserved babysitting money on this giant hardcover about vampires? Somehow, I came to the conclusion that yes, I could, and yes, I would.

Back then, I had no idea what to look for in a good book. Now, of course, that's changed since I've been studying writing and literature. I must say, it's come in handy. I can now look at the writing in Twilight and confidently say, "This is total shit." It is total shit. If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you were forced to listen to a group of stereotypical teenagers SPEAKING, if you know just how painful that is, then you already know the pain that comes from reading Twilight, for it is the same.

From Buffy:
Spike: Isn't it a fantastic day? Birds singin', squirrels making lots of rotten little squirrels, sun beamin' down in a nice non-fatal way. It's very exciting. Can't wait to see if I freckle.

Xander: I'm exhausted just lookin' at those two. All the splashing and jumping and running. Shouldn't relaxing involve less exertion?
Anya: Absolutely. Exertion can lead to sweatiness.
Tara Maclay: Oh, which can cause the, um, pain and heartbreak of stinkiness. Better to just stay put.
Willow Rosenberg: I think we've just put our finger on why we're the sidekicks.

From Twilight:
"Do you want to walk down the beach with me?" I asked, trying to imitate that way Edward had of looking up from underneath his eyelashes. It couldn't have nearly the same effect, I was sure, but Jacob jumped up willingly enough.

As we walked north across the multihued stones toward the driftwood seawall, the clouds finally closed ranks across the sky, causing the sea to darken and the temperature to drop. I shoved my hands deep into the pockets of my jacket.

"So you're, what, sixteen?" I asked, trying not to look like an idiot as I fluttered my eyelids the way I'd seen girls do on TV.

"I just turned fifteen," he confessed, flattered.

"Really?" My face was full of false surprise. "I would have thought you were older."

"I'm tall for my age," he explained.

"Do you come up to Forks much?" I asked archly, as if I was hoping for a yes. I sounded idiotic to myself. I was afraid he would turn on me with disgust and accuse me of my fraud, but he still seemed flattered.

"Not too much," he admitted with a frown. "But when I get my car finished I can go up as much as I want—after I get my license," he amended.

"Who was that other boy Lauren was talking to? He seemed a little old to be hanging out with us." I purposefully lumped myself in with the youngsters, trying to make it clear that I preferred Jacob.

Something tells me Stephanie Meyer has never taken a writing course in her life; she breaks every rule in the book. Rule number one is Show, don't tell.
"I purposefully lumped myself in with the youngsters, trying to make it clear that I preferred Jacob"? Really?
"He amended"? "He confessed, flattered." Saying much more than "he said" is frowned upon when it comes to dialogue. If this is told from the first person, then how could Bella know he felt flattered? What about the rules of not entering another's mind if you're only supposed to be in one? Ugh. UGH. And this is an excerpt from a page promoting Twilight.

Buffy, help us all.

No, seriously, you're a vampire slayer. Slay those fuckers and spare us... Please?

Like those awesome comebacks you think of an hour after the incident occurs, it's a good rule to write not what you would say, but rather what you wish you had said.

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