Popularity ≠ quality.
It's called the "Twelve-year-old Girl Theory" and I suggest you read up on it.
In terms of logic, this falls under the category of 'argumentum ad populum' (English: 'appeal to the people'), a logical fallacy which suggests, "If many believe it, it must be true".
Needless to say, the use of argumentum ad populum has resulted in some of the greatest tragedies in history--most notably, the Holocaust and the abuse of Godwin's Law. Simply stated: Just because people like it doesn't mean it has cultural value.
Put another way, if many people believed the sun was made of feathers, would that make it true? Of course it wouldn't. It's the whole "the Earth is flat" thing all over again.
So what is wrong with how she writes? Edit
Word Usage (aka Thesaurus Abuse) Edit
Also, see Chagrin and Thesaurus
"Stephie" uses excessively flowery language (a.k.a. Purple prose), so that ordinary things are over described to the point where any sensible person would want to drive a nail through "Stephie's" temple.
Some well known examples:
Description of Alice:
- "Alice was suddenly standing behind Edward's shoulder, her short inky hair in a halo of spiky disarray around her exquisite elfin face. Her slight frame was willowy, graceful, even in absolute stillness."
Description of Edward:
- "He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal."
What makes her liberal usage of excessive descriptors even worse is that she does not know the meaning of half the words she uses, thus resulting in a Bella and Charlie who are "not exactly verbose" (if that were true, she wouldn't have used 'verbose'. Garrulous, maybe. MAYBE.) and a sparkly vampire who is incandescent (that's right, his temperature is so high that he glows...wait)
Stephenie's way of using dashes to break off sentences should probably be addressed for this point, though her thing for commas also comes close.
Wikipedia describes punctuation as: "the use of spacing, conventional signs, and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading, both silently and aloud, of handwritten and printed texts", in short: sentence structure. There is an entire Tumblr page (Reasoning With Vampires) devoted to Meyer's terrible punctuation (among other things). That should say enough in and off itself, but here are a few examples from that page to briefly summarize: punctuation party, using commas as decorations and the sentence that wouldn't end.
She Tells Rather Than ShowsEdit
Meyer claims that Bella is intelligent, and was in an advanced placement program, but all we hear to indicate this is true in the story is that she gets good marks.
No opinions, no analyses, no correct grammar and word usage, etc.
Similarly, she claims Bella is an avid reader, but the only references made to Bella actually reading are used to force bad comparisons between Smeyer's books and classic literature.
Bella makes no references or inside jokes from her favourite books, she doesn't talk about them or promote them, she doesn't think about them when she's bored. In short, she doesn't behave in any way like someone who reads for pleasure.
Another example of this is Edward's overwhelming lust for Bella's blood. The lure to drink her dry is so strong he repeatedly warns her to stay away yet he can easily handle being around her during her period, can suck blood from her arm without losing control, and can continue performing first aid on her after everyone but Carlisle has given up and removed themselves from the path of temptation. Meyer's characters have many stated traits that are not actually present.
Basically, Meyer drops a line that says,
- "This character has Trait X," while contradicting it with the character's actions.
Incidentally, some believe this is why the books translate so badly into movies.
Movies are all about showing. You can "tell" in a movie, by using voice-overs and, for example, having other characters remarking on how Character X has definitely has Trait X. But unless that trait is shown, the movie is going to suck (unless it is a comedy). And let's face it—if a movie has that many voiceovers, the movie will suck. (Looking at you, The Last Airbender!)
Her Use of 1st Person Edit
Can be commonly found in badly written fanfiction. Of the various perspectives, first person is quite possibly the hardest to pull off. Few have it done well, and Meyer shows us the best reasons as to why.
First, the words and language used need to fit the narrator. Twilight is from the perspective of a teenage girl, but Bella uses much more flowery description to describe mundane things. Normal teenagers do not usually use words like "chagrin" to such an extent as Bella does.
In such cases, it is best to keep the description short and simple, and NOT to use long, frilly words to detail things when there are plenty of others that can work just as well.
You might use them occasionally to keep the story from being too repetitive, and perhaps this is what Meyer was going for. However, the overuse and reuse of longer words only makes repetition more pronounced.
Another issue is that it makes the "show, don't tell" policy even more important. Bella tells us plenty about herself, but her actions and even her own thoughts work against her in this.
Bella thinks of herself as a shy, modest bookworm, but she doesn't think much about books and rather than showing nervousness in being around others, she acts haughty and arrogant in the way she immediately mentally dismisses or insults everyone upon first meeting, with the exception of the all perfect vampire
cultists Cullens. She is also quick to abandon her classmates (who have shown her nothing but kindness and were quick to reach out to her), yet when Edward abandons her she goes right back to hanging out with them like nothing ever happened.
One of the biggest issues with the use of a first-person narrative is that it shows all the thoughts going through Bella's mind. And her main focus tends to be on Edward.
There are only so many times we need to hear about Edward's eyes, chest, breath, earlobes and x-rays of his pancreas.
Then the few times when she's not doting on Edward's beauty, she's whining or complaining about something, giving a view of Bella that's contradictory to how she and Meyer wish readers to see her.
This is from chapter 7, where Rosalie tells her story to Bella.
“‘What did I tell you, John,’ Royce crowed, grabbing my arm and pulling me closer. ‘Isn’t she lovelier than all your Georgia peaches?’ “The man named John was dark-haired and suntanned. He looked me over like I was a horse he was buying. “‘It’s hard to tell,’ he drawled slowly. ‘She’s all covered up.’
This is not how people relate their past to someone, as that is not used in conversations and is out of place here, and hence a major fail.
The main character (Bella) doesn't have good motivations to do anythingEdit
An employed editor figured this out within a few pages, as can everyone else if they pay attention.
For all those Twilight fans defending Bella for having good character motivations, I have but one question: if Bella hates Forks so much and is awkward around her father, why does she move in with her dad? Seriously, there was no reason for her to do this. Now normally this might just be a case of a missed opportunity for the author, but the direction the story goes in really makes this a plot hole. When faced with a good reason to return to Phoenix and to her mother (i.e. nearly getting killed by James), Bella desperately wants to stay in Forks. That's fine, but there was no reason for her to go there in the first place. This is just Meyer not knowing how else she could've introduced Edward and Bella in any other way and specifically around the time Bella was seventeen.
Neither does Bella have amazingly good motivations to stay with Edward. Sure, puppy love is a thing, but why are they so obsessed with one another? If anything, considering Bella's dad is a cop, the whole "watching you sleep" and stalking thing should've scared Bella off, had she been a normal person. (She's crazy.) But no, this is not the case, so Meyer should really tell her readers what exactly it is about him that is so special. The whole "he's so hot" thing doesn't count, and intelligence doesn't make you good in everything (if it did, that would probably annoy people around you, and the whole point is moot if said intelligence isn't applied constructively). What does happen is that Bella feels as if she is not worthy of Edward when she is around him, therefore in a way he is making her unhappy. Why would she want to stay with someone who makes her unhappy when she is around them?