From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What authors can learn from Stephanie Meyer

As a significant portion of our population waits with baited breath tonight's midnight showings of New Moon (which I will be going to, I admit), I figure it might be useful to see what can learn from this craze and the author of it, Mrs. Stephanie Meyer.
Let me start off by saying that regardless of anyone's opinion of her actual artistic ability, Meyer has done something right, and any writer wanting even a smidgen of the type of success she has had would do well to see what leafs we can take from her book. Here are a few that I've thought of.
-The Erotics of Abstinence: I can't remember where I heard that phrase, but I think it sums it up well. I think it could also be called something like 'The 90% Principle'. So many artists think that just laying it all out there and holding nothing back is what will satisfy readers. But what Meyer shows us is that by not giving the reader 100%, they are left pleasantly and addictively unsatisfied, and will keep coming back for more. And this can apply to more then just love scenes. As a general principle, by taking your reader only part of the way, it makes it harder for them to leave you.
-Gimmickability: Meyer created a world that can be expanded upon. The story can be made into Twilight dolls, music, posters, fanfic, stickers, whatever. In other words, its everywhere. I think gimmickability is a lot easier in the fantasy genre, and a writer can't build their piece around the hope of character barbies, but in whatever genre you're writing it may end up being a successful marketing strategy to have a few quirky symbols, images, characters or whatever that can creatively be used as marketing gimmicks. Look at it this way: even black book covers with white and red front images is now a Twilight gimmick.
-Fan involvement: From what I can tell Meyer is very involved with her fans. She answers their questions, encourages them to write their own stories, and basically just lets them be involved in her world. This way readers feel welcome and excited to be a part of something.
Hope this helps, and enjoy the movie tonight. It promises to be...interesting.
Sarah Allen

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